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Is Poop Funny? Is Christopher Hitchens Wrong? And Other Key Questions Posed by the Reviews of Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids opens today – had you heard? – and the reviews are in: It’s funny! And raunchy! And it might be saving the world, and feminism, and Judd Apatow, and Melissa McCarthy is great in it. Says everyone. We break down all the reviews and identified the key talking points.

Here they are:

1. So Christopher Hitchens’s infamously said “Women aren’t funny“…
Salon: “Was it simply because, as Christopher Hitchens once suggested, women just aren’t funny? Or was it something else: Hollywood’s fear that audiences don’t want to see women behaving like buffoons when they could watch Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl pining for some lovable rogue?”

New York Times: “Contra Christopher Hitchens and his 2007 assertion in Vanity Fair that women are not funny, they offer irrefutable proof that along with producing and starring in a hit TV series (thank you, Tina Fey), women can go aggressive laugh to aggressive-and-absurd laugh with men.”

Slate: “At long last, we have a smart comedy with dumb jokes—a giddy feminist manifesto that responds to the perennially circulated head-scratcher “Can women really be funny?” with a whoopee-cushion fart.”

The Village Voice: “It’s important to make a distinction between creative merit and commercial: Bridesmaids won’t settle the inane Christopher Hitchens-stoked “Are women funny?” debate once and for all, but its box-office performance could have a major impact on the sort of lady-oriented films that get made going forward.”

But pooping: Is pooping funny?
Rolling Stone: “Guys and gross make a better fit. Who needs to see bridesmaids puking up lunch and shitting their pants?”

New York Post: “[Judd Apatow] seems to believe that women among themselves behave every bit as grossly as men. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I’d sure like to think this is not really true.”

Village Voice: “Comedy of humiliation is one thing; a fat lady shitting in a sink is another.”

San Fransisco Chronicle: “But the unholy vision of a bride-to-be squatting on a street curb while food poisoning expresses itself beneath the folds of a puffy white Parisian dress - why, that’s a new one.”

Entertaiment Weekly: “And just when you’re sure that the movie won’t go there, we get a lavish explosion of gross-out humor.”

Are women gross? Like the way men are gross? Does that make them EQUAL?
Roger Ebert: “It definitively proves that women are the equal of men in vulgarity, sexual frankness, lust, vulnerability, overdrinking and insecurity. And it moves into areas not available to men, for example the scene when they’re all trying on dresses at a bridal shop and the lunch they’ve just shared suddenly reappears, if you get my drift…. [T]here are many things audiences will accept from women in a comedy, ending miserably is not one of them. That may be sexist, but there you are.”

Salon: “It’s a movie that succeeds, often beautifully, not by forcing its characters to be as naughty and gross and pathetic as men are. It soars by letting them be as naughty and gross and pathetic as women are. Three cheers for equality.”

St. Petersburg Times: “Usually it’s the dudes suffering from explosive bowel movements, getting drunk and disorderly, and spitting out the one word you’d better not call any woman. Not exactly a banner for feminism, but equal time is overdue.”

Village Voice: “Bridesmaids’; need to be all things to all quadrants places an unfair burden on a film that, when not bending over backward to prove that girls can play on the same conventional comic field as boys, successfully dismantles both romantic and bromantic comedy formulas”

Christian Science Monitor: “They are also fully capable of acting as idiotic as the men, which represents a kind of equality.”

Movieline: “Plenty of bits made me laugh, but much of it didn’t sit right afterward, not least the wallflowery self-pity — masquerading as “We can be as gross as the guys are!” empowerment — of the basic premise.”

Daily News: “But just as Apatow redefined leading men in a more realistic manner, Wiig may well change the way Hollywood looks at ladies.”

Salon: “Meet Bridesmaids, your first black president of female-driven comedies.”

Slate: “Don’t see Bridesmaids because it’s your social responsibility (though helping this movie win the weekend’s box office wouldn’t hurt if you want to see more women behaving badly in the theater). See it because it’s fucking hilarious.”

Is Poop Funny? Is Christopher Hitchens Wrong? And Other Key Questions Posed by the Reviews of Bridesmaids