Sometimes what I get around to reviewing makes no sense, in terms of how much I actually watch or like the item in question. Or, you know, how long ago I actually watched it. Take, for example, Bridesmaids, which I have not only viewed a gazillion times, but have also done lots of reading about as it has become the beacon of hope for “women are funny, see?!” and other counters to prevailing sexist bullshit about comedy being a man’s business. I think my delays are partially because, if I review something, it means I’m thinking about it. And thinking almost always leads to noticing problematic sexist and racist issues and, to be totally honest, sometimes I just want to enjoy my junk food, my romantic comedies, my Law and Orders... Luckily, there isn’t much to criticize about Bridesmaids. Sure, all of the women featured are white and upper middle class, except Kristin Wiig’s Annie, who’s recent downward spiral as a “lady loser” is at the heart of much of the film’s tension. But despite having some of the demographics of almost all other mainstream films in Hollywood, it’s a hilariously fresh comedy film written by and starring women. LADIES!!! And convinces me that director Paul Feig is the only reason that Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks had great female characters and no “let’s get girls drunk and rape them” jokes in it.
Anyhoozle, some might argue that the “written by and starring women” is why it’s hilarious and fresh and I’m not gonna argue that point. After many years of that being the reason something never got produced or was lame or a “chick flick,” I’m gonna let some “this is because of your genitals” reasoning fly. Besides, it is kinda true. At least, why it was so funny to me. Seeing normal women on screen, or at least unique women with quirks and flaws and junker cars and not magazine perfect faces and bodies. And, most importantly, friendships. Friendships that involve embarrassing ourselves in public together and also, like Annie’s shower freak-out scene, in public together at each other. Hanging onto our past with someone because we are afraid of the future, both what we will have to do and that it might be without them is something that I think many of us have experienced. I literally spent most of the movie thinking about my best friend Emily and all the moments in my life I’ve shared with her and all the stupid fights and all the silly moments and the many more that will come in the future. Yet, I was laughing my ass off the whole time! To have something so touching and so real and also so ridiculous? I’m not saying that there aren’t men capable of creating stories that resonate like this, cause there are, but I am saying that the fact that women are so excluded from Hollywood in any real decision-making capacity certainly plays into why Bridesmaids felt so unique. It was its “woman’s touch,” so to speak. Hopefully the film’s success will expand this to “thoughtful funny person touch” and our local cineplex’s will be filled with more than bro-comedies or romcoms or the same ‘ol, same ‘ol samezies.
The Oscars: Best Supporting Actress (Melissa McCarthy) and Best Original Screenplay (Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo)
OMG. Melissa McCarthy is the funniest ‘effin part of Bridesmaids. She went all in. ALL. FUCKING. IN. Now, I’ve loved McCarthy since she played the spacey silly Sookie on Gilmore Girls, so I was already partial. She always provided a bright spot in Gilmore Girls and like in Bridesmaids, her size was never part of the joke. As a fellow woman of size, I was so nervous from the Bridesmaids trailers that she’d be the awkward fat funny person who the joke was always on or about. Instead she was the most self-actualized and solid person in the film, because she was who she was: a puppy hoarding, Fight Club loving, nuclear warhead managing friend. And THANK JEEBUS, Melissa McCarthy was nominated for an Oscar! Sure, she lost to Octavia Spencer, but still, the Academy couldn’t ignore her fearless, pitch-perfect performance.
They also nominated star Kristin Wiig and writing partner Annie Mumolo for Best Original Screenplay. Only to predictably give Woody Allen the award for Midnight in Paris. Despite evidence of their mistake standing on stage during the awards and breathing the only real life into the Oscar telecast. To be honest, I still haven’t seen Midnight in Paris. I tried. But the first attempt, the disc Netflix sent didn’t have the dialogue track. I mean, it did for the (Fellow Sex Pervert Club member alert!) preview of Roman Polanski’s new film Carnage. Come to think of it, it actually might have been better than listening to Owen Wilson’s drawl mumbling pithy Woody Allen dialogue that’s secret code (for his Sex Pervert Club, obvs) for “I like young vaginas. Especially when the power dynamic is in my favor!”
Kidding. Well, not really. Which is why the new disc is just sitting on my Blu Ray player staring me down and saying “watch me,” everyone else has! But I just can’t: Woody Allen’s patented male gaze is getting a bit old for me. Just like him! I loved his films back when I was an Arkansas and I thought that liking his films meant I was educated and worldly like New Yorkers. And then I got educated and worldly and realized that other than Bananas and Annie Hall, Woody Allen is overrated. And gross. And, I’m sure Midnight in Paris is sweet and romantic and Parisian and all that, but “best original” anything? I haven’t seen it, so this is totally prejudiced of me, but I’m okay with that. The film is about the value of historical figures and is clearly an Allen film in tone. Bridesmaids? Well, we certainly haven’t seen anything like that before. Which, is you know, the definition of original.