Lita On Film

Posts Tagged ‘Paul Feig’

Another Film from Apatow/Feig?

In Film News on June 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Universal has signed the Feig/Apatow team on to make another comedy (“Bridesmaids” is still raking it in), this one reportedly starring Jon Hamm and Melissa McCarthy.

Melissa McCarthy?  While she may not yet be a household name, she’s fast getting there; she was the brash, foul-mouthed showstopper in “Bridesmaids,” who spent the whole film chewing up the scenery with a gusto that the rest of the cast couldn’t keep up with.

Hamm had a bit part in “Bridesmaids” as well (as the horrid boyfriend of star Kristen Wiig), but he is best known for his career-making role as Don Draper on the AMC series “Mad Men.”  If this project comes to fruition, it’ll be a joy to watch both of them flex their comedy muscles in the same frame.

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Bridesmaids (2011)

In Film Reviews on May 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

“Bridesmaids” plays like a Judd Apatow film, just about women.  That’s because it is, for all intents and purposes, a Judd Apatow film about women.  It doesn’t work terribly well, but it’s more watchable than you’d think—and you can thank its star, Kristen Wiig, for that.

Director Paul Feig, who has a slew of TV credits to his name (among them “Arrested Development” and “The Office”), brings together a very capable cast of female funnymen here and manages not to stifle them.  Chief among them are Wiig, her former SNL co-star Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy, whose overly butch character carries much of the film’s comedic relief.

Since this is an Apatow production in the end, the film retreads territory first—and more hilariously—explored by Apatow’s own films, like “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”  The grand themes are friendship, growing up, and learning to overcome adversity, however painful it may be.  Wiig’s character is trying to rebound from a failed business and bad relationship, but things just seem to go from bad to worse; soon she’s moved back in with her mom and ends up having a meltdown at her best friend’s bridal shower.

Where “Bridesmaids” lacks the Apatovian spark—undeniable as it seems to be—is in the women’s interactions.  What made Apatow a cultural lightning rod for those concerned with the existential state of American masculinity was his ability to portray male friendships in a way that felt explicitly honest, even as the dialogue teetered on the brink of absurdity.  The women in “Bridesmaids” simply don’t have any encounters or conversations that are revealing about themselves as characters, or their relationships as friends.  Sure, there are a few tearful crises here and there, all of which Wiig acts out to perfection, but there’s little substance to be found.  Even in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” there was a tiny nugget of profundity at the center of all its shenanigans; “Bridesmaids” ends up just feeling like empty calories.

And this is particularly a shame because Wiig, who also wrote and co-produced the film, really seemed to be onto something at first.  We could certainly use more films that are actually about women—real women, not Julia Roberts flitting around Bali or the crew from “Sex and the City” bemoaning their opulent lifestyles.  There are moments between Wiig and Rudolph that approach that Apatovian feeling of utter frankness about the contemporary American experience, but it seems that this model doesn’t translate well to those without the benefit of a Y chromosome.  Here’s hoping Wiig will try again, and this time not have to compromise with too many male cooks in the proverbial kitchen.

“Bridesmaids” is currently in wide release.