Is Bridesmaids a feminist comedy? Sorry, I was too busy laughing…



Some critics have tried really hard to deride Bridesmaids, the latest Apatow vehicle with a woman in the driving seat (no jokes). Total Film summed it up by stating  ‘it’s uneven, unwieldy and overlong…’, after awarding it four stars. Yes, Bridesmaids is far from the usual nauseating chick flick wedding extravaganza (see 27 Dresses, and the guiltily enjoyable Bride Wars), but is it truly the first feminist film comedy? Below is a rigorously scientific ‘yes’ and ‘no’  tally, designed to uncover just how feminist Bridesmaids really is…

YES

  • Annie (Wiig) and Lil (Rudolph), the two central characters (and one a bride, no less) are scared of commitment
  • The actors are genuinely funny, the punchlines are theirs for the taking and they bounce off one another without the ‘need’ for a male lead
  • It’s a film about female friendships, more than it is a film about romance or men
  • The opening bang-athon between Annie and Ted (Hamm) is blisteringly honest about women and sex

    The elation a wedding brings is reversed in Bridesmaids - captured in Wiig's expression

  • You groan at antagonist Helen (Byrne), whose sugary sweet fashionista lifestyle would usually comprise the rom-com heroine
  • A derisory attitude towards relationships and commitment runs through the film
NO
  • Annie’s ambition is to bake
  • ‘The fat girl’ (McCarthy’s Megan) is the butt of the joke
  • It’s still about a wedding
  • The guy and the girl drive off into the sunset
So, is it or isn’t it feminist? I became so whipped up by the sheer entertainment of the film that I forgot I was trying to trip the film up. Fart jokes, the dreaded C-word and shitting in a wedding boutique, and all from the connoisseur of the ‘modern man’s’ filmmaker. However, given his previous borderline feminist characters, it becomes less surprising that this anti chick-flick came from Apatow.  From Catherine Keener’s ballsy cherry-popper in The 40 Year Old Virgin, to the knowing gender gags in Anchorman, Apatow flicks are less about the comradary of the ‘guys’ than they are about the politics of the gals, too. Bridesmaids was clearly just waiting in the wings.
There may be cupcakes and puppies, but Kate Hudson is nowhere to be found. Bridesmaids is a groundbreaking film, not just for it’s fem credentials, but for being a comedy which actually delivers genuine belly laughs.
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2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Comment, Review

2 responses to “Is Bridesmaids a feminist comedy? Sorry, I was too busy laughing…

  1. pallas_athena2

    I felt the same way throughout the movie, and of course, all major roles were played by women, which is rare in Hollywood. When I got home I checked it out on imdb and much to my surprise discovered that almost all the major crew positions were filled by men. Yes, it was written by two women (Wiig & Annie Mumolo), who are also listed as “co-producers,” but all three “producers” and the “executive producer” (who is also the director) are men. Music & cinematography – men; film editing, production design, art direction, set decoration, visual effects, and special effects – all men.

    Oh but look, costume design – two women, and in the makeup department – 8 women & 3 men. Costume and makeup – imagine that! (C’est plus la meme chose.) Seven out of 20 in the art department and 4 out of 20 in the sound department are women, which is meh.

    Eleven men and two women fill the most influential positions on this film. I’m not suggesting that only women can make a feminist film, or that only women can accurately portray female relationships. Men can be feminists. I’m married to one. These 11 guys seem to have done a great job. It’s just, … I think a feminist film should walk the walk.

    • Yes, you’ve touched upon something which I’ve failed to mention – the lack of women behind the camera, which is of course a much bigger concern to the film industry and feminism. Thank you for bringing it up!

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