Monday, May 16, 2011

something old, something new

Apparently all one has to do to round up friends on an otherwise lazy Sunday is say, “We’re going to see Bridesmaids. Want to come?” That snagged Christine, Jody and Holly, and almost Emily, until she had some sort of emergency involving a chicken pot pie.

There has been much debate in the media over the very important question: Is Bridesmaids the chick equivalent of The Hangover? And the corollary question: Is Bridesmaids Sex and the City plus puke? The studio is playing up the raunch factor in the marketing, so you can’t really blame anyone for thinking the answers are yes and yes. (This backfired in the case of one radio reviewer I heard, who all but said, “Chicks should be hot, not gross.” And this was NPR, not KROQ.) The posters also depict all the bridesmaids in hot pink satin dresses that don’t appear in the film. For a really good movie, the marketing team is certainly acting like it has a lot to hide.

But I guess that’s what you have to do to sell a nice, uncontroversial movie that happens to be hilarious and happens to be about female friendships. Kristen Wiig is Annie, an endearing loser much like many Apatow-franchise heroes, except she still doesn’t have the luxury of being not-sexy (even when getting thrown off an airplane for bad behavior while hopped up on booze and Xanax, she still looks great in her skinny jeans). She finds herself competing with Helen, the sort of bridesmaid who always knows the restaurant owner, for the affection of bride Lillian (Maya Rudolph). They’re all basically level-headed women—this is not Bride Wars—who might even identify as feminists. But faced with the ego-crushing perfection of a fellow female, who hasn’t taken out a fondue fountain or two while shoveling carbs in our mouths a la Cookie Monster? Are you with me?

The movie doesn’t always do what you’d expect—I kept waiting for the bachelorette party, which never quite happened—yet it isn’t exactly nontraditional storytelling. It’s just a good movie starring very funny people. But because it follows the Bechdel rule, we have to act like it’s radical, or defend its lack of radicalism, or sound like we’re kissing male moviegoer ass when we say, No, see, it’s just a good movie starring very funny people who happen to be women. As if it wouldn’t be okay for an actual radical feminist movie to exist, and for it to be good and relevant to men. I would see that movie too! So would a lot of guys I know!

Anyway, I feel like Kristen Wiig and Tina Fey have a lot to talk about, and they probably have.


Nerissa said...

Good to know! Now I actually want to see this film. I wholly trust your taste in movies (Trace it back to our Daily Bruin days...)

Cheryl said...

You'll love it!

thelastnoel said...

I had no plans to see this, but now I do! Thanks for the tip.

Cheryl said...

It's for boys too! :-)

christine said...

It's SO funny. I want to go see it again.

Cheryl said...

You know there will be a Bridesmaids 2. There better be.