Movies: Our pick of this week's films to watch at home which depict the battle of the sexes

Damon Smith chooses films to watch at home that tip the delicate balance of power back and forth between the battling sexes

Lindsay Lohan leads the cast in Tina Fey's comedy classic Mean Girls
Lindsay Lohan leads the cast in Tina Fey's comedy classic Mean Girls

BRIDESMAIDS (15, 120 mins) Comedy/Romance. Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris O'Dowd, Jon Hamm. Director: Paul Feig.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video from Friday January 29

PAUL Feig's uproarious comedy of errors proves that anything the guys can do, the gals can do better.

Bridesmaids is smarter, funnier and emotionally deeper than The Hangover, introducing us to a menagerie of neurotic, self-obsessed yet ultimately lovable ladies, who are one extra spicy Brazilian meal away from catastrophe.

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo's script is an embarrassment of hysterical riches, anchored by winning performances from a talented ensemble cast, who throw vanity to the wind and humiliate themselves for our delight.

Melissa McCarthy steals every frame as the singleton with dubious dress sense, who stares hungrily at one single guy and snarls, "I'm going to climb that like a tree", then wrecks her ladylike image with a sudden outburst of gas.

The running time flies by too quickly, culminating in a feel-good finale that transports us back to the dizzy heights of 1990s pop chart nirvana.

DESPICABLE ME (U, 96 mins) Animation/Comedy/Action/Adventure. Featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Danny McBride. Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud.

Screening on ITV2 on Saturday January 30 at 4.20pm and streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix

DESPICABLE Me is a hilarious tale of evil versus evil, which delivers edge-of-seat thrills and heart-warming sentiment.

Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud create a colourful adventure peppered with cute visual gags: when Machiavellian central character Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) applies for a loan from the Bank Of Evil, he passes a plaque which reveals the establishment was formerly called Lehman Brothers.

Steve Carell teases out the warmth in his boo-some baddie, who has to endure a snide, bullying mother (Julie Andrews).

The three girls who melt Gru's heart have well-defined personalities, from the gushing enthusiasm of little Agnes (Elsie Fisher), who spots a toy unicorn at a fairground and squeals, "It's so fluffy, I'm going to die!" to fiercely protective oldest child Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) and delightfully deadpan Edith (Dana Gaier).

"When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like Annie," she drolly quips.

It's a hard-knock life.

MEAN GIRLS (12, 93 mins) Comedy/Romance. Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Franzese, Jonathan Bennett, Tina Fey. Director: Mark Waters.

Streaming on Netflix from Monday February 1

ACCORDING to the popular nursery rhyme, "Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of."

Screenwriter Tina Fey works to a radically different recipe.

For her debut feature film screenplay, the Saturday Night Live alumnus concocts a wickedly mean-spirited and barbed comedy about the unwritten social rules and psychological warfare faced by teenage girls.

Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams lead the young cast in fine style, bringing charm, menace and attitude to their high school combatants.

Supporting players greedily devour their fair share of polished punchlines: Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried are hilarious filling out the ranks of The Plastics clique, the latter delivering the biggest laughs when her ditzy babe reveals: "My breasts can always tell when it's raining."

Mean Girls reminds us, with a twinkle in its eye, that schooldays weren't all fun and games and some of us were lucky to survive.

PRECIOUS (15, 106 mins) Drama. Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Nealla Gordon. Director: Lee Daniels.

Screening on Sony Movies on Thursday February 4 at 1.10am and streaming on Amazon Prime Video

PRECIOUS is a harrowing account of an abused 16-year-old girl (Gabourey Sidibe) living in 1980s Harlem and the journey of self-discovery that leads her out of the darkness.

Lee Daniels's film pulls no punches in its depiction of the lead character's ordeal.

We genuinely fear for the teenager and her first baby, trapped in a cramped apartment with a monstrous mother (Mo'Nique), who treats her daughter as an emotional and physical punch bag.

In her acting debut, Sidibe is compelling as a young woman attempting to break the cycle of abuse and intimidation.

Oscar winner Mo'Nique manages to reveal the tiniest chinks of humanity in her repugnant character's armour.

Daniels directs with assurance, coaxing a superb supporting performance from Mariah Carey – sans make-up – as a conservative social worker who can barely contain her tears as she listens to a harrowing confession about violence behind closed doors.

Precious musters the courage to speak up and, thankfully, her cries for help are heard.