Female comedies are notoriously painful to watch. In a year that's already seen "No Strings Attached" (Really, Natalie Portman? Really?) and "Something Borrowed" (Wait, are we actually supposed to call that a comedy?), not to mention "Sucker Punch," which isn't a comedy but had moments that were laughably bad, "Bridesmaids" has a lot of bad publicity to slough through.
Written by and starring Kristen Wiig, who, along with producer Judd Apatow, assembled a cast of some of the strongest female comedians in recent memory, including Maya Rudolph and the epically scene stealing Melissa McCarthy, the film defies everything audiences have come to expect from movies that bear the cross of "Chick Flick."
Centered on a wedding, the film takes moments like dress fittings, bridal showers and engagement parties and turns it into a schmaltz-free throwdown of unrelenting hilarity that throws the stigma of female-led comedies in the incinerator and screams "Burn, baby, burn!"
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Sitting down to speak with Rudolph and Wiig, both "SNL" alums whose time of the show translates to a language of songs and dialects they say makes them "like the twins in Escape from Witch Mountain," we asked what they felt their role was in championing funny women.
"I don't really feel I have a role," Wiig began.
"You're the treasurer," Rudolph corrected.
"You're the secretary," Wiig replied, grinning.
"It certainly didn't feel like any conscious decision," Rudolph continued. "But when you ask that question, I think it's really cool. It’s such a compliment."
"It's not like we wrote this movie as a reaction to anything," Wiig added. "Like, 'Boys get to do this stuff so let's do it!' We weren't thinking that way. We were just thinking, 'Let's write a hopefully really funny movie with a lot of roles for women in it.'"
One of the most interesting things about "Bridesmaids" is that, unlike most movies focused on women, it isn't about who's prettier or who's gonna get the guy, but who can be a better friend. It's not a message movie, but that's not a bad one to glean from it.
McCarthy—whose work on "Mike and Molly" does little to prepare the audience for her stellar, fearless, hilarious turn here—agreed, saying, "Usually the plot is, 'There's three women and they're fighting over SHOES! And nail polish!' And I'm like. 'Who are these women?' I don't know them. It's not me. And this is a real thing. Yes, women have insecurities, but it's usually over a real thing like friendship [or] am I doing okay? Real topics."
The fact that "Bridesmaids" is grounded in reality is one of its great strengths, but director Paul Feig was unprepared for the level of honesty he found on-set. It's contended that women are actually much more foul-mouthed and sexually explicit (yes, guys, women do talk about everything) and their sense of humor goes much further than men's and, if you ask, Feig, that's absolutely true.
"Who knew?" he said. "There's a lot of frank talk in the movie but we never pushed for it. We would say, 'Maybe you have a sex talk,' and the stuff that would come out of their mouths, I'd be like, ‘Oh my goodness. I'm blushing.’ But I love that. That's what I love about the movie; it's women actually getting to talk like women and joke around like they do that men aren't privy to see."
"Bridesmaids" opens May 13.