Tuesday, May 17, 2011

'Bridesmaids' does well at box office, leads to new GIRL POWER movement

GIRL POWER! "Bridesmaids" didn't grab the top box office spot over the weekend (it went to "Thor" with $34.7 million), but it still kicked a mighty amount of ass. It made $26.2 million, which is a darn respectable amount and WAY above the $17 million mark that was bandied about.

"Bridesmaids" had an immense amount of pressure on it to do well, too. Even though it was produced by very successful producer/director/writer Judd Apatow, it was written by a pair of women, starred a bunch of women and featured girly things like weddings, dresses and hot Irish cops. (OK, just one hot Irish cop, but still.) The prevailing opinion about "Bridesmaids" was: "If this movie isn't amazing and doesn't make millions of dollars and isn't the funniest damn thing anybody's ever seen, women will never ever ever ever ever ever work in Hollywood again and movies for women will be horribly derivative for all time. For all time!"

Luckily, "Bridesmaids" was very successful and was, indeed, one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen. The question now is whether the movie will hurtle over the gap between "funny movie for chicks" and "funny movie." In other words, men are going to have to go see this movie, even though it features (gasp) women! And they should - it is a hella-funny movie with a great story and characters. But don't take my word for it - my mom reported that my dad (who saw the movie Friday despite the fact he generally hates "chick flicks") kept randomly thinking of scenes from "Bridesmaids" during the weekend and laughing.

Let me tell you right now, if you're someone who normally hates chick flicks, "Bridesmaids" is not a normal chick flick. It is so much funnier, better, more interesting and likable than a lot of movies I've seen, and there are so many reasons why I like it better than a lot of movies, especially movies for women.
  • The main character, Annie, is REALLY a mess. In so many movies, the only way that you know that a woman is supposed to be a mess is that she falls down sometimes. They still look gorgeous and wear beautiful clothes and drive a nice car and have at least two hot men who secretly love them. Kristen Wiig, who plays Annie, is pretty but she is not an uber-hottie like, for example, Katherine Heigl. She can walk on her own two feet without tripping, but she is a poor, failed business owner who makes practically nothing at her lame job at a jewelry store, wears off-the-rack sundresses, lives with a couple of weirdos and drives a crappy car that doesn't always start. Annie isn't always likable - she definitely brings the neurotic crazy - but she's someone to which everyone can relate in some way.
  • The "fat girl" isn't just for comic relief. Megan, played by Melissa McCarthy, is the big, quirky girl in the group of bridesmaids, and although she definitely gets a lot of the laughs in the movie (some of which are related to the fact that she's larger and more masculine and just generally weirder than the other girls), she also is shown to be the smartest and coolest person. She also gets to be the one who lights a fire under Annie's ass and gets her to stop being a total whiner in one of the pivotal scenes in the movie. Megan is super likable and funny, but she is a fleshed-out character with a real backstory. How often does that happen for a fat character, especially a fat female character, in ANY movie?
  • Normal romantic comedy tricks don't work. In one scene, Annie tries to apologize to another character in a rather cliche way almost straight out of a romantic comedy movie and, guess what? It doesn't work. It most likely wouldn't work in real life, and it didn't work in "Bridesmaids." It was one of those wonderful surprises in the movie that made me go, "Oooh, they really didn't try to cut corners, did they?" They made peoples' reactions more realistic than in many movies - although they were still exaggerated for comic relief, of course!
  • It showed realistic friendships between women. All the characters rang true and I understood their motivations completely. They made much more sense together than, for example, the women in the "Sex and the City" movies. I was touched by the friendships and the way the relationships played out, and a few times I even got just a teeny bit teary. But only a little bit! I swear! *tear*
  • There were some genuinely freaking funny scenes. I don't always laugh out loud at comedies, but I really, really did in "Bridesmaids." A lot of times, actually. There was one particular scene, where the women get food poisoning, that had the potential to be a gross, stupid scene. After all, the humor revolved around women shitting themselves while wearing fancy dresses. You wouldn't really think it would be that funny (though poop humor is generally a winner!), but the ways they reacted showed the incredible comedy chops of the women involved. They fully committed to the scene, and it's one of the scenes in the movie that has been making me randomly giggle to myself all weekend. This was the gold standard in poo humor, people! If that doesn't get you to the theater, there's no hope for you!
So who saw "Bridesmaids" this weekend?

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