Bridesmaids More Than Just a "Female Hangover"
05.13.11 by Ryan
Director Paul Feig's comedy Bridesmaids, which opens today, has often been described as "the female Hangover," which, on one hand, compliments the movie's potential to take adult-oriented themes and make a successful movie, but, on the other, implies that the movie is attempting to copy The Hangover's formula with a female cast instead. Either way, co-screenwriter and star Kristen Wiig wants to avoid the comparison.
Wiig began writing the movie with writer Annie Mumolo in 2006, years before The Hangover was released, and the actress recently told USA Today that she only wanted to make a funny movie and hopes the "female Hangover" tag goes away.
We didn't set out to prove anything or make a statement. It wasn't a response to anything like women don't get to do this. We thought, "Let's sit down and laugh, make something funny." I hope that conversation will go away.
The movie came into being after Wiig's small role in 2007's Knocked Up got the attention of director Judd Apatow, who asked her to write a movie and he would produce it. The result, Wigg told The New York Times, was "four and a half years of rewrites" on a comedy about a woman (Wiig) whose life unravels after she is asked by her best friend (Maya Rudolph) to be her maid of honor. Unsurprisingly, a large portion of the movie was set in Vegas for the bachelorette party, something Apatow asked Wiig and Mumolo to remove.
"Judd just said, 'Vegas has been done, Hangover did it, and we don’t want to be the dead horse,'" revealed Mumolo. "I was like: 'I’m going to throw up. Something’s going on inside my body.'"
Another way Bridesmaids tried to distance itself was through improv, something cast member Rose Byrne told The Playlist is typical of a movie Apatow is involved in.
You have a script and you kind of work from there a little bit and they improv and there’s things that come up and they stay. At the end of stay, a lot of script remains the same. It was probably about 90% of what was on the page and 10% improv or something like that.
The end result isn't just wall-to-wall jokes, however. Feig told USA Today that "what's important to Judd and me is that this stuff has to have an emotional core. You can't just string a bunch of jokes together. You would wear the audience down." Wiig agrees, saying at the heart of the comedy is a woman who has to look at her life while her best friend moves on to marriage.
It can be a big shift in a relationship. It changes how much time they spend talking on the phone and sharing what's important. Without getting too sentimental, the film shows how that loss makes my character look at her own life.
But that doesn't mean the movie is another "bromance" movie. Instead, Feig describes Bridesmaids as a "womance."
For more about the movie, check out out Five Reasons Why Bridesmaids is Worth Your Time.