Thoughts on Bridesmaids.
Every few years, a movie comes out that puts the media in a lather. These are not controversial films, nor do they break fundamental rules of cinema or elevate the genre to new heights. Nope, we’re talking lady comedies.
You may have heard or noticed the flurry with the movie Bridesmaids, but it’s nothing new. It happened  when Christopher Hitchens wrote his now-infamous “Women aren’t funny” in 2007 (which everyone keeps referencing, but I’m sure he’s not really thinking about it). It happened with Baby Mama. Apparently “Are women funny?” makes great copy.

If we’re not funny, then you men out there are wasting a lot of time fake laughing (amiright ladies?!). In all seriousness, some women are funny, just like some men. The real question is, and it’s asked by movie industry executives: 1). are women’s comedies made in the same mold as men’s? And 2). will women pay money to go out and see them?

Well, the answer to question one is – kind of. Bridesmaids neatly captures the little moments that make up female friendships between Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya Rudolph). It’s about fake working out, then treating yourself to brunch, or coming over to drink white wine and read gossip magazines together (both things I have done).

What the title, and previews, might not show is that Bridesmaids is not really a buddy comedy, or an ensemble show a la The Hangover. There’s a brief moment en route to a bachelorette party in Vegas when the supporting cast (including Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper and Melissa McCarthy) shines, but then the film changes focus back to Wiig’s life.  Which is falling apart.

Wiig is less manic than her SNL characters might suggest. Annie is happy for her friend, but can’t be entirely pleased at the loss of her only support system. I feel like the signs of her hitting bottom could be remixed in a trailer and make a completely different, far more depressing movie.

Modern weddings are not just an opportunity for two people in love to show it to their family and friends; it’s also a VERY BIG moment for friends and family. For women, there can be a host of high-profile activities. Showers, bachelorette parties, gifts, what have you. So as Annie is falling apart, Helen (played oh-so-mean-girly by Rose Byrne ), Lillian’s fiance’s boss’ wife, takes the reins for the preparation. There’s one scene, at the engagement party, when the two try to outdo themselves? Classic.

So there’s another part. I’ve read it’s producer Judd Apatow’s influence, and it’s basically a scene when the ladies get extreme food poisoning while trying on dresses. All you need to know – I closed my eyes and ears. Did the (full) theater erupt in laughter? Yes. Did I just get queasy typing the word “erupt”? Yes again.

I just don’t think this comedy needed the gross-out element. There was enough comedy! In fact, I feel like there is going to be a fuller movie with the  deleted scenes on DVD, as some of the plot points felt a little abandoned. But then again, we don’t see these films for the stories, do we? We see them to giggle at women who earn it, take after devastatingly awkward take.

To summarize, I will end with the wise words of Kosmundo, who had this to say about the film:

so yes, it was funny. but at the end of the day, the lady heart is really why i liked it. for the brunch scene and the couch pep talk and the wilson phillips dance moves – if i have to sit through ladies crapping themselves in pretty dresses, to get real/funny/honest representations of what friendship looks like for me, i’ll take it.

Want more?

NY Mag has a great roundup of all the Bridesmaids coverage.

And if you’ve seen it? You’ll probably want to watch this:


Work day at Pie Ranch (Saturday, 4/16)

Mucking in the barn

This Saturday was definitely the first time I got typecast as a mucker.

So my brother and I had taken a trip down the coast to volunteer at Pie Ranch’s work day. (Pie Ranch is this awesome working farm in Pescadero, California that does educational programs and sustainable farming practices. I know them through an association with my local pie shop, Mission Pie).

All that muck


We arrived at the ranch and signed our waivers. As we were walking up the hill, a man poked his head out of a barn and said, “Is one of you AJ?” Seems like they were looking for some helpers to de-muck the barn, and had ID’ed my brother (probably not me, standing 5’2″, no matter how much I’d like to think so) as a good asset. Funnily enough, my brother WWOOFed last summer, and had had a whole month of mucking experience in a farm in Italy. So someone chose wisely!

Using a pitchfork to break up a year’s worth of straw, goat pee, poo, and mud was hard work. I got this mini blister within half an hour, and one day later, I am SORE. But it was immensely gratifying to assist with loading up three tractor-loads full of muck.

After the muck, we walked around the property. It was a gorgeous spring day, and the farm is beautiful. Old buildings from the original farm in the 1800s are still standing, as well as mobile chicken coops, friendly goats, and one very pregnant heifer.

Dulce de Leche, preggers heifer

Later we moved on to weeding strawberry plants. Fact: my meticulous nature is not at all useful while weeding. My brother almost completed a whole row while I was still toiling at the beginning.


We skipped out on the post-work day potluck (because all we had brought that day were Luna bars), but peeked in for the barn dance, where families jigged to a live band.

A really special day.


Want more?

Learn about Pie Ranch, or look for a local farm in your area at Local Harvest.

Confused by a chicken