Bridesmaids: $168 million
The Help: $147 million
Last night’s Emmys had a few people tweeting about Melissa McCarthy and her surprise Emmy win. Some even tweeted that this was really a win for Bridesmaids. So what of Bridesmaids? A male dominated field finds a successful female-driven interloper. In fact, 2011 is shaping up to be strong on women writers and directors, but also strong on box office successes like Bridesmaids and The Help. Even though some were saying that Bridesmaids had been dissed by critics I was surprised to see that it actually has quite good reviews, many scores of 100 on Metacritic, in fact. And not by nobodys either:
The Wall Street Journal, Slate, the Chicago Reader, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, TIME, Ebert all loved Bridesmaids.
When asked about her success as a writer some time last year, Tina Fey lamented how few female stars from Saturday Night Live go on to have successful film careers. And yet here an example, a big one, right in front of us — and it’s something of a phenomenon, I think. Still, the Oscars are a boys club, we know this. Generally speaking, women have a hard time cracking the writing and directing categories – it happens sometimes, just not often enough, and one area that the Oscars have long been woefully out of touch with is comedy. Seriousness rules the day at the Oscars, give or take a Kevin Kline, a Marisa Tomei, a Diane Keaton, or a Woody Allen. They acknowledge comedy if it’s polished enough but they rarely award the women who churn it out.
And so that brings us to Bridesmaids, which is about to come out on DVD. Because of Melissa McCarthy last night, the box office take, and the true phenomenon that it has become, I think it’s time to start taking Bridesmaids seriously. And Melissa McCarthy seriously. And original screenplay seriously.
Then again, everyone thought The Hangover could make it into the Oscar race but it didn’t. So who knows. But I’m willing to be wrong if I’m wrong. I just think that the rarity of it could propel it forth — and perhaps help to kick down a few doors for funny women – funny women who, you know, don’t have to be a size 2.