Critics are hailing Judd Apatow's latest as a triumph for women in comedy. Why they're wrong.
We did it, women! Thor may have technically beaten us in numbers, but Bridesmaids—the movie Salon dubbed the "first black president of female-driven comedies"—made a strong showing by coming in second place in this weekend's box office rankings. So we won, right? The female comedy lives?
Let's backtrack a bit. When the Bridesmaids trailer came out a few months ago, it fell in the "chick flick" genre somewhere between the jealousy in 27 Dresses and the "friendship" in Bride Wars. It was easy to draw the comparisons because just like those two movies, this one is centered on a wedding, and the trailer does nothing to imply that this incarnation will be any different than every other comedy that is catered towards women. It seems to hint that it may be a bit more guy-friendly—there are allusions to The Hangover with the trip to Las Vegas—but little else has changed. I wasn't alone in my skepticism about the trailer. In a February post titled "Do Rom-Coms About Weddings Have to Suck?" Vulture complained that the preview suggested the movie would be filled with tired clichés.
I was surprised, then, when critics began heralding Bridesmaids as a triumph for feminism (Salon) or demonstrating the "vital importance of female friendship" (the New York Times). I believe in equal rights, and I think female friendship is vital. Clearly I had misread the trailer and this movie was not only amazing, it was going to be revolutionary!