Kristen Wiig

“Bridesmaids” (R) — This movie represents a true breakthrough in the realm of chick flicks: it’s a raunchy, heartfelt movie that is actually funny to members of both sexes. Annie and Lily (“Saturday Night Live” alums Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph) have been best friends since childhood. As Annie’s life hits a low point after her bakery closes down and her boyfriend leaves her, Lily asks her to be the maid of honor in her upcoming wedding.

This movie has rightfully defeated “Sex and the City” as the top-grossing female comedy, and it’s easy to understand why. The cast is made of ascending stars and truly funny individuals, most notably Kristen Wiig, who makes the most of her first big-screen leading role. “Bridesmaids” is funny, unexpected and, hopefully, a sign of things to come.

“Today’s Special” (R) — Samir (Aasif Mandvi of “The Daily Show”) is a sous chef with big plans to further his career in Paris. All of that goes down the drain when his father has a heart attack, leaving the future of the family’s failing Indian restaurant in Samir’s hands. What follows is a fresh comedy about family, heritage and learning about life through the lens of Indian cooking.

Aasif Mandvi adapts his own sarcastic-but-insightful style into an earnest protagonist who has to swallow his pride — as well as a great deal of very potent spices. The story trods familiar territory at times, but the charm is undeniable.

“Adam” (PG-13) — This startlingly sweet romantic comedy has a catch: The protagonist isn’t just quirky or inept, he’s diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a disorder characterized by difficulty communicating with and relating to other people. Adam (Hugh Dancy) understands astronomy far better than he understands the simple ritual of everyday conversation. When the gorgeous Beth (Rose Byrne) moves into the apartment one floor up, Adam is determined to have actual human contact with this person.

Underneath his tone-deaf comments and awkward tics, Adam seems like a great guy, which only makes his condition as an outsider more endearing. Hugh Dancy wins praise for his portrayal of the complicated character, which is compounded by his chemistry with the lovely Rose Byrne — a fellow rising star.

“Modern Family: Season 2” — This endearing family sitcom deserves credit for shaking up what a family sitcom can be. It’s more clever than cute, comfortable but not coddling, and even at times edgy — without alienating. A boatload of awards and nominations have been heaped on the show since its first season. “Modern Family” deserves the praise, because for many viewers, it’s proof that network sitcoms can stay fresh, relevant and funny to a wide audience.

“Castle: The Complete Third Season”
“The Mentalist: The Complete Third Season”
“Hawaii Five-0: The First Season”
“The Kennedys”
“Mike & Molly: The Complete First Season”
“Raising Hope: The Complete First Season”

© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.