Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bridesmaids, why women are funny, and who makes you laugh?

Not so very long ago, in 2007 it was, Christopher Hitchens wrote "Why Women Aren't Funny," a sourpuss essay that argued gals lack a funnybone, an assertion almost as preposterous Freud's hypothesis that women suffer from penis envy (which, as everyone knows, is a male malady). And then, last weekend "Bridesmaids" starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudoph, made $24 million and women are funny now?

Bridesmaids, why women are funny, and who makes you laugh?

Goldie Hawn as the title character in "Private Benjamin"
Goldie Hawn as the title character in "Private Benjamin"

Not so very long ago, in 2007 it was, Christopher Hitchens wrote "Why Women Aren't Funny," a sourpuss essay that argued gals lack a funnybone, an assertion almost as preposterous Freud's hypothesis that women suffer from penis envy (which, as everyone knows, is a male malady). And then, last weekend "Bridesmaids" starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, made $24 million. Women are officially funny now.

So when did they ever stop making us laugh?

I won't be defense attorney here. Or use the lame excuse of Bridesmaids' success to say that as of Friday May 13, 2011 women became funny again. Instead, I submit Exhibits A through J as proof of Why Women Are Funny:

Exhibit A: Mae West calculating Cary Grant's assets while explaining her hobby in She Done Him Wrong: "It was a tossup whether I went out for diamonds or sang in the choir. The choir lost."

B: Claudette Colbert to a snide woman in Midnight: "The hat's a dream on you. Does something for your face. Gives you a chin."

C: Barbara Stanwyck, vamping Henry Fonda aboard an oceanliner in The Lady Eve: "They say a moonlit deck is a woman's business office.

D: Judy Holliday, explaining the pitfalls of amateur theater in The Solid Gold Cadillac: "Don't play Shakespeare; it's so tiring. They don't let you sit unless you're a king."

E: Goldie Hawn, aglow after an assignation with Armand Assante in Private Benjamin: Now I know what I've been faking all these years!"

F: Diane Keaton, puzzled by husband Steve Martin's espousal of old-timey family values: "What is it? 1958?"

 G: Mia Farrow, in Crimes and Misdemeanors, swatting off the advances of Alan Alda, who tells her that if she's lucky she can have his body: "Wouldn't you rather leave it to science?"

H: Queen Latifah, fed up at the nagging of a bony woman in Bringing Down the House: "I'm gonna kick the bulimia out of your [butt]! 

I: Emma Stone, branded the bad girl in Easy A: "The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated."

J: Kristen Wiig, the passive/aggressive boss in Knocked Up, ordering Katherine Heigl to lose weight without using actionable language: " We would just like it if you go home and step on the scale, and write down how much you weigh, and subtract it by like, 20."

K: Frances McDormand, free-spirited mother of uptight Christian Bale in Laurel Canyon, perplexed by his inability to go with the flow: "Who plans on a change of plan?"

L: Tina Fey, supercompetent and flustered wife in Date Night, told by husband Steve Carell that they're being pursued by criminals who think they're in possession of an electronic accessory: "Don't judge me. But what's a flash drive?"

Submit exhibits, please.

Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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