Oh my god did you hear about Kristen Wiig? You know, the lady who does funny voices on SNL? She, like, totally wrote a whole movie script with this other woman and somehow maneuvered into starring in it. And check this, it’s totally got a crapload of talented ladies who don’t spend the whole time having boy problems? I don’t even get it. Who could this film appeal to? It’s a well-known fact that ladies don’t like comedy, they just want pretty white heterosexuals to make out with each other after a series of contrived obstacles. Wait, ladies don’t even go to the movies. And dudes want to see other dudes just bein’ bros together, right? Farting and blowing shit up and getting mad tail. Yes. Clearly, Bridesmaids is this crazy anomaly by being a comedy with women that people actually want to see! Madness! IT WOULD APPEAR MEMBERS OF THE FEMALE SEX CAN ACTUALLY BE FUNNY.
Look everyone, I enjoyed Bridesmaids. Let’s not forget that. It’s a funny, enjoyable film with an excellent cast and nice mixture of real-world plot developments and exaggerated comedic bits. Kristen Wiig is very likable as Annie, a jewelry clerk who is in the middle of a mid-30’s crisis after her bakery business fails, her boyfriend leaves her, and her long-time best friend (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged. She tries to put her personal problems aside to help plan the wedding events as maid of honor, but a passive-aggressive, wealthy bridesmaid (Rose Byrne) steps in and tries to steal her thunder. It’s not romance-centric, it’s not cliche in its humor or characterization, and for the most part it doesn’t need to stoop too low for a laugh. I really appreciated the focus on friendship between women, the attention paid to real-life budgetary restrictions, the touch of sweetness for the third act, and the many cute castmembers (including Ellie Kemper and Chris O’Dowd).
What I really take issue with are the expectations assigned to to this film and the ridiculous way some people are talking about it. Let’s not pretend that this is the first time a female-driven comedy has been made. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Clueless? Daisies? We can go all the way back to Stage Door, and farther if we wanted to. Yes, Bridesmaids is definitely one of the more mainstream ones to come out in recent memory, and the fact that it’s marketed more towards men makes it idiosyncratic. It isn’t “making chick flicks funny” or “saving the rom-com” or whatever taglines reviewers have been giving it. It’s a wholly capable comedy that happens to feature a lot of talented female comedians, and manages to be raunchy enough to appeal to multiple genders. I do feel that I related to it a bit more than I would had it been focused on men, and of course I hope the success of the film opens up doors for talented lady comedians everywhere. But it isn’t this major, groundbreaking film, and it doesn’t have to be. Just sit back and enjoy Wiig’s hilarious drunken antics, Rudolph’s cuteness, Melissa McCarthy’s brashness, and a lot of genuine smiles.
Pair This Movie With: I guess something else in the Apatow vein is easy pairing. I liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The recession/lower income themes reminded me of Going The Distance, a solid and fairly realistic romantic comedy. Of course I will always actively promote other lady-made comedies to set against this: Drop Dead Gorgeous, Whip It, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, etc. For more examples of women making movies that don’t suck (and a few that do), check out my woman-centric film page.