April 28, 2012 3 Comments
Don’t know how/when but somehow I had gotten the idea that Bridesmaids was going to be a hilarious movie. This is doubly-weird because the main thing I’d heard about it was that it was the ‘female Hangover‘ and I didn’t even like that movie much in the first place, and found it mostly sad and strange.
Bridesmaids is, I guess, like The Hangover in that way. This is because, although on paper it seems like a pretty formulaic comedy of the sort that might have starred Julia Roberts in the ’90s – there’s a main character who we follow along on a pat story arc involving first a lot of bad but ‘funny’ stuff and then a resolution, with both her friends and a gentle love interest – they made a very interesting and perhaps daring choice, in that they made the main character completely and totally unlikable and unsympathetic in every possible way.
I hated Kristen Wiig’s lead character. Despised. She has no redeeming qualities. There is nothing to like about her. Am I getting through here? The rival, gorgeous, refined, nice ‘enemy’ character played by Rose Byrne, who for most of the movie (I gather) we were supposed to dislike, was far more likeable (but then, I would think so…)
What this means (if you agreed with me about the character) is that you sit and watch this movie ostensibly constructed around ‘will the main character find happiness and get to a better place with her friends and romances?’ and you don’t care if she does, or even actively do not want her to. This makes it something of a surreal experience. Because while Bridesmaids has all the trappings of a movie starring A Character We’re Supposed To Like And Want To Succeed, they mixed things up and (seemingly intentionally) didn’t put that character in the lead, they put an annoying, self-centered, repellent character there instead.
Which, is an interesting choice.
What happened then? One possibility is that the writers don’t know she is repellent, or at least don’t see her as repellent as I did. No accounting for taste and all that. The explanation I favor though is that Bridesmaids is a sort of cultural agit-prop, meant to change views and tastes as to what is acceptable and attractive and likeable. A feature-length infomerical meant to portray inherently-unlikeable, atrociously-self-centered and obnoxious girls as likeable in the hopes that this will trick people, or even change aesthetics along the way. Sort of like movies/TV shows instructing us that ‘big beautiful (=fat) women’ are attractive. Yes, I understand they’d certainly like to think so. The problem is they might find that not everyone is playing along.