Don’t be a dick—see Bridesmaids. I hate to get all aggressive on you, but I love this movie so much, I can’t not feel a little preemptively hostile. It is funny and moving and great, to the extent that I’m writing this blog post as a supplement to my blurb review in this week’s SF Bay Guardian. Which is reprinted below for your reading pleasure.
For anyone burned out on bad romantic comedies, Bridesmaids can teach you how to love again. This film is an answer to those who have lamented the lack of strong female roles in comedy, of good vehicles for Saturday Night Live cast members, of an appropriate showcase for Melissa McCarthy. The hilarious but grounded Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting hitched. Financially and romantically unstable, Annie tries to throw herself into her maid of honor duties — all while competing with the far more refined Helen (Rose Byrne). Bridesmaids is one of the best comedies in recent memory, treating its relatable female characters with sympathy. It’s also damn funny from start to finish, which is more than can be said for most of the comedies Hollywood continues to churn out. Here’s your choice: let Bridesmaids work its charm on you, or never allow yourself to complain about an Adam Sandler flick again.
I’m serious about this, guys. It’s kind of like when people say you can’t complain about politics if you don’t vote. It is our duty to support good, smart comedy so that the studios will just say no to dreck like Something Borrowed and The Zookeeper (with Kevin James!). The latter are films that the kind of films that critics pan but that audiences continue to go see. Or I don’t know, maybe Rob Schneider made a deal with the devil. The point is, seeing a movie like Bridesmaids sends a message. You’re demanding better! You want Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph in starring roles! You want quality toilet humor!
Part of being a film critic is seeing crappy movies—it’s unavoidable. And I never expect Hollywood to just stop making shit. My concern is that they’ll stop making the comedies I want to see, the aforementioned Wet Hot American Summer and Hamlet 2, the anti-chick flick Bridesmaids. Or that a female-centric, character-driven comedy will just be so difficult to make that no one will want to do it. Many movie actors have already made the transition to TV—in part because TV is damn good these days, but also because the film industry is kind of fucked. And that’s a bummer. If I’m going to pay $12 for a movie ticket, I want to be able to laugh consistently for two hours. I don’t want to spend 80 minutes wondering what the fat man is going to bump into next.
I was delighted to see that Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman gave Bridesmaids an A (read his review here). I had no doubt that this was an A movie, but I was concerned that it might not be regarded as such. I don’t think I need to tell you that comedy is an underappreciated genre. You can look at the giant list o’ Best Picture Oscar nominees to see how rarely something chuckle-worthy gets recognition. (It’s been a bit better in recent years, but how lame is it that we have to turn to the effing Golden Globes for Best Comedy?) I think critics have an easier time dismissing a lot of comedy, too—not all of them, certainly, but enough. And who can blame them when they’re forced to sit through Paul Blart: Mall Cop? (I was forced to sit through Paul Blart: Mall Cop.)
You know what, maybe Bridesmaids isn’t for you. Maybe it’s not your style of comedy. Your opinion is valid, even though it’s wrong. But take a chance on a flick Vince Vaughn hasn’t touched. Allow yourself to be won over by comedic all-stars like Wendi McLendon-Covey, Mike Hitchcock, Rebel Wilson, and Matt Lucas, who don’t often find themselves in a Judd Apatow-produced film. Maybe I sound too gushy, but until I can control everyone with my brain (by 2013, fingers crossed!), writing is the best chance I have to influence your choices. See Bridesmaids. Let me know what you think. Don’t let the comedy terrorists win.
No, I don’t know what that means either.