Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain and Bridesmaids (the movie)

It's been grey skies and raining off and on in Ithaca, NY for days, and it's not supposed to end for days to come. A friend I hadn't seen since the last time we went to see a girly movie back in August called and asked if I wanted to see a movie last night.  Other than supporting a movie, a comedy with mostly females, I wasn't particularly interested in seeing the movie she mentioned; but it had been more than six months since we saw each other so I just said yes. I had seen the poster and the movie trailer and really wanted to be into seeing it, but I wasn't. 

The opening scene in Bridesmaids gave me a false sense of hope; what woman hasn't experienced at best mediocre sex with a guy she isn't in a relationship with and for some reason continues to go back. Awkward moments are always funny, because it makes the characters human. Speaking of characters, I know that it's a comedy so the women are overtly stereotyped: the beautiful bitch (Helen played by Rose Byrne), the mousy innocent one (Becca played by Ellie Kemper), the crazed real mother (Rita played by Wendy McLendon-Covey), the heavy inappropriate wild one (Megan played by Melissa McCarthy); but with all of the stereotyping the bride (Lillian played by Maya Rudolph) was not a bridezilla and the best friend (Annie played by Kristin Wiig), though was of course a down-in-the-dumps single mid 30's woman who slept with the wrong guy while pushing away the nice one, she was jealous of the newer friendship between her best fried and bride-to-be, and the woman, Helen, who was married to her soon-to-be husband's boss, which isn't that far fetched. I think women can relate to the difficulty of a really close friendship with a woman being shifted by another woman coming into one of your lives. I have certainly experienced that myself, more than once. I caught myself laughing out loud when she was driving away in her car mocking Helen. 

Kristin Wiig, by far had the best performance and there were scenes that were pretty good, showing off her real skills as a comedian and actress; when she gets pulled over by the cop for the first time and again when she is trying to get his attention to help her find Lillian. On the plane and in my opinion, which is a pretty redundant thing to say since my entire blog is my opinion, by far the best scene was when Annie flips out at the bridal shower. It was the moment in plenty of other movies where you are so annoyed right along with the character you wish they would lose their shit, and she did!

So one of my biggest difficulties with this movie is the stereotype of the heavy woman being unattractive, over-the-top-inappropriate.  Doing work to try and be body positive and not feed into the continuous obsession with food, how we look, how much we weigh, and how we should define ourselves based on any/all of these, I was most disheartened at the laughter at her weight and the gasps and loud remarks from audience members of "gross."  This attitude was reaffirmed when I found this, "the other bridesmaids include a fat lady who was gross." Reading this article with the actress left me wondering what was she smoking when she said [she hopes the unconventional chick flick will broaden the kind of female roles that typically populate Hollywood comedies.]  “So often I watch a movie and I’m like, who are these women?” 
Ms. Magazine also had a great article about this movie making points I couldn't agree with more and was glad to see someone acknowledge the things that really stood out to me that detracted from the movie as a whole. "For such a smart movie, it was disappointing that Bridesmaids still went for the fat-chick-as-butt-of-the-joke trope. Melissa McCarthy’s Megan is predictably unfashionable, crude, unfeminine and sexually aggressive. It is clear that we are supposed to laugh at her, in part, because fatness is hilarious! She incorporates food in her sex play! Hee! What’s with all the self-esteem? Everybody knows fat chicks don’t have self-esteem. Funny! That said. McCarthy is comic gem, who infused the character with heart and depth.  Not surprisingly, the film was also largely whitewashed, despite having a biracial woman as one of the main characters. I found it odd that Rudolph’s character, who has a black father (Franklin Ajaye!), did not have any close black female friends or family. In this way, Bridesmaids stands as another example of how people of color can only exist in a narrative if they are deracinated and don’t disturb the whiteness."

I'm tired of settling! Well it's a step in the right direction, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is smart and because it's female-centric, but for everything else, no. I have to say the best piece I read regarding this movie is this from Bitch Magazine. I appreciate getting two perspectives in one piece, and found I could find I could agree with both women at different times, but ultimately, I leaned more towards KJ: "Do I take thee, Bridesmaids, to be my beacon for funny women in film? No, I don't." I'd set this aside along with Sex and the City 2; ok it wasn't that bad. But I'd rather watch a girly movie like Legally Blonde that stereotypes and also works to break the stereotype at the same time. Besides, the weather is still grey and rainy and I'd rather rent a movie, get cozy in my bed and save more than half my money for something else.

No comments:

Post a Comment