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Funny time for women in films

Women are successfully taking big strides in comic films and TV shows in Hollywood.

hollywood Updated: Oct 05, 2012 00:31 IST
Sandy Cohen

Call it The Bridesmaids Effect: Ever since the 2011 comedy became a runaway hit, taking in more than $280 million worldwide and earning Oscar nods for actor Melissa McCarthy and writers Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo, a rash of female-written Western comedies are enticing viewers with provocative new characters who are more like women we know.

The latest is Pitch Perfect, written by 30 Rock and New Girl scribe Kay Cannon and starring a cast of comediennes including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp and Brittany Snow. Full of music and laughs, the story centers on the Bellas, an all-female group of singing misfits. “Bridesmaids, I think opened up a door to allow women to show a bunch of different women in different ways of being funny. It was kind of like an arrival moment,” Cannon said.

And they aren’t the only ones. Diablo Cody opened doors and eyes with 2007’s Juno, which introduced a female protagonist who was sharp, endearing and facing real-life circumstances. This summer saw actors Zoe Kazan and Rashida Jones pen interesting comic characters to play in their own starring vehicles: Ruby Sparks and Celeste and Jesse Forever, respectively. Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon wrote about female friendship and entrepreneurial efforts (as phone-sex operators) in For a Good Time, Call... Playwright Leslye Headland also made her mark with Bachelorette, another such outing. AP

Fair humour on tv
Women are also ruling TV with comedy. Elizabeth Meriwether created New Girl, which earned five Emmy nods. Lena Dunham is the multi-hyphenate talent behind HBOs Girls, which also earned a round of Emmy nods, including producing, writing, directing and acting honors for Dunham. Mindy Kaling of The Office wrote her way into a starring role on her new show, The Mindy Project. Whitney Cummings helped create 2 Broke Girls. Then there’s Chelsea Handler, who has written and produced Chelsea Lately since 2007. “Really what you see in the last 10 years is ... this groundswell of female writers and sometimes female directors being accepted by the comedy community,” said Headland. “And then you get to 2011, where Bridesmaids did something that’s actually never been done, which is a female-centric comedy that makes money.” Headland says the new breed of funny female writers arose out of frustration, and feminism.