Bridesmaids

ATTACK OF THE FUNNY LADIES

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:

o