Bridesmaids & Babette

Lately, a line from the Danish film Babette’s Feast has been running through my head… “Throughout the world sounds one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me the chance to do my very best.”

Here’s the thing that struck me most powerfully about Bridesmaids: This is what happens when you let actual comedians do their jobs. This is what can happen in the post-Tina Fey world.

Ten years ago, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo might have written this movie but Wiig and Maya Rudolph never would have been cast in it. Instead, we would have seen some good-sport-starlet (Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Christina Applegate) with dewy skin and passable comic timing doing her best to endure a series of humiliating situations. Meanwhile, Wiig and Rudolph– lovely, but ordinary looking women– would have been relegated to a quirky best friend role or hamming it up as a wacky waiter.

But with Bridesmaids we get two fantastic female comedians owning the story instead of stealing their moments. They go to town on their material, working each beat, commanding each set piece with total confidence. A lot of the film’s jokes feel predictable and obvious, but the execution elevates the material. There is something almost elegant in the way that Rudolph crumples to the street in her own excrement, and to watch Wiig consume a Jordan almond in a bridal salon battle of wills is to witness greatness. (Melissa McCarthy is another standout. I was sorry to see the film fall into the “fat women who want to have sex are hilarious” trap, but McCarthy’s delivery did wonders.)

I don’t know that Bridesmaids is their “very best,” but it’s a good beginning and a hopeful indication that the world is ready to give Wiig, Rudolph, and others their chance.

4 Comments

Filed under The Violet Hour

4 responses to “Bridesmaids & Babette

  1. I must say I enjoyed Bridesmaids immensely, and am baffled at many (male) reviewers who seem embarrassed by the crass and vulgar gags because it’s women executing them instead of Jason Segel. I mean, if guys knew what women REALLY talk about and do when they’re not in the room, they’d be shocked.

    My favorite scene was Wiig on the airplane under the influence — very Meg Ryan meets Lucille Ball.

  2. I can’t believe I haven’t seen this yet. Hopefully soon!

    Princess Sisi’s comment reminded me of the chapter in Tina Fey’s memoir where she reminisces about Jimmy Fallon being (pretend? or not?) grossed out by Amy Poehler’s “vulgarity” and her snapping back, “I DON’T CARE IF YOU LIKE IT.”

    It sounds like the women of “Bridesmaids” are kind of saying that to the men in the audience, and I think that’s awesome.

  3. I haven’t read many of the reviews of Bridesmaids so I didn’t realize that people were getting so priggish about the ladies raunching it up. The good news is that the movie has done good box office and that bodes well for what all of these funny women choose to do next.

    I’ll also say that I didn’t think Bridesmaids was *that* raunchy– at least not compared to something like The Hangover.

  4. Joe and I have had to put off seeing this because of BEA then holiday weekend stuff, but I can’t wait! I love this cast–and a little raunchiness never scared me off.😉

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