I’ve never been a member of the “women aren’t as funny as men” camp, so I don’t really feel the need to celebrate Bridesmaids with the same exuberance I’ve seen from many others. Of course Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph can headline a comedy just as successfully as their male counterparts – anyone who thought otherwise hasn’t been paying attention to comedy for quite some time, and their opinion should hardly matter anyway.

That being said, I can’t help but wonder if the over-celebration of a highly successful female-led comedy is what sort of ruined the movie for me. After hearing SO MUCH great stuff about this movie, I sat down expecting a new comedy classic, and instead got a very average movie. I might have liked it more without all the hype floating around in my head, but I don’t there’s any chance I ever would have been blown away by it.

Wiig plays a perpetually single girl who is chosen to be the Maid of Honor in the wedding of her best friend (Rudolph). This already sets off a slight tinge of jealousy and regret over her own life, which is only exasperated when she meets her friend’s beautiful co-worker (Rose Byrne), who is also going to be in the wedding party and instantly seems to be competing with her for the bride’s attention. Cue loads of comedy dealing with the usual “catty girls” stereotype and the sort of “oh my god, they talk just like us” girl raunchiness that has guided Sarah Silverman’s career for years. Yes, we get it, women can talk crudely about sex and make fart jokes, too. But guess what? That kind of humor can be just as unfunny coming from a woman as it often is coming from a man.

Take the Melissa McCarthy character. Most of the hype I had heard about this movie centered on her. Now, look, I’ve never seen Mike & Molly, so I can’t comment on her work there. But with only Bridesmaids to judge her by, I just don’t get what the big deal is. Is the national opinion of female comedy really so low that it seems worth celebrating when a heavy-set girl makes crude sexual jokes and shits in a sink? This is the sort of character that someone like Dan Fogler would be playing in a male version of this movie. It wouldn’t be funny there, and I refuse to act like it’s funny here just because it’s coming from a woman who doesn’t look like the typical female movie-star.

The one thing I’ll agree with all the good reviews on is that Wiig is awesome in the lead role, and this movie cements that she is ready to be a movie star. But again, that’s nothing I’ve been questioning. She has been one of the best things about Saturday Night Live for years, so it’s no surprise to me that she can capably headline a movie. But seriously, go check out all those positive Bridesmaids reviews, and take note of how many of them have the main point of saying “it’s great to see this kind of comedy from a female cast!” That almost seems condescending to me. Sure, it’s nice to see a cast comprised mostly of women who would play second-fiddle in most other comedies, but I’m still not gonna give it extra credit just for that reason (I don’t remember people going similarly apeshit about the much funnier Mean Girls, after all). I’m gonna try to be fair about it, and just equally compare this to ALL comedies, in which case I can only say it’s pretty middle-of-the-road.

For one thing, like a lot of modern comedies, it’s way too long, with a few sequences that overstay their welcome (like a long scene involving Wiig getting high on a plane, that just grounds the movie to a halt) and at least one completely unnecessary sub-plot. That would be Wiig’s romance with a police officer, which seems crammed in only because the makers feel like these movies NEED a romance, but which actually serves to undercut the film’s message of female independence (you can’t make the point that Wiig doesn’t need a man to be happy and then have her go out of her way to try to win him back in the third act).

I think Wiig is going to go on to a lot of better movies than this one (or at least I hope so), and if this was the necessary first-step to prove to many that she can do so, then more power to it. But nothing about this film other than her performance really won me over in any big way. It’s just another comedy with wacky characters making dick and poop jokes for two hours, and those are a dime a dozen nowadays, no matter what gender the cast is.

 

 

This review was originally posted at Trevor Likes Movies on November 5th, 2011.

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