Have you seen the movie Bridesmaids yet? My partner and I were planning to go on Saturday night, but we spent the day on spring housecleaning and were so exhausted that we fell asleep on the couch by 9:00 pm. I know this says something very sad about both of us, but let’s put that issue aside for now.
Anyhow, I wanted to see Bridesmaids not only because I laughed out loud at the trailers, but also because of the buzz it’s received as a groundbreaking movie for women. Some have even suggested that it’s nothing less than a social responsibility to see the movie. Why? To send a loud and clear message to Hollywood executives that women-driven films – particularly comedies centered on women – can score at the box office.
Thankfully, my failure to get off the couch on Saturday hasn’t hurt the film’s success so far. Bridesmaids has received positive reviews from nearly all critics and has performed well at the box office, leading some to hail the film as a triumph for women. Others are more skeptical of film’s impact and the hype. As one commentator put it, “Bridesmaids is apparently a big deal. If we don’t all go see it, there will never be another movie made about women again. Or something like that.”
I have to admit that I was slipping into the skeptics’ camp after reading the initial hype. First, let’s be honest: The movie looks like a pretty straightforward comedy, and kind of a gross-out comedy at that. Not exactly a film that promotes social change.
I also thought about how many of my comedy heroes since childhood have been women: Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtain, Joan Rivers, Goldie Hawn, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Ellen DeGeneres, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler – just to name a few. It didn’t seem like women’s comic voices were being silenced by Hollywood.
But then I realized how few of these women have been featured in major studio films in recent years. I also went back and looked at box office receipts for the top 100 movies of 2010. I only saw two movies on the list that seemed to be fair to characterize as women-centered comedies: The roundly-panned “Sex & the City 2” at #33, and the much funnier “Easy A” at #59.
And then I read a recent New Yorker profile about actress Anna Faris, which included the observation that “studio executives believe that male moviegoers would rather prep for a colonscopy than experience a woman’s point of view, particularly if that woman drinks or swears or has a great job or an orgasm.”
So yes, I’m going to make sure I see Bridesmaids while it’s still in the theatres – not just because it sounds like fun, but also to vote with my (gay male) dollars for more films featuring and celebrating funny women. There aren’t many better deals than getting a laugh while making a statement, even if it means staying up past 9:00 pm on a Saturday night.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures