Each Bridesmaids review asks whether the new comedy marks a new era for women in movies. As everyone has pointed out, men now no longer hold a monopoly on bawdy, R-rated, Judd Apatow-produced comedies. In fact, this movie has more rave reviews than the last several Apatow films, and has set the bar for male-dominated summer comedies like The Hangover Part II. But whether the film becomes a landmark for female comediennes or not, it may at least be a breakthrough for leading female comic Kristen Wiig.
Since the movie’s review scores are so high on Rotten Tomatoes, the lion’s share of credit is going to Wiig, since she is the star and co-writer. In fact, she is even singled out on the site’s consensus, which reads, “A marriage of genuine characters, gross out gags, and pathos, ‘Bridesmaids’ is a female-driven comedy that refused to be boxed in, as Kristen Wiig emerges as a real star.”
With a 91 percent positive rating, many critics are bound to hope that it becomes a box office success, as it takes on Thor in its opening weekend. If the film withstands the Norse God, and then stands tall against Captain Jack Sparrow, Po the Kung Fu Panda, and the Hangover drunks for the rest of May, it will make a statement through the industry.
Countless romantic comedies in the last few years, like Bride Wars, The Ugly Truth and even Knocked Up have been decried as misogynistic by critics. But since Bridesmaids is positioned as an antidote, with the rare sight of six female characters powering an R-rated Apatow production, the likes of Salon’s Rebecca Traister call it “a social responsibility” for the film to succeed.
Despite big reviews, no film can probably change that much in the industry, especially when put against years of poor romantic comedies and poorly written female characters. Therefore, the more realistic hope may be that it makes Wiig into a big screen star, which may just finally happen.
Wiig has been the driving force on Saturday Night Live for years while also spending time stealing movie scenes in Knocked Up, Walk Hard, Extract and Whip It,among other films. But although she is best known as loud, theatrical characters like the Target Lady, Penelope and Gilly, her first leading role has shown critics a new side of her.
Dustin Putman raves that Wiig is “hilarious uninhibited, effortlessly appealing, instantly relatable and truly touching.” Still, the raves are nearly matched by those for Mike and Molly‘sMelissa McCarthy, and an overall ensemble that includes Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey.
While most every review hopes the best for Wiig, and funny women everywhere, time and audiences will tell if their hopes pay off. But if they do, the future of women in Hollywood is still uncertain, even if Wiig’s wouldn’t be.
Rotten Tomatoes- “Bridesmaids”
Salon- “Seeing Bridesmaids is a social responsibility”
Dustin Putman- “Bridesmaids”