With the recent smashing success of Bridesmaids, much has been made about women in film. Supposedly, this one comedy proved once and for all that 1) People with uteruses can be funny 2) Female-fronted films need not be pandering 3) Men will actually pay to see movies with female leads, and 4) Carrots can be sexy. Now as much as I love Bridemaids and have steadily reveled in its worldwide success, I'm more realistic about its impact on the standing of women in Hollywood and as moviegoers. It's just too soon to declare women have won the war against pandering, sexist and misogynistic movies that are theoretically aimed to entertain us. (Even though the surprisingly big opening of The Help is cause for optimism.) Now, I won't bore you with the crushing statistics of the success rates of female filmmakers versus male filmmakers, or point out the dishearteningly wide discrepancy between the number of films with male leads versus female leads. Instead, I'd like to talk about the film genre most often targeted at women: romance. Because Bechdel test be damned, the romance genre is essentially synonymous with the dismissive "chick flick" moniker. Yes, if the trailer features string instrument swells over a kiss - be it rom-com or drama - it's intended audience is us lady folk.
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