Annie: It was a big, fat meh, to me. Maybe my expectations were too high. I tend to have high standards. I’m Asian.
Mary: My expectations were low, based on the trailers. And the poster outside the theater that said “Chick flicks don’t have to suck.”
How do we feel about the term “chick flick,” by the way?
Annie: I hate it. I hate it almost as much as I hate “chick lit.”
Mary: I hate it too. Yes. If only those words didn’t rhyme. We would not have to deal with this.
Annie: WHY NOT JUST FLICKS EVERYONE CAN ENJOY? i.e. flicks that do not suck a big fat hairy choad and/or vagina depending on your preference.
Mary: Well, I’ll start by pointing out a few things I did like.
Mary: I have always admired Kristen Wiig, so I was happy to see her in a starring role. I also found myself liking Maya Rudolph more than I ever did when she was on SNL. Their scenes together had great rapport: with a few exceptions that I will mention, their friendship felt authentic and real.
Annie: I like Kristen Wiig but I always thought she was a bit one note. She kind of always plays the same character, just at different levels of intensity. But I did think she was great in this. Her character was solid. And I thought Maya Rudolph was good too, though her character wasn’t as full.
Mary: I also appreciated the fact that Lillian’s fiancé was a non-entity, so this was not about a man coming between two ladyfriends. If it weren’t for that awful Helen, I suspect Annie and Lillian would’ve gotten through that wedding hoopla just fine.
Annie: All the dudes were basically non-entities, even the love interest.
Mary: Yep. So it really was about friendship among ladies in their 30s—which is groundbreaking in its way. It’s pathetic that I have to say that. One thing, though, about Annie and Lillian. I did not believe Lillian’s willingness to go along with the expensive Vegas trip when she knew Annie could not afford it. Wouldn’t she at least offer to help pay for her ticket? I would!
Annie: Oh, I know. There’s a lot of unrealistic shit though. Like Annie has that insane blow out at the shower, and then later she apologizes quickly on Lillian’s wedding day. I was like, COME ON. There’s extended scenes of Annie trying to ‘win back’ the cop, but there’s maybe one scene where Annie’s trying to win back her best friend.
Mary: There were moments where I felt very aware of the contrivances, which is part and parcel of any rom-com.
Annie: Yeah, they were just trying to tie up loose ends quickly.
Mary: And there’s no reason to expect anything more from this particular rom-com, just because there are ways in which it is doing something new.
Annie: Right, but what happens there is that it makes the tired stuff stand out a lot. Like the whole food poisoning thing.
Mary: YES okay, that.
Annie: Poop jokes are the lowest common denominator in comedy. “Oh! Everyone loves a poop joke! Tee hee!”
Mary: Everyone’s talking about that scene. Frankly, it was not that gross, I thought.
Annie: It wasn’t gross, it was just stupid and went on too long. LIKE OK I GET IT. OH LOOK WOMAN IS SHITTING IN SINK HAR HAR. (Spoiler alert.)
Mary: I’m sure it was fun for a bunch of improv actors to do, but there was an element of laziness about the idea.
Annie: I’m sure a lot of people love that scene. It just was kind of a low joke to get laughs. Super cheap, and devoid of actual clever wit that some of the other scenes have.
Mary: Yes. I read somewhere that Wiig and her writing partner, Annie Mumolo, originally wrote a fantasy scene where she tries on a dress and imagines her fantasy life in it, getting swept off her feet, and Apatow scotched it.
Annie: Because it was too ‘girly’? So he bro’d it up with a diarrhea scene?
Mary: No, the concern was doing a fantasy—they wanted to stay in the moment of the plot, which makes sense. And having a big comic set piece felt right, at that stage of the story.
Annie: Sure. I think it was probably a good move because one of the best things about the movie is that it’s not about Annie whining about being single. You don’t get the feeling that she WANTS to be married.
Mary: Good point. I loved the scenes with her and Jon Hamm, the details, like the way she snuck out of bed to put on makeup in the morning.
Annie: Everything tastes better with Hamm.
Mary: He excels at sleaziness. Something about his forehead, I think.
Annie: His o-face is really quite top notch. But I think the entourage/bridal crew had some character issues.
Mary: Okay, run those down.
Annie: There’s the sexed-crazed mother of three boys and then there’s her opposite, the girl who wants the Pixar-themed bridal shower. Then there’s the prissy country club lady and the Fight Club big, burly girl. The characters seemed based on opposites, which to me is an easy ‘out’ for developing characters, but again, this is a ‘chick flick’ or whatever you want to call it. It’s a comedy, so it’s not like I should expect fully drawn and developed characters.
Mary: That is the nature of the ensemble comedy, to some extent. Broad strokes. See what I did there? I will say, what this movie needed was more Ellie Kemper. MORE ELLIE KEMPER. She got short shrift. I don’t know why her subplot vanished.
Annie: A lot of the subplots did. Wendi McLendon-Covey’s character basically disappeared.
Mary: Yet the movie managed to go on for over two hours. What about the amazing Melissa McCarthy, who stole every scene she was in?
Annie: Dude she totally stole it.
Mary: David Edelstein wrote that she “gets mostly jokes exploiting her girth.”
Annie: She might’ve started as a stereotype, but she became something different. So I disagree. I don’t think it’s the girth that made her funny, though that was part of it. When the camera’s focusing on her ass as she’s bending over people—it was definitely exploiting her girth. But, that’s not doing justice to her whole character.
