Last night I went to see Bridesmaids. I laughed a fair amount, probably more than I’ve laughed at a film in a while. This would seem to indicate that I enjoyed the film, but I’m not sure how much I actually did.
The film is one that could be described as pretty ridiculous. In its content it offers little more than a set of highly played up stereotypes, pantomimic gags and absurd scenarios. The characters are not developed, the situation is generic and hyperbolised to the extreme. This, I think, is the point.
A recent reviewer commended the film on its demonstration that women can be funny, or as funny as men. As much as this can be construed as a problematic comment I suppose such virtues are identifiable in the film. This reviewer made the comparison between Bridesmaids and The Hangover, a completely apt analogy to make. The comedic aims of the two films are very similar; silly, farcical and – at times – childish. The success of such a film wherein women dominate should be celebrated, but should women be showing that they can do this particularly male dominated area of comedy as well as men or should they be developing their own comedic territory?
What this all boils down to, really, is toilet humour. What is it with the scatological that seems to hit the spot with so many people? Honestly, a five-minute vomiting scene is not necessary in any film and it certainly isn’t funny. Scatological humour is the kind of thing I would gladly associate with men, conforming to all gender stereotypes, but would rather not associate with anyone.
For me the best moments in the film came from the knowing play with stereotypical female roles, particularly from the chick-flick genre. Here the whole concept of the film really works, with the ridiculousness of the romantic wedding – a feature in so many films for women – brilliantly highlighted.
What I think jarred in the film was the indecision between what it wanted to be. A meaningless and silly comedy in the vein of The Hangover or something with a bit more depth and thought put into it – an element apparent in main character Annie’s life issues (reminiscent of the eponymous Bridget Jones).
So, did Bridesmaids fail to totally hit the spot for me due to what essentially boils down to a battle of the sexes? Evidence would seem to point vaguely in that general direction. Either way Bridesmaids does raise some interesting questions about gender and genre whilst providing a generally very funny few hours of entertainment. I’d choose it over The Hangover any day, but then perhaps I’m biased.