A few weeks ago I had the distinct privilege of watching a bootleg copy of Bachelorette with my very dear friend, The Director. She told me before we watched it that I’d like it more than I liked Bridesmaids. I thought she was insane, because Bridesmaids is, like, thebestfemaledrivencomedyever, or so everyone tells me. I admit when I’m wrong, and I’ll admit to The Director that Bachelorette is far better than Bridesmaids. Before you come after me with pitchforks and torches in defense of Kristen Wiig, allow me to explain:
I pride myself on being a card-carrying feminist. Besides bitch and narcissist, it’s my favorite label. I rock it like Jessica Simpson rocks the shit out of mom jeans, and I mean that in the best of ways. I was thrilled when Bridesmaids was a hit. Hollywood was handed a shining example of what women-centric films could accomplish on a silver platter. With Bridesmaids, it was no longer a given that female driven films were fiscally risky. More non-“chick flick” chick flicks = more jobs for ladies in entertainment = a selfishly awesome thing for me! I chose to bask in the revelry of girl power and ignore the arguments in the feminist community outlining how some thought that Bridesmaids was technically about men.
The gist of the arguments were that the entire movie revolves around a wedding (where you need dudes), and a girl figuring out what she deserves in a relationship by getting out of a shitty one (two dudes required). Sure, the changing relationships involved women- best friends, frenemies, mother-daughter; the actual changes seem like they came from men. The cop made Kristen Wiig’s character “see the light”. Maya Rudolph’s character was bawling about the sucky status of her relationship ten minutes before the end of the movie, but got married anyway. What the fuck is that? The women in general (funny as they were) were stereotyped to the core. You’ve got the funny, unsuccessful klutz in Wiigster, the “normal girl” in Maya Rudolph, the slut, the crazy-cute one, the hilariously crazy funny friend that everyone laughs at (in an “oh, you!” kinda way), and (my favorite) the bitchy type-A popular rich girl. Melissa McCarthy is a comedy goddess, but there’s no way you can tell me that the entire bridal party doesn’t fit some type of oft-used mold.
Take Bachelorette– you’ve got a sarcastic drug-addicted migrant, a thirtysomething retail worker who believes she’s on top of the world (very rare), and a bride whose wedding is a mere location, and not a major plot point. Best of all, the type-a Richie Rich princess is the most fucked up character of all! And they’re all funny! They’re all deliciously funny, and not in a caricature, “make fun of me” type of way. They don’t all fall in love, and they don’t all have happy, resolved endings. Only ten out of ninety minutes in the movie have any sort of mushy emotion or thoughtful insight, which is the way it should be. Oftentimes we don’t make decisions based on emotional or logical conclusions; shit happens. Why should characters in a movie be any different?
I think the thing that pisses me off the most about the Bach/Brides comparison is that people lauded Bridesmaids for its comedy while shredding Bachelorette for being “too mean”. Basically, it’s okay for women to shit all over a bathroom, but it’s not okay for women to be non-literally shitty to each other. Was Bradley Cooper too mean to Zach Galifanakis in The Hangover? Was Will Ferrell too mean to John C. Reilly in Step Brothers? People thought those movies were funny. Why isn’t it funny for women to belittle and insult each other too? Why isn’t it funny when women do stupid things? Imagine if the bride from The Hangover pulled a Hangover-like stunt. What if she and her friends had a bangin’ weekend in Vegas, stole a cop car, and gambled their way out of their self-made mess? How awesome would that be? Good thing I don’t have to imagine it- IT’S CALLED BACHELORETTE.
The bottom line reason why I love Bachelorette so much is because it’s entirely true to my life. What would I do if one of my old, lackluster friends had the perfect fiancee and I had to stand by her side in forced celebration? I’d piss and moan and be snarky throughout the process. I’d drink heavily and have random hookups to make me feel temporarily better. I’d suck it up eventually and help my friend have the best day of her life, and then I’d resume my normal, selfish activity. All these things perfectly describe the course of action for Kirsten Dunst’s character in the movie. There are no lessons learned. There is no moral of the story. Am I “nice” all the time, like movie women are supposed to be? No! Am I sorry when I told my friend she should marry rich? No! It’s true, and she knows it! That’s not being mean or bitchy- it’s called being friends. If being a woman means I have to be constantly sweet and supportive to all my friends, then I’d rather grow a penis. Of course, I love every single one of them to death unconditionally, but if they leave me wide open for a smart remark, ten times out of ten I’m gonna take it. Being friends with me is like granting me an open-ended contract to make fun of the stupid things you do for the rest of your life, and I wouldn’t expect any different from any of my friends.
If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Wiig fan and you hated everything I just said, see Bachelorette anyway. You’ll laugh despite your Bridesmaids-love. You’ll especially dig Rebel Wilson, the British sister from Bridesmaids who gets to hold the bouquet this time around. I’d like to end this by stating that I still like Bridesmaids, and I think it has some of the best comedic lines of all movies, period. But Bachelorette was the perfect reflection of the “Lost Generation”, and made me see how ridiculous/redundant/awesome life is. Best of all, it didn’t need poop jokes to make me laugh.