Sunday, May 22, 2011

Feminist Feature: Bridesmaids

First of all, we have a Paul Feig directed comedy co-written by Kristen Wiig.  How can you go wrong?  Its brilliance solely because of their names.  But now onto the feminist points at hand.

All-female casts are becoming more common.  It's not to say they never existed before Baby Mama because they totally did (Witches of Eastwick, anyone?), but they're appealing to a broader audience now with extremely funny ladies.  I've already written on Spring Breakdown and its underrated and misunderstood nature.  (It might have actually been my first post.)  Bridesmaids succeeded in even taking mostly unknown actresses to the general public and created a sweeping greatness that I've not seen in a comedy, well, since Baby Mama.  I've never laughed so hard in my life.

Bridesmaids has been criticized by so-called feminists who had trouble adjusting to the bawdy humor in the film, think they're dumbing it down for men.  Tina Fey explicitly spoke of this very conflict in her book, stating "Anytime there';s a bad female stand-up somewhere, some dickhead Interblogger will deduce that 'women aren't funny.'"  Women are still fighting for their right to be comedic performers.  Fey gave readers a taste of Poehler's broad sense of humor when she made a vulgar, dirty, loud, "unladylike" joke.  Fallon responded "in a faux-squeamish voice, 'Stop that!  It's not cute!  I don't like it!"'  Poehler ceased what she was doing and her face changed into one of the Bringer of Death and remarked, "I don't fucking care if you like it."  Women like bawdy humor too, so when all the ladies in Bridesmaids get sick from bad food and defecate all over the place, it's less a man's joke and more of a hilarious result due to Wiig's well-meaning character Annie's bachelorette party planning.
The cast of hilarious and admirable women: Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig

There are two women making out (something I don't get as a turn on for guys, even as a guy).  But it's a joke, not meant to be sexy.  It was part of the story and part of the drunkenness that characterizes many pre-wedding and wedding activities.  Even Melissa McCarthy's "vulgar" character Megan is attributed the bawdy jokes and delivers lines in a "manly" fashion.  (This is not at all McCarthy's personality by the way.)  This can be misconstrued as misogyny or anti-feminist, assigning male gender role to an overweight female, but Megan is incredibly sweet and well-meaning, just very excited about everything, and she's the most honest and giving person.  She's given the most depth and becomes one of the most well-rounded characters in the film.  This in itself is feminist.  Give females better roles, and all of these are great roles.

A friend had stated after seeing it that she thought it could be better because she wanted good looking men to look at and that she was tired of beautiful women in comedies getting average-looking men.  The second part is true.  Many movies revolve around a man trying to get a really "hot chick."  Often they settle for the girl next door, and usually that girl is also amazingly gorgeous.  Winning!  I guess that's what some people go for.  I don't see every Cate Blanchett movie ever because I find her amazingly hot and need to look at her all the time.  She's very regal and composed, something I admire in her.  Her acting abilities also make her beautiful to me.  I see every single one of her movies because I she's so diverse in her acting.  She amazes me every time.  Even a not-so-great movie like The Gift is saved by Blanchett's amazingness.
Wiig's Annie drinks to remedy her loneliness.

I did not have a problem with Irishman Chris O'Dowd playing opposite Wiig as her love interest, while the classically handsome Jon Hamm as her gross, douchey frak buddy, which she clearly had more invested in that relationship.  The good-looking guy is a douche, and the good guy wins her heart in the end.  It's great.  But I also don't consider Wiig to be outstandingly gorgeous like Rose Byrne.  I love me some Rose Byrne, and I'm glad to see her comedic side coming out these days.  But I also kind Kristen Wiig incredibly sexy because of her sense of humor.  I didn't love this movie because of the fact that it's an entire cast of hot women.  I loved the movie because I wanted to see a lot of comedians act up a storm in a well-written movie, and they all just happen to be pretty and happen to be women.

Yes, I'm a straight guy and a feminist.  And I find humor the most important thing in a woman.  And I'm back from my long leave of absence!  My apologies, followers and friends.

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