I saw both Thor and Bridesmaids recently, and surprise! Both pass the Bechdel Test!
In fact, it is not as simple as chick-flick VS dude-flick. Thor, while it does fulfil the action and fighting part, also manages to be quite a nice family drama. Anthony Hopkins is a great actor who shows up in terrible movies (Hannibal, anyone?), and he makes a very serviceable Odin. But what an appealing God of Thunder they found in Chris Hemsworth! He is certainly beefy enough (and is frequently shirtless to prove it), but he’s also charismatic enough to pull of the godlike thing. It’s pretty easy to dismiss a guy with big muscles as no more than eye candy, but his character is given enough depth (comedic to epic) that he kind of grows on you.
The same, unfortunately, can’t be said of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who we are told is a brilliant scientist but never really demonstrates how that might be. It’s too bad that she’s reduced to just a pretty girl. It’s hinted that there’s something special about her that Thor is attracted to, possibly her intelligence or something. But mostly she aw-shucks herself under his gaze and never really proves herself. Kat Dennings, as her lab assistant, has more moxie. (and yes, it’s these two female characters who chat nicely about science to fulfill the Bechdel requirements!)
Yeah, though: the 3D is as blurry as ever, and the ice giants are fakey. It’s silly, predictable, but still Ok enough to sit through.
Bridesmaids, on the other hand, was much better than I expected.
I try not to read too many reviews before I see something for fun (when I review, I do lots of research). From what I could tell, it was a ensemble comedy with lots of women, but it was a gross-out formula in the Judd Apatow vein. And sure, there’s a food poisoning scene that’s pretty gross. But that’s just ONE incident. It’s no Hangover.
What it does have: female characters, over 30, who aren’t all moms. Women who are as concerned about their friendships with each other, their work, and the meaning of life as they are with their spouses and children. And it’s FUNNY.
There’s lots to relate to. Kristen Wiig is Annie, a slightly washed-up 30-something who is floundering after losing her business and her boyfriend. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, who was so great in Away We Go) gets engaged, and it lets loose all kinds of issues. Helen (Rose Byrne) is a rich, put-together uber-bridesmaid who is perfection to Annie’s disheleved chaos. There’s a rivalry, plus a sense of mourning that Lillian is not the same kid she grew up with. Friendships do change, and there’s no simple way to evolve out of them sometimes.
Add to that a cute love interest (Chris O’Dowd), some puppies, and Wilson Phillips, and of course, a wedding. There will be tears.