Bridesmaids, written by and starring Kristen Wiig, has gotten quite a lot of buzz because:
a) it’s a comedy written by a woman, when we all know that women aren’t as funny as men.
b) it’s a comedy with a predominantly female cast, when…well, you get the idea.
So naturally, my curiosity piqued. Then certain journalists/bloggers started hailing this movie as some kind of a feminist triumph, even declaring that it was feminists’ duty to go see the film to make sure comedies by women featuring women would have a place in Hollywood in the future. Wow, okay. So I did what a good entertainment consumer would and bought tickets to go see it last week.
The outcome was a decidedly mixed one.
Yes, I did love that a comedy written by a woman could garner so much attention and commercial success. It was nice to see a group of women together on screen interacting with each other for a long period of time, and sometimes they weren’t even talking about boys! Kristen Wiig’s character, while portraying the typical schlub character in comedies, was still likable with actually funny lines. The female friendship between the two main characters felt real in its strength and its ugliness.
On the other hand, that “woman” is still a white and heterosexual one who very much fits into the Hollywood mold of acceptable femininity. The woman who is physically bigger than everyone provides most of the physical humour in the film, though it tries to reconcile the fact by making her at least intelligent and successful. Maya Rudolph, who bore the honour of portraying many ethnic characters on SNL (along with Fred Armisen), was the only somewhat racialized character that got significant screen time. The movie still advocates the cutesy picture of heteronormative bliss – after all, it is calledBridesmaids.
All this criticism is not to discredit the genuine enjoyment I got out of the movie. I laughed a lot, which doesn’t happen frequently for many “comedies,” especially of the romantic kind. But is this really the feminist triumph that subverts boundaries and challenges stereotypes? I don’t know.
So, is Bridesmaids a feminist win? Perhaps more like a feminist baby step…for Hollywood.
[photo from indiewire.com]
This post was originally published here on May 29, 2011.