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On 'Bridesmaids': Am I Doing Being A Woman Wrong?

@MichelleDean I wish 1) I had a DVD in front of me to review and 2) my memory of a movie I watched yesterday afternoon was more complete, but I don't recall a ton of disgust on the part of the other bridesmaids, if only because they had so few lines and none of the bridesmaids seemed to have much respect for one another anyway. What I do recall is the audience guffawing when she was hitting on the man she sat next to on the airplane.

An uncharitable view of the audience reaction would hold that they see the sexuality of an overweight character as hilarious simply because the character is overweight. On the other hand, I would bet that there would be similar guffaws if Wiig had used the same hamhanded lines/moves and that Megan's method of seduction is tied in to her "nerdy but confident" persona as explored later on.

Critics can quibble to their hearts' content about reaction shots etc., but I have to strongly disagree that weight is "still too delicate here to be handled as broadly as it was in the comedy."

First of all, it's not "still too delicate," since overweight people have been around as long as everyone else has. If we have to wait for some mass-enlightenment to wash over the nation for overweight actors to be funny in ways that acknowledge their body type, you might as well tell overweight actors that they can't do comedy at all, ever.

Second, I reject the notion that touchy issues or injustices need to be resolved (to whose satisfaction?) before people get to laugh about them. Mel Brooks made the racially biting Blazing Saddles in 1974, and you *still* can't get a cab to take you to Bed-Stuy.

PS: You could cut a lot more than the fat jokes out of this movie and it still wouldn't lose much.

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm 1

On 'Bridesmaids': Am I Doing Being A Woman Wrong?

@MichelleDean I don't think that a thoughtful comedy would automatically be an unfunny polemic. However, a comedy that bears the weight of expectations on all manner of political/cultural issues and tries to fill that role will fall flat on its face, and not in a pratfall kind of way either.

Think about Megan:

- You need an overweight character so they're not "invisible";

- BUT they can't be too sexual (because some people will think it's gross);

- BUT they can't be an nonsexual dope a la Chris Farley;

- BUT they can't be too weird or different from everyone else, lest they be "ridiculed."

So what are we left with - a radiant, overweight beauty queen who is the envy of everybody else in the film and doesn't do physical or sexual comedy? That's not funny, that's just pandering.

All told, I think I share some of your frustrations with the way Bridesmaids has been saddled with political/cultural baggage, but I don't agree that it's some sort of revanchist salvo in the ongoing Fat Wars.

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm 1

On 'Bridesmaids': Am I Doing Being A Woman Wrong?

For a variety of reasons, Bridesmaids had the unenviable and impossible task of carrying water for a variety of feminist/political issues and is criticized here for failing to take on the issues the writer considers important. On several occasions, she says it's funny, which I thought was the point of comedies.

But yet...

Why didn't the movie tackle the sociology of bridesmaids' dresses? First, because the film was too damn long to begin with. Second, any movie made with the intent of checking off a long list of paradigms to subvert and privileges to navel-gaze over will inevitably become a terrible unfunny polemic!

That being said, I think the film is a B/B- at best. Annie was unsympathetic because she was endlessly self-pitying and extraordinarily mean. The other bridesmaids got just enough lines to give a brief biographical sketch, but nothing more. The men were one-dimensional.

The larger societal issues grafted on to this mass market light comedy by some commentators set it up for failure. The fact that it wasn't very good didn't help, but the truth is that it never had a chance to be all things to all people.

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm 2