When Bridesmaids came out last summer, it sparked a conversation about women in film, and filmmaking, that finally struck a chord in mainstream audiences. True, women have been writing films starring women, for such an audience, for decades. Whether it was Judd Apatow’s hand in producing, co-writer and lead actress Kristen Wiig’s Saturday Night Live popularity, or impeccable timing, Bridesmaids broke records, drew in patrons of both genders and all ages, and shed light on something missing in Hollywood.
Despite the gross-out gag added by Apatow and co, Bridesmaids kept its humor geared towards men and women. Some of the films’ highlights included frank coffee shop chat about one night stands, raging best friend jealousy, and a protagonist who thankfully did not fit the usual rom-com mold of a work-obsessed, lovelorn lead.
The next incarnation was bound to come around and draw comparisons to Bridesmaids, but none quite so blatant as the upcoming Bachelorette. Complete with its own wedding, hot-mess friends, and even a cast member in common (Rebel Wilson), Bachelorette has all but marketed itself as Bridesmaids’ nastier little sister.
The similarities don’t end there. Where Bridesmaids was produced by Judd Apatow, Bachelorette has Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Apatow is known for injecting a little “heart” into his stories, usually priming them for female audiences even with a full bro-cast. McKay and Ferrell (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, The Other Guys), though not strictly successful with men, have never ventured into this kind of ensemble comedy before.
Bachelorette features Kristen Dunst (Melancholia), Lizzy Caplan (Party Down) and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) as three best friends invited to the wedding of a girl they mercilessly mocked in high school. Becky (Rebel Wilson), formerly known to the trio as “Pig Face”, unwittingly has brought the three self-obsessed party girls who could potentially ruin her big day.
The thing about Bachelorette is that it belies a much crueler streak in women. Where Bridesmaids was playful, this film appears to take a stab at the destructive habits of women in their friendship. This is writer/director Leslye Headland’s first feature film, so her tone and sincerity remain, so far, a mystery. Of course, this is an Adam McKay film, so this dark underbelly of bachelorette parties will be peppered with plenty of sex, drugs, and hilarity.
Also starring James Marsden, Kyle Bornheimer, and Adam Scott as the ladies’ love interests, expect Bachelorette to cater to its male audience just like its predecessor. As the short-lived cult comedy series Party Down demonstrated, Scott and Caplan could easily bottle their chemistry and sell it for millions, so there’s plenty for the rom-com crowd, too.
At the very least, it’s exciting to see more comedies about women being women, fully flawed and funny in their own right. We certainly don’t need another tightly wound career woman learn to let her hair down for the millionth time.
For Fans Of: Bridesmaids, Wedding Crashers, Lizzy Caplan