Bad girls make good: Do 'Bad Teacher' and 'Bridesmaids' signal a new comedy era?

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Image Credit: Gemma LaMana

Last weekend, Bad Teacher landed in a surprise second at the box office, raking in $31.6 million dollars — a solid 50 percent over projections for Cameron Diaz ne’er-do-teach comedy. Another unexpected hit came earlier this season in the form of Bridesmaids, which is well on track to surpass Knocked Up and become producer Judd Apatow’s highest grossing film yet. With these lady-led raunchfests blowing expectations out of the water, have we turned the corner on guys’ domination of the bad-behavior market? Audiences seems to think so. But one thing is for sure: Hollywood hasn’t gotten the memo. With only a few “girls gone wild” movies (for want of a better term) scheduled for release by year’s end, who (and what) will feed this growing appetite?

Hoping to run on some of the steam of Bridesmaids, Rachel Bilson and kooky sidekick du jour Krysten Ritter’s indie comedy L!fe Happens just hit theaters. Bilson plays the friend to Ritter’s preggo protagonist in a riff on the “We’re so wild, we got pregnant!” stylings of Knocked Up.

Also out in limited release since May 6 is a vehicle for soon-to-be small-screen star Kat Dennings (who will star in the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls). After keeping it decidedly mild in movies like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and The House Bunny, the emo princess is shaking up the school yard in Daydream Nation. The film — about a love triangle between Dennings, her teacher (Josh Lucas), and a stoner classmate — is gunning for wider distribution after playing at the Toronto International Film Festival last September.

One film that’s already garnering buzz on the festival circuit is Tabloid, from Oscar winning documentarian Errol Morris. Morris’s latest venture delves into the seeding dealings of Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming, who — despite a 168 IQ — fell down a rabbit hole of sexual addiction that led her to do jail time for abducting a Mormon missionary. Did I mention she also cloned her dog? It’s a mad, bad, mad, bad world.

Come August, Atonement‘s Juno Temple will be the resident Dirty Girl as she plays Danielle, a cradle rocker who runs away from Norman, Okla., to California¬†with her token gay in 1987. Milla Jovovich also stars in the movie, which may not make it completely bad-girl, but definitely adds to its bad-ass quotient.

Before that, even the cutesy set has something to tide them over as Selena Gomez solicits help from Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy (the queens schemers of Gossip Girl and Melrose Place, respectively) in July’s Monte Carlo. Piling on Gomez’s recent hospitalization and costar Cory Monteith’s admittedly drug-addled past, perhaps this one will have some legs after all. If only for the inevitably meta-prospects stylings of the whole enterprise.

For all those who are still left wanting more — which, we’re assuming, will be most of you — 2012 will see America’s Sweetheart herself Reese Witherspoon taking a walk on the wild side in Who Invited Her, plus Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are getting in on the Bridesmaids-zilla action as they produce Bachelorette with Kirsten Dunst and Party Down‘s Lizzy Caplan. There may be hope for the bad girls yet.

(Additional reporting by Sean O’Heir)

Read more:
Lethal Ladies: 26 Best Big-Screen Bad Girls

Comments (16 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    Rose Byrne was the unsung MVP of “Bridesmaids.”

    • Will

      the whole cast were the MVP’s. Such a talented bunch

      • graeme

        Obviously Wiig was incredible, but yeah, Byrne was pretty awesome too. She could have been a flat-out bitchy villain, but there was a likeability (and believability)to her. Byrne is really becoming one of my favourite actresses. She can do anything.

  • Mya

    I’m really curious as to why EW writes in such glowing terms about the raunch that’s becoming a trend in white female led roles and really in becoming a new standard in all of Hollywood ( Hangover 2 for example as a white male led raunch). How can glorify the garbage that was Hangover2 and all of their gay jokes but then go after Tracy Morgan and ridicule him for his raunchy comedy.
    No matter the race, it’s still raunch. Gay jokes done in poor taste are still gay jokes done in poor taste regardless of the venue. EW and its staff can be such hypocrites!

    • Waynob33

      @Mya—–I am a gay white male and I agree with everything you just said 150%..

      • Dave

        Gay or str8, doesn’t matter. Garbage is garbage.
        Agree with Mya 100% and wonder: What happened to comedies that, while edgy, weren’t raunchy?

  • J

    Saw Bridesmaids the day it came out w/a bunch of girlfriends – expected to love it and laugh – disliked it and barely cracked a smile – humor just wasn’t there, storyline was bad, characters were too old in their 30’s to be so pathetic about jobs, men, friends. Might have worked w/a younger cast – and funnier script. We are women in our 40’s, loved Superbad, Hangover, etc. – none of us liked it.

    • Nick Cannon

      You and your friends do not sound like a good time.

    • me too

      I completely agree with you, J. I had several friends tell me it was the funniest thing they’d seen in a long time. I think I laughed 3 times. My boyfriend agreed. He didn’t like it either. Saw Bad Teacher over the weekend. Same thing. Loved the first Hangover movie…2nd, not so much.

    • LOL

      J didn’t like how serious Bridesmaids was. Probably reminded her of her own failed life.

      • what!

        don’t be mean, just because she does share your opinion, be civil

    • Jenn

      I didn’t think that it was pathetic. Everyone doesn’t get their life completely together before they’re 30.

  • J

    Saw Bad Teacher – stupid but really funny – much better than Bridesmaids.

  • Skip182

    Don’t even try and compare Bridesmaids with Bad Teacher. BT was a TERRIBLE film. The reason it did better than expected is very clear: current competition. The only other new wide release film was Cars 2, which was a childrens movie that recieved poor reviews. If people wanted to go to the theater, they basically had 2 (new) choices, and this was the only adult film. Very lazy premise to this article.

  • Michael Hiscoe

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two movies like that. Bridesmaids was written by women, and starred women and it’s rare for a comedy like that to be made with such a strong female base. Bad Teacher just had a female lead, and is hardly the first of its kind.

  • Dave

    A while back, I thought I heard about a movie that Natalie Portman was working on that was supposed to be like a female version of Superbad. Anyone know if that’s still happening?

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