Mary: So once again, there was no need for the cheap jokes because there were other, better jokes in there. Melissa McCarthy’s character was fantastic. She’s the only one of these ladies who’s got it together. She knows who she is, she knows what she wants (puppies!) and she has far fewer hang-ups than everyone else.
Annie: Exactly. That was refreshing. Did you read that thing on Salon where Rebecca Traister said people should see this movie because it’s a social responsibility?
Annie: I don’t think seeing this movie is a social responsibility. At all.
Mary: No, of course not. I’m reminded of something that, I think, Carrie Brownstein said in an interview ages ago—I can’t remember where, so I’m paraphrasing, but it was something about people asking what it’s like to be a woman in rock. And she was like, Well, you’re always being asked what it’s like to be a woman in rock.
Annie: She’s awesome.
Mary: I love her. I want her to make a movie with Fred Armisen. I would watch the hell out of that.
Annie: Double word.
Mary: But it’s true, though, that part of the conversation here is the way we talk about these movies, the way we decide what they do or don’t represent. The movie stops being a movie on its merits or lack thereof.
Annie: Right, this movie lacks a lot of merits, and has a lot of merits. But, no, it’s not a social responsibility. That shit makes me crazy.
Mary: At the same time, it is important to recognize the ways in which it does represent progress, or at least an enlarging of the cinematic menu. Even if it is an appetizer-sized enlargement.
Annie: I agree there, but fucking social responsibility? God. You know what is a fucking social responsibility? Fucking voting. Washing your fucking hands.
Mary: I’m curious, what was the audience mix when you saw it? The screening I went to was 50/50 dudes/ladies.
Annie: I saw it in TriBeCa, so there were a lot of white people who probably work at a hedge fund. It was a lot of couples, and the occasional group of gay guys, who really laughed hard when Annie called that high school girl a cunt.
Mary: That killed here in Maine, too. “Cunt” is a slang term for a baby lobster.
Annie: Whenever there was a sappy scene, like when the cop did something nice-
Mary: People aww’d! Right??
Mary: There was so much awwing!
Annie: So. Many. Awws. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE? So then I’d laugh at all the awws. I never aww at movies. Maybe I’m dead inside.
Mary: I saw this with a ladyfriend, and there were two dudes sitting in front of us. They aww’d!
Annie: Ironic aww? Or genuine aww?
Mary: No. No. They were feeling it. When she left the cake for the cop. My friend and I were like, ARE YOU SERIOUS?! So there goes that notion of who wants the rom in the rom-com. Speaking of cake, Annie’s “passion” had to be baking.
Annie: Oh I KNOW, that was weak.
Mary: I realize they had to give her something that would be montage-friendly. If her passion were, say, writing hilarious movie scripts, it’d just be her sitting there typing.
Annie: I couldn’t tell if they were trying to be serious or making a statement or making fun.
Mary: I thought it was serious.
Annie: Right, but her passion could’ve been anything. She could be training seeing eye dogs. That’s montage-friendly.
Mary: It didn’t seem to fit her character at all. I didn’t buy it. I didn’t buy Kristen Wiig decorating that cupcake.
Annie: Also the cupcake was gross. Anything but baking.
Mary: And of course she had to shove it in her face, alone, because of feelings.
Annie: Right, eat her feelings, etc.
Mary: But baking helped her get her man. Although I think they wanted us to think that the baking itself wasn’t what mattered, it was that he loved her when she was “true to herself.”
Annie: It would’ve been better, even, if she were a shitty baker. Like, Oh, that’s why the cake shop didn’t do so well. You can love doing something and be bad at it. That’s more refreshing, to me.
Mary: Speaking of the love interest, the cop, Chris O’Dowd. Why so many Irish/British people in Milwaukee? There’s him and Annie’s roommates. I respect that they didn’t bother explaining that too much.
Annie: They pointed it out, when she asked how he became a cop, and then it was over. But it was kind of stupid. They could’ve gotten anyone to play that part.
Mary: True, but I thought dropping him in there with minimal explanation was clever: I read it as a wink to the contrivance of the rom-com. They know we know they need a sexy cop, so here he is, let’s move on.
Annie: Oh, I didn’t give it that much credit.
Mary: I’m trying to be nice. Always trying to be nice!
Annie: Yeah. I wondered that if, as a lady, I didn’t like this movie, would I be called ‘catty’ or ‘jealous’ or something along those lines? And if I liked it, being a lady, would I be accused of being supportive of a movie that doesn’t deserve it?
Mary: It’s that idea that if we don’t support this movie, we won’t get any more.
Annie: Maybe we’re fucked either way.
Mary: Maybe. My fantasy is that in ten years we’ll look back on Bridesmaids and wonder why everyone made such a big deal about it.
Annie: I think that’s reasonable.
Mary: Because by then we’ll have smart, funny movies that happen to be made by/with women, maybe even with plots that don’t involve weddings or babies.
Annie: Right, and you won’t know/care.
Mary: And we’ll all ride our hovercrafts down to the multiplex.
Annie: Dude. Teleport. Hovercrafts are for chumps. Don’t be a chump, Mary.
Mary: Yes. Teleport, and plug into the popcorn tubes. Oh, we should mention Wilson Phillips.
Annie: Wilson Phillips was a cheap trick, but one that was on par with every other comedy.
Mary: Cheap Trick would’ve been good too.
Annie: Maybe better. The dude could’ve played that six-neck guitar.
Annie: Oh, I’m sorry, it was only FIVE necks.
Mary: Bottom line, then: is Bridesmaids GOOD FOR LADIES y/n??
Annie: Oh come on, don’t make me answer that.
Mary: That is the correct answer!
Annie: Haha! I won!