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A happy surprise – or a sad disappointment | The Velvet Café

bridesmaidsMany of the film writers and podcasters I follow claim that they avoid to see any trailer or review about a movie before they have seen it themselves. While I don’t accuse them for lying, I can’t understand how they make it. Honestly.

There’s only one cinema in my city that doesn’t show any trailers – the independent, artsy one. They don’t run any advertising at all, so you’d better be on time for their shows or you’ll miss the beginning of the movie.

But everywhere else, running three or four trailers is a standard. And you can’t really avoid them by showing up way after the scheduled starting time for the movie, since it’s quite random when they start running the ads. Sometimes they do it early, sometimes they do it late. It has happened that the actual movie you’re there to see will start on the announced time, so you don’t want to take any chance.

The trailers are unavoidable as far as I’m concerned. The reviews are optional I guess – in theory. In reality I’m too curious, too interested in what people are talking about in the blogosphere and the world of movie podcasts, too eager to feel that I’m “updated” with what’s going on, to not read reviews about movies I have yet to see. I just don’t have that kind of self control, especially not since most of the movies come up a few months later in Sweden than they do in US or UK. In order to not spoil anything I couldn’t listen to or read anything more recent than six months old and that would feel pretty bad.

As a result of this, I had obviously seen the trailer as well as read the reviews of Bridesmaids long before I saw it myself. And the previews had given me certain expectations. The strange thing was that those expectations went in two opposite directions, and as a result, I’m also torn in my own response to the movie.

From one point of view I’m happily surprised. From the other point of view – I’m sourly disappointed.

Better than the trailer

The “this-was-better-than-I-had-expected” reaction is based on the trailer, which was terrible. It suggested that this was a classic example of PPP-humor (poo, pee and puke). It looked as if it was only one step away from having recorded laughter running in the background. They could as well put up flash signs after every joke. “Laugh here. It’s mandatory.” (Do I need to tell you how much I HATE that kind of movies?)

However. It wasn’t. Bridesmaids hade way more brains and story than the trailer suggested. Thumbs up from me!

Then there is the other reaction, “I’m a bit disappointed”. This is based on the reviews I’ve read and listened to. Regardless of the horrid trailer for it, I had quite high expectations on this movie. It got top grades from almost everyone I follow, including the UK podcasters Kermode and Mayo, whose views I normally tend to agree with a lot. The major morning paper in my country wrote a two pages long celebration article, claiming that this was a major breakthrough for female comedians on the movie screen. From what I heard and read I got the impression that I was about to witness something historical, something that never had been done before. I didn’t quite understand in what manner female humor would be different to the male equivalence, but it sure had to be quite something, following the enthusiastic exclaims.

Nothing revolutionary

And to be completely honest with you, I don’t quite get what this hullabaloo was about. I didn’t see anything particular revolutionary in Bridesmaids. What I saw was a decent piece of comedy – not bad, not at all, but average. It doesn’t stick out as far as I can tell.

Perhaps there were a few more ladies around than we’re used to, but haven’t we seen the types they did before? Has everyone all of a sudden forgotten characters such as Meg Ryan doing the explicit restaurant scene in When Harry met Sally? Just as one example.

On the other hand – I might be absolutely wrong. This could also be a case of  “it’s not about you, it’s about me”.

I strongly suspect that a lot of the humor in Bridesmaids is based on recognition. The more you’ve been in similar situations, the funnier you’ll find it. I suppose there are many women who can recognize themselves far more than I did. They’ve had a bunch of bridesmaids at their own weddings. They’ve been bridesmaids at the weddings of their friends. I’ve done neither, and as a matter of fact I’ve been to very few weddings and certainly nothing anywhere near what’s in this movie.

And to be painfully honest I’ve never really had any close female friend, so I think the theme that is dealing with the nature of female friendship is a little bit lost on me.

What I’ll remember
So what do I know? Who am I to judge this movie? Maybe I’m just a little grumpy, since I feel alienated, watching this female world from the outside?

In the end, I did have a few laughs and I guess that’s this makes it worth the ticket cost for most of us.

However in a few years time I suspect that the only thing I’ll remember from it is a particularly disgusting poo scene. It was quite spectacular. I’m not sure if it was good.

Bridesmaids (Feig, US, 2011) My rating: 3,5/5

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