Monday, May 16, 2011

Bridesmaids: Can Judd Apatow make a funny movie that passes the Bechdel Test?

Turns out, to my enduring surprise, the answer to my headline query is "yes."
[Kristin] Wiig stars as Annie, the increasingly unhinged maid of honor for her best friend Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) upcoming up-market wedding. They are surrounded by an ensemble of witty twisted sisters who come in all shapes and sizes (both the wit and the sisters, the unrelated kind, just 'doin' it for themselves'), and a director in Paul Feig, who displays a lot of comedic common sense. This creative collective includes most notably Rose Byrne ('Damages') and Melissa McCarthy ('Mike & Molly'), with Wendi McLendon-Covey ('Reno 911!') and Ellie Kemper ('The Office') as the other merry maids. They all work hard to wring the most nonsense out of the clever script. ... The story swings between Annie's everyday struggles and a string of increasingly outrageous wedding plan fiascos [but] what distinguishes the film is the way in which the women relate and the raunch is handled. Read more...
I went to see the Apatow-produced Bridesmaids with the thinnest of hope. A gung-ho comedy centered on a group of women? I'm in! But previews made it unclear whether the film would be the lady Hangover or a tepid rom-com (Blech!). And even though I have enjoyed several Apatow films, they have been very guilty pleasures, full of one-dimensional female characters and low-grade sexism. I am ambivalent about Kristin Wiig. I liked her as the single mom, roller derby queen in Whip It. I loathe her on Saturday Night Live, where the charm she displays in film rarely comes through. And then there is that "bridesmaids" theme. The poor, loser lady without the ring thing has been done and done and done to the point of offensiveness. I wasn't game for another why all women want to get married film. So, you see, there were a lot of ways Bridesmaids could have gone wrong in my eyes.

But I loved it. Loved. It.


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