Bridesmaids: Death to the Chick Flick
Everything about the marketing campaign for and the critical reaction to Bridesmaids is driving me fucking crazy. On the front end it's all (paraphrasing), "ZOMG, chick flick for doodz!" and "The Hangover for wimminz!" and "There are farts in it, we promise!!!" and on the back end it's all (direct quoting), "Chick flicks don't have to suck" and "These are smart, funny women!" Sigh.
I mean, look. I know I'm a white woman living in America in 2011, so I'm not particularly oppressed. It's not like I'm considered property fit only for domestic labor and baby manufacturing—anymore (it's been like 50 years already, ladies, take a Midol and quit cryin'!)! I can be anything I want to be, such as a nurse or a middle manager or a sexy policewoman or a real housewife! BUT OH MY GOD, SOMETIMES BEING A WOMAN IS SO INFURIATING I WANT TO EXTRACT MY UTERUS WITH A FORK AND THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW.
You know that look-at-us-we-killed- Osama-in-the-brains situation-room photo? Did you notice that there are only two women in there? Two. And we're 50 percent of the population. I get that President Hillary would have just gotten her menses all over the Oval Office and changed Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Raw Cookie Dough Makes the Crying Stop Day and slashed funding for men's reproductive health and made football illegal. And when football is illegal, only the terrorists will play football. Fine. I get it, all-you-people-who-are-totally-not-sexist. You are beacons of equality and tolerance, and I would be honored to serve as your sex- ottoman/chicken-nugget-delivery-system. Feminism is dead. Ding-dong.
HOWEVER. On top of all that, am I really expected to swallow the phrase "These are smart, funny women"? Really? As though that's a sentence worth writing down, let alone reproducing in poster form. Can you imagine a poster proclaiming "Movies with men in them don't have to suck!" or a critic writing the phrase "These are smart, funny men!" No. Because that WOULDN'T MAKE ANY SENSE, BECAUSE PEOPLE TAKE MEN SERIOUSLY BY DEFAULT. Hold on—I have to go sharpen my fork.
I can't believe I'm bothering to say this (also, all this typing is making my weak noodle arms exhausted!) but: Women are funny. Women are smart. Tina Fey exists, and Kristen Wiig exists, and Bridesmaids exists, and Bridesmaids—as a movie, not as a woman-movie—is astoundingly good. Wiig (who also cowrote the script and should probably be cast in every movie ever starting now—GO!) plays Annie, an aimless, single thirtysomething who finds out that her best friend (Maya Rudolph) is engaged. Annie agrees to be the maid of honor and plunges into the weird, fucked-up, stupid world of modern American wedding culture. The highest of jinks ensue in all the directions you expect, and a dozen you don't. Rose Byrne's tiny, delicate ears costar. And as though Judd Apatow has been creepily listening at my keyhole, the guy from The IT Crowd plays Wiig's love interest. Squeal.
Apatow produced Bridesmaids (as per his contract with Hollywood, which states that he shalt produce all movies ever made), and his masterful comedic hand is obvious. But thanks to director Paul Feig—creator of Freaks and Geeks, the most perfect, noncorny blend of humor and heart ever captured on camera—Bridesmaids has all the humanity that Apatow projects usually lack. Both sides of the coin—hilarity and sincerity—brought me to tears. But I was probably just on my period.