Wow. I’ve been reading these praising reviews of Bridesmaids for the past few weeks, getting excited about finally seeing _that_ comedy film where the women are uncensored, funny and free of stereotypical bounds. With a 7.5 from IMDB and an astounding 90% at RT I had high expectations from this Apatowian Paul Feig production.
Despite a few lagh out loud moments the film could’ve done with at least a 30min shorter running time and less clichés, but all in all Bridesmaids is pretty harmless and funnier than most comedies centered around women. I don’t really have a problem with the film, the plot or the acting in itself, but rather the praise it’s been getting as some sort of revelation of real women and their behaviours.
Here’s What Went Wrong
– The neurotic and slutty Annie (Kristen Wiig), Lillian, whose life is finally complete after having founs the perfect man to marry (Maya Rudolph), the bitchy socialite (Rose Byrne), the hypersexualized, overweight and somewhat trivial Megan (Melissa McCarthy), the raunchy, hypersexualized soccer mom (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the virginal prude (Ellie Kemper) let their respective hair down before the wedding. Which depiction doesn’t sound like a stereotypical character to you? How is this not Sex and the City with less money and glamour?
– Just because women talk like actual real people, curse and discuss sex it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re breaking any stereotypes here. Sure by giving these girls diarrhea you are desexualizing them but if in the next breath you have one of the characters openly throwing themselves at strangers, sleeping with someone they hate and making out with eachother (I mean who doesn’t want to see some girl-on-girl action!) I was starting to expect an skimply clothed pillow fight! You left me hanging with that one Feig!
– A unique approach to women in a comedy shouldn’t equal “Hey let’s look at these women as a group of men!”. Even though the writers (Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo are indeed solely female, it doesn’t make the characters automatically ‘female-friendly’. The comedy is very much influenced by the likes of SNL, which is very hit and miss with all of its characters, especially with the women.
– The fact is, that women aren’t considered funny. I, as a woman, rarely enjoy comedy by women and avoid seeing female stand-up. This is in no way a reflection of the gender itself, just the slightly narrow framework women have been left to work with. Most of the time they other do the “I’m unattractive!”-bit, the “fat and jolly” bit, or the “I hate men, sarcastic”- bit. Thankfully there are women out there breaking that stereotype, but I didn’t really see them here.
– One thing I absolutely hated in the film, is that even with the super ridiculous stuff guys do to eachother in comedies, the way they diss is eachother and even get violent with eachother, there’s always an emphasis on camaraderie and ‘bromance’. Here, especially the central characters, handled friendship as a posession “SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND” “NO MY BIEST FRIEND” and addressed eachother in a caddy, profoundly unfriendly and selfish way.
On the Plus Side
– Equal treatment for equal sexes
This is a film that handles women in the same crude, obnoxious manner as guy-centric joints like The Hangover. That’s absolutely fine and some installations of that genre are very succesful and funny. Bridesmaids doesn’t have the same appeal as the before mentioned surprise hit, but is still a solid 3-star comedy. Go ahead and present women as dudes in a film, but don’t call it something it’s not.
– Kristen Wiig
Having gone on (and on) about the illusion of unstereotypical characters, I have to give some leeway to Wiig’s Annie. As the only character that’s given time to grow and is placed outside of the wedding scenario, Annie kept surprising me. Her self-depricating, passive agressive and witty demeanour was endearing and relatable to a borderline cynical realist like me. Conversations between her and Lillan, her childhood best friend seem genuine and real.
– Rebel Wilson
So frikkin’ hilarious. Even when sprinkled with blatant English stereotypes she handles them well and presents a uniquely funny sidebit.