Before “Bridesmaids” opened to stellar box office last weekend, the prevailing critical buzz was a plaintive plea for men to see this movie despite the fact that it starred a bunch of women. It’s not a chick flick! Funny for everyone! Guys will love this! And while those things are all very, very true, it also irks me a little. Because there’s also nothing wrong with saying this either: Ladies, you will love this movie. No, really, you will love this movie. Laugh until the verge of bladder control issues. Bury your head in your friend’s shoulder from disbelief. Even, yes, maybe mist up a little. This movie is what women have been waiting for from comedies. It is the opposite of everything we hate about the movies we’re supposed to like. In place of treacle and triteness, it gives us hilarity and heart.
The industry always frets that “women’s films” don’t make money. But the truth of the matter is bad women’s films don’t make money. And, let’s be perfectly honest, most chick flicks suck. But when instead you give us quality, fleshed-out characters and whip-smart writing, and we will come to the tune of a $26 million opening weekend. And, heavens, I haven’t even started on the performances. Perfect cast is perfect. Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy. Good God, Melissa McCarthy. You all know I love Kristen to bits and pieces already, but Melissa nearly stole the show from some of the best show stealers in the business. If this cast doesn’t finally and forever put to rest the idiotic “women aren’t funny” bullshit, then nothing ever will.
I think one of the best things about this film, other than the free ab workout from the ugly snort laughing, was leaving the theater made me feel good about being a woman. Too many films make us feel bad about our womanhood. They say only the happily ever after will make us truly happy. But “Bridesmaids” reached for a different kind of aspiration, the sort that says it’s OK to let your freak flag fly. We’re too complex for the stereotypes, too interesting for the Hollywood ending. We women are weird and wonderful creatures, and it’s nice to have a film that celebrates that for a change. Boys, you are more than welcome to come along for the ride. But this movie, this movie is all ours, baby. Happy weekend, all.