Bridesmaids' Baking Problem

So like tons of other like-minded ladies, I saw Bridesmaids on Friday night with the hopes that it would be as amazing and hilarious as I imagined it would be (oh and it was -- and then some), and that it would do really well and pave the way for more smart, female-driven comedies at the box office. If the rave reviews and opening weekend numbers are any indication (it came in second to Thor, earning a very impressive $26 million) then we can expect to see more of them, and at the very least a Bridesmaids sequel -- in which they actually make it to Vegas, goddammit!

While it was truly a treat to see a mainstream comedy about women that wasn't overly sappy and sentimental, in which you could feel the heat from all that grrrl power emanating out from Melissa McCarthy's "under-carriage," I did have one bone to pick with the film; so excuse me while I step onto my soapbox for a minute. Let me start by saying that I have nothing against female pastry chefs. Some of my best friends are female pastry chefs. (OK, that's a lie). But honestly, while I respect most anyone who is proud of and good at what he or she does, I thought it was super-annoying that Kristen Wiig's character Annie was a former bakery owner, and that she found solace throughout the film doing what she does best: making baked goods. 

In the current rom-com landscape, making your leading lady a pastry chef is about as tired a trope as having your leading man run through an airport to stop the woman he realizes he's actually in love with from getting on that plane back to New York. Recent movies like Life As We Know It, It's Complicated, Stranger Than Fiction, Because I Said So and Mother and Child all feature women (and sort of curiously, in the latter two cases, mother and daughter teams) who work in bakeries. What's frustrating -- other than the fact that I'm tired of watching these women woo the men in their lives with homemade chocolate croissants while blowing away that errant wisp of flour-dusted hair that escaped from their messy-bun -- is that someone, somewhere (probably a man, and in an office in Hollywood) either consciously or subconsciously decided that having a woman own a bakery both illustrates her independence and entrepreneurial prowess, but at the same time allows her to be totally non-threatening. She's in a kitchen wearing an apron and making cookies for a living! But on her own terms! Men feel safe; women feel empowered. I felt icky.

Wiig loves playing awkward, flailing characters, and Annie is no exception. But Wiig actually seemed a bit real-life uncomfortable during the film's pivotal baking scene. I'm sorry, but she just didn't look at home with a mixing spoon! For a movie that basked in its rejection of rom-com clichés, I was sad to see this one so front and center.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go try on a series of outfits for my quirky best friend and an icy gay salesman in preparation for a picnic date with my politician boyfriend, who's kind of a douche, even though my downstairs hardware store salesman is clearly in love with me. Of course, I'll probably run into my ex-boyfriend with his hot new girlfriend after roller-skating into a hazardous construction site, not realizing that earlier in the evening I sat on a pile of dog shit while wearing white jeans -- but that's life.

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