It needs to be said, first and foremost, that there’s no question — or even a debate, really — that Judd Apatow has produced some of the biggest stars and the best comedies of the past decade. After all, the Apatow factory has turned out hilarious hit movies from the likes of reliable stars like Steve Carell and James Franco. There’s some serious gratitude to be paid towards the guy.
What’s more, as we noted recently, as of July 1, the runaway hit comedy Bridesmaids — which Apatow produced — has earned an unexpected, albeit deserved, $153 million at the box office since finding its way into theaters and moviegoers’ hearts/funny bones. And following its box office success, the film has been touted in most headlines as the highest-grossing Apatow movie. But while he most certainly had his hand — and touch (i.e., the gross-out humor) — in the project, I can’t help but wonder: Shouldn’t we spread the credit a smidgen? While it’s reasonable to call it Apatow’s biggest hit, why aren’t we shouting from the rooftops with joy that Bridesmaids‘ director Paul Feig, who has been at the helm of classic episodes of The Office, Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation (and most importantly gifted us the short-lived wonder that was Freaks and Geeks alongside Apatow) is finally getting his due on the big screen? For many, Feig is already an unsung hero, so why has so little of the accolades for the film’s draw (it beat the box office odds and overcame being wrongly heralded as a “chick flick” and the “female Hangover“) been directed towards him? Not only is it Feig’s biggest commercial success as well, but his work behind the camera truly helped navigate the movie to become the hit it is.
The same goes for star Kristen Wiig. The Saturday Night Live star had plenty going against her before the flick opened (besides small parts in Knocked Up and Whip It, she wasn’t yet a marquee name, not to mention some folks downright loathed from her work on SNL), but her layered script (kudos must be given to her co-writer Annie Mumolo, as well) and performance silenced even her biggest naysayers — and made her a movie star. While the film is most certainly an ensemble (scene stealers Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd have rightly earned their praise, too), shouldn’t we also be congratulating Wiig for penning a relatable and funny hit movie that appealed to both men and women? When it comes to the game-changing success of Bridesmaids, a movie that (hopefully) will once and for all silence the question about whether or not women can open movies, we should give credit where credit is due: To Feig and Wiig, too. (The fact that it rhymes is just an added bonus!)
Who do you attribute the success of Bridesmaids to, PopWatchers? Apatow, Feig, Wiig… or Jon Hamm’s naked torso?