Monday night, the comedy "Bachelorette" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher as three women who are invited to the wedding of a girl they bullied in high school (Rebel Wilson), the film is a largely unapologetic look at a sex-filled pre-wedding weekend. It's also one of a number of new films in a growing wave of flicks that feature women catching up to men in the raunch and realism departments.
"I was so pleased to read a script with multiple parts that I would want to play, as opposed to a script that almost goes as far as this one does," Caplan told The Hollywood Reporter about her first reaction to the script. "You just don't ever read stuff like this for girls, it's always boys that get to be these characters."
The film has drawn comparisons to "Bridesmaids," the smash hit Kristen Wiig vehicle that also featured a talented female ensemble on a haphazard and often cringe-inducing pre-ceremony odyssey. It was a symbolic bit of happenstance that the "Bachelorette" premiere came on the eve of the announcement of the Academy Award nominations, which saw "Bridesmaids" earn nods for Best Original Screenplay for Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo, and Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy.
"People are just waking up to stuff that I think we knew all along, so thank god for that," Caplan said, referring to the ability to produce -- and market -- quality female comedies that feature more debauchery than romance.
In fact, "Bachelorette" and "Bridesmaids" aren't the only films to be leading that charge. Also premiering at Sundance was "For A Good Time Call...," the Seth Rogen-produced film about two young women who start a phone sex line. Starring Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller -- also the co-writer, co-producer and Seth Rogen's wife -- it's another filthy yet heartfelt look at women coming of age in a more risque-than-usual way.
Less heartfelt but just as debauched were two films starring major A-list actresses last year. Both Charlize Theron and Cameron Diaz featured as troubled, alcoholic and emotionally cold thirty-somethings -- who, ironically, hold great influence over young people -- in "Young Adult" and "Bad Teacher," eschewing love notes for bar tabs.
That being said, it's not as if the movies just ape raunchy male comedies; as Caplan told Vulture, there is a bit of a different mentality when it comes writing realistic humor for women.
"With female humor, I think there's something very lovely and hilarious about exploring the particular neuroses of the female mind. It's just not the same thing with men," she said. "I mean, there are exceptions, but for the most part, women beat themselves up in their heads more. They overanalyze stuff far more than men do. I find that so hilarious. Especially when you're comparing guys and girls and the fact that we're trying to mate for life while we're actually thinking about the world and our behavior in completely different ways."
Either way, the film's success at the festival, along with the nominations for "Bridesmaids," Theron's Golden Globe nomination for "Young Adult" and the box office success of "Bad Teacher" points the way to continued opportunities for female comedies on the big screen. Or as Judd Apatow said on stage at the Peoples' Choice Awards earlier this month, "Jerry Lewis once said that he didn't think women were funny, so I'd just like to say, with all respect, 'F*ck you!'"
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