Thursday, December 29, 2011

That's Real Lady-like

I’m not a consumer of “raunchy” comedies. Looking back over the past decade or more, I have missed out on just about every one of them. It is not out of a sense of offense—I must admit, for instance, that bodily functions can be some of the most amusing things in life—but rather because the sort of comedies made these days tend to fail in the humor department. Where a well played poop-joke brings me to tears; over using language or simply shocking the audience into laughter strikes me as lazy, not funny.

However, with all of the buzz surrounding “Bridesmaids” this year, I decided to dip my toe back into what passes for comedy. The results were mixed.

For one thing, this film is more dramatic tragedy than comedy. The main character (played by co-writer Kristen Wiig) is a self-destructive failure in life. The film documents her downward spiral of poor decisions and alienation. Even though she starts out at what her mother calls “rock bottom,” and the audience hopes she will learn to change and improve things, she only manages to drop further and further into problems of her own making. It is painful, not funny, to watch.

On the other hand, every time Mellissa McCarthy is on screen hilarity ensues. Her character is socially awkward and brusque, but she is the opposite of Wiig’s character, overcoming challenges and difficulties life throws at her. She is getting award buzz for her performance and it is understandable.

Then there is the obligatory potty humor scene. It is gross and crass and generated the only laughter I experienced during the film. The rest managed mostly groans or occasional grins. If you miss this film you will miss out on a cultural conversation and zeitgeist that you don’t need anyway. Skip it and watch the dress shopping/food poisoning scene on YouTube... or not.

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