With the news that Bridesmaids is now Judd Apatow’s highest-grossing movie ever, here’s why it matters.
Before I begin, if you haven’t seen Bridesmaids yet and want to be surprised, stop reading now. For the past two months I’ve had a lot of conversations about what this film means for women driven studio-released comedies. I think Bridesmaids matters and it’s a game changer. Here’s why:
- This movie isn’t about men, weddings, babies, dieting or shopping or anything else Hollywood believes women only care about. Forget the title. Really, this movie is about a human being coming to terms with the inevitable changes of a lifelong friendship while in the midst of regaing control of her life and dusting herself off after the failure of her business. Kristin Wiig’s character, Annie, is a mess. I found it refreshing that she was a mess not because of the rejection of a man but rather the failure of a business she worked hard to build. Yes, she desperately seeks the affection of an asshole and is oblivious to the nice guy. Her relationships with men only come into clear focus once she rediscovers her passion and gets excited about what she does best, baking.
- Yes, we see women compete with each other and go to ridiculous levels to win, but what they’re competing for isn’t something we see in a lot of movies. We normally see women in pop culture competing over men, who’s hotter, who’s richer, who’s thinner, etc. This is first time we see two women fight over the affection, friendship and acceptance of another woman.
- This movie isn’t about men at all, and doesn’t even celebrates marriage. In fact, all the married characters in this movie are miserable. Rose Byrne’s character; Helen is obviously a bored trophy wife. The one substantial scene between Wendi McLendon-Covey’s character, Rita, and Ellie Kemper’s character, Becca, takes place on the plane when they discuss the horrible sex they have with their husbands. Again, let’s forget the title.
- No period, Spanx, or “high heels are hard” jokes and no one lip-synced around a dining room table singing into a hairbrush.
- No fat jokes, (okay, the scene of Melissa McCarthy’s character, Megan, having “sandwich sex” with her boyfriend during the credits is stupid.) Megan is obviously larger than the rest of the women, but she is also the most self-assured and confident. During their ill-fated lamb meat lunch she prided herself on not bloating after she eats, thus the joke was at the expense of Helen, the silly skinny woman who frets needlessly over food. Also, the post Bridal Shower scene with Megan and Annie on the couch was really endearing and clever. Just when we were about to chalk her up as the clown of the group, we discover that she’s actually the most intellectually and professionally serious out of the women.
- The one “gross out, raunchy” scene was actually a genius statement about the wedding industry. It was so cathartic to watch people literally shit all over an industry that sells women the idea that they must commit months of their lives and thousands of dollars to spend one day displayed on a pedestal as an ivory draped, perfect little princess. That scene best represented what I believe this movie was trying to say: Women are people too.
- Puppies in berets.
Other stuff to consider while forming an opinion about the film:
- All Apatow movies are 15 minutes too long. Funny People is 5 different movies.
- Kristin Wiig wrote a movie for herself. So? If Judd Apatow approached me with a bag of money and said, “People will come see a movie with you as the lead. Write it and I’ll make it,” I will write a movie with me as the lead and take the bag of money. I don’t think we should be critical of Kristen for taking advantage of a huge career opportunity.
- Women with long skinny legs in cutesy short skirts are allowed to have problems too. We leave the house everyday wearing clothes that flatter our best features and hide our not-so-great features. Why would costume designers who work on major studio films dress their leads any different? If you leave the house wearing a potato sack of a T-shirt, doesn’t that make as much of a statement as wearing a skirt up to your vulva? Men didn’t walk out of The Hangover saying to each other, “Bradley Cooper’s concern about his missing friend would’ve been so much more realistic if he didn’t show off his perfect torso in that sweaty linen shirt. What a show off!”
- Puppies in berets.
This post was originally published at Say Something Funny Bitch.
|Laura’s Laughs is a monthly column written by Laura Mannino, an LA-based comedienne, actor, and writer. She hosts First Fridays Comedy Variety Talk Show at Theatre Asylum. Next shows are Fridays, July 8, August 5 and September 9. You can get more information at www.lauramannino.com or follow her exploits on Twitter @LauraMannino|