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Comparing Bridesmaids to The Hangover Isn't Sexist, Just Inaccurate and Lazy

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With the solid $26.2 million opening weekend of Bridesmaids  officially cementing the film as a genuine hit, let us take a moment to examine one of the more consistent bits of absurdity that has surrounded the film's release: that the film was some kind of female version of The Hangover.

Of course, any one who has seen the film knows that to be a load of crap.  The Hangover is about plot, while Bridesmaids is about character.  One is a genuinely funny mystery film whose greatest asset is its tightly plotted narrative that plays out like a comic version of Memento.  One is a genuinely funny character piece whose greatest strength is its insights into its characters and the willingness to be uncomfortably honest with its emotions.  Other than the fact that they are both technically comedies, they have absolutely nothing in common whatsoever.  And while some may chalk up the comparisons as a form of sexism, that you have to find something male-oriented to compare it too in order to have it be relatable,  it really is just another example of the lazy tendency to compare any film to some other popular film even when they have nothing in common other than perhaps sharing the same genre.

If you recall, there were any number of reviews/articles that compared The Adjustment Bureau to Inception.  Why is that?  Inception was a science-fiction story concerning a team of corporate saboteurs who enters peoples' dreams and steals their secrets.  The Adjustment Bureau was a science-fiction story about man who discovers that there really is some kind of external force that controls our destinies, a force that is preventing him from being with the woman he loves.  Exactly the same movie, right?  Yet this picture was accused of ripping off and/or trying to cash in on the success of Inception, never minding that The Adjustment Bureau was supposed to be released BEFORE Inception but was delayed due to Matt Damon's other projects. And obviously The Mummy Returns was ripping off Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with its girl-on-girl sword fighting right?  Well, you'd think so if you read any number of reviews back in May of 2001.  Yet no one bothered to point out that The Mummy Returns debuted its trailer, which included that scene, in November of 2000, or at least a month before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became a mainstream phenomenon.  And John Woo was obviously trying to cash in on The Matrix with Mission: Impossible 2 and its scenes of sharply-dressed dudes in shades engaging in balletic gun battles.  Again, too few bothered to notice or point out that John Woo basically invented that cliche, a fact freely acknowledged by the Warshowski brothers during interviews regarding their smash science-fiction action film.

What it is an inexplicable need to tear down or simplify any work of art by comparing it to some other popular picture with a token amount of relation.  Inception and The Adjustment Bureau are both science fiction films, so obviously they are EXACTLY the same and the latter is just a ripoff.  And Bridesmaids has an ensemble cast of women engaging in bawdy comedic situations, so of course it's EXACTLY like The Hangover (never mind that Bridesmaids was in apparently development first).  Point being, there is no need to constantly compare one movie to another just to make yourself sound superior.  It doesn't make you sound anything other than arrogantly uninformed.  Bridesmaids isn't The Hangover for women.  It's just Bridesmaids.

Scott Mendelson