Monday, May 30, 2011

Feature: 'Girl power on screen' for The Courier-Mail

30 May 2011

Big-screen comedy Bridesmaids has been praised for avoiding stereotypes, writes Anna Angel
WOMEN in comedy, with the exception of all-rounder Tina Fey, seem to be always the bridesmaid, never the belly-laugh inducing brides.
Finally, a raunchy wedding comedy from producer Judd Apatow is proving there's more than one smart, funny woman on the big screen.
Bridesmaids has all the trappings and toilet humour of Apatow films such as Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin but is written and led by women.
Co-writer Kristen Wiig, of Saturday Night Live fame, stars as Annie, an out-of-luck maid of honour navigating her best friend's wedding with a crew of kooky bridesmaids, including Australia's Rose Byrne.
Critics have praised the film for its genuine depiction of female friendships in a genre content to simply pit a loveable sap against a maniacal bridezilla and call it a day.
The ``chick-flick for dudes'' smashed box-office expectations during its opening weekend in the US, suggesting audiences are ready to toss the pallid bouquet of bridal rom-coms usually on offer.
Opening on June 16 across Australia, Bridesmaids just might dethrone the royals for wedding of the year.

Ten of the best female-driven films
1 Female roles in horror films are usually a means to an end - an inanely curious, overtly sexual end. Enter The Descent, a 2005 gore-fest about a group of women on a cave expedition gone wrong. Before you ask, no, they're not lesbian vampires.
2 Films for women, about women, featuring women don't get much more literal than 1939's The Women. This divorcee romp enjoyed a second go-around in 2008.
3 If you're going to break the law you'll need a partner in crime to share in the profits and the regular jail yard beatings. Cinema loves a deadly duo, but none are greater than 1991's murdering road trippers Thelma and Louise.
4 Before Lindsay Lohan braved the Mean Girls, and well before she derailed her career, there was Heathers. Winona Ryder realises in this 1988 comedy that it's not easy being Shannen Doherty's friend. Amen to that.
5 A female character driven by creative pursuits rather than a biological duty to reproduce is usually dressed as a metaphorical devil underneath a Prada stole. Culinary comedy Julie and Julia gives us two passionate leading ladies served up without the gender stereotypes.
6 The bonds of best-friends-forevership can overcome distance, time and even the logical inconsistencies of one pair of jeans fitting a group of teenagers with body shapes as different as their personalities, or so says The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
7 Get thee to a nunnery, Whoopi Goldberg. Your first Sister Act will be to liberate those Godly ladies with your musical stylings and sexual freedom. Your second will be a commendable and commercially successful effort, but will lack the pizazz of the original.
8 The CGI adventures of a group of overtly fetishistic vixens attempting to escape from a mental institution in the 1960s has drawn strong feminist criticism. Sure, in Sucker Punch the ladies' main weapons are their doe-eyes and woman-bits, but they're still strong female role models or, err, something.
9 The 1989 film version of Steel Magnolias, centring on a beauty parlour and the ladies who love it, boasts Dolly Parton in all her permed glory. The stage play, written a few years before, couldn't stand up to that.
10 Not to be confused with the damaging gender roles of the Little Miss and Mr Men series, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is much more wholesome. The 1994 film introduced a new audience to the March sisters and a fresh-faced Kirsten Dunst.

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