One woman's plea for a decent all-girl comedy.
Just for the record, I don’t pretend to be laying down any major revelations when I say that (good) movies for women are in absurdly, outlandishly, depressingly short supply, and that the situation for funny lady-focused movies is even worse. This isn’t even some kind of provocative talking point anymore so much as an accepted fact about the state of pop culture, one that has managed to change hardly at all even while getting talked about ad nauseum.
For every Mean Girls (which admittedly, I still didn’t love) there’s a counterbalance of either The Sweetest Thing or just total radio silence. So Bridesmaids — with the backing of bro-comedy producer extraordinaire Judd Apatow and a cast packed with genius comediennes including Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Ellie Kemper to name a few — should be a super-exciting prospect for America’s neglected population of thinking, not totally humorless, movie-seeing women, right?
At least, I personally was super-excited about an all-female buddy comedy put out by some of the funniest people working today. Finally, an opportunity to give my copies of Heathers and 9 to 5 a much needed rest and maybe even add something new to the rotation! And then… the trailers came out.
For every genuinely funny moment in the Bridesmaids promos, there are two more that hit on every point in the comedy cliche book. We have a scene with Wiig inexplicably lindy-hopping to get out of a DUI charge, one where the girls all come down with food poisoning in the middle of a dress fitting, and even one where the girls (for some reason) run into traffic to deal with said food poisoning.
Is there anyone out there that needed or wanted to see this? And I say this as someone who loves poop jokes more than anyone with a kindergarten graduation certificate should. Seriously, I would never presume to dump on such a solid movement in comedy. (See?) But the "Whoopsy! I burped/threw up/farted/shit myself in a wacky and inopportune situation!" trope in movies is beyond played. Period. Remember how Charlotte’s ca-raaaazy diarrhea incident in the first Sex and the City movie single-handedly undid the work of a decade’s worth of intelligently written TV? It’s like that.
More to the point though, with so many talented comedians involved, it feels lazy and like a clear waste of the hugely talented actors involved. There are a lot of things inherently bizarre or funny about a group of mismatched women trying on bridal clothing together, and none of them involve a case of the shits. This project can and should be better than this.
That said, I’ll reserve full judgment until, you know, the actual movie is out. I still do want to love Bridesmaids. And for the sake of another funny movie featuring more than one woman being made in the next decade, I want other people to love Bridesmaids. It’s entirely possible that the movie is ninety-five-percent delightful, and the producers cherry picked the very lamest parts for the trailer in hopes of drawing in a fourteen-year-old boy here or there — people need to make money off their work, and I get that. But the thing is, this isn’t exactly an underground indie that needs press at all costs, and audiences that are inherently uninterested in a movie like this probably won’t be lured in by this kind of marketing. They have plenty of options already. As for the rest of us, I promise that if no one poops or gets hit by a car in the trailer, someone out there will still want to see it.