There may not be a ton of them in the film industry, but the resounding theme of this year’s Sundance Film Festival is that women rule. Thanks to the massive success of Bridesmaids, female-driven, raunchy comedies continue to dominate and a whole slew of them debuted at this festival, with many women directing and writing them as well.
From the Carrie Preston-directed That’s What She Said to the phone-sex comedy For a Good Time, Call…, Leslye Headland’s (much hyped about) Bachelorette and the comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-written by and starring Rashida Jones), all will push the comedic envelope in 2012. And much of the credit for the influx can go to Bridesmaids’ critical acclaim and $169 million box office.
Bridesmaids has made it possible for many projects of the same vein to be greenlit and picked up at Sundance. Lauren Miller who stars, produces and co-wrote For a Good Time, Call…, says she and Katie Anne Naylon created their screenplay two years ago. But the concept of two money-strapped women opening a phone-sex line was not greeted with joy by producers. “Everyone said, ‘Sorry. Love your script, but R-rated female comedies do not work,’ ” Miller says. “We were so frustrated.” When she saw Bridesmaids though she knew things would be changing. We knew “it was going to change everything. People want girls to be dirty and funny. We are dirty and we talk about crazy stuff.” Media reports even joked that actor Seth Rogen, Lauren Miller’s husband, was really just at the festival as arm candy. He was her trophy husband as she worked the festival with her film.
As I have said many times, Bridesmaids was a game changer for women in the film industry. “For 10 years, people were really afraid that there wasn’t an audience for an R-rated female-centric comedy,” says Bachelorette writer/director Headland. “(Bridesmaids) proved that there was. I think it will get hundreds of movies made.” The fact that these kinds of films are getting the most attention at Sundance is because now studios aren’t afraid to pick them up. Not only did Bridesmaids make $288 million worldwide but it also earned two Oscar nominations. According to Hollywood Reporter writer David Friendly the Bridesmaids effect has resulted in all the major film studios asking “Where’s our Bridesmaids?!” Friendly says the attention the film is putting female comedy writers on everyone’s radar.