Maya Rudolph Stars in Bridesmaids

by Latoya Peterson

Bridesmaids has been touted as an answer comedy to a lot of the laddies gone wrong movies that have been dominating the box office. Produced by Judd Apatow, the guy who helped to usher in the nerd version of the laddies gone wrong cinema wave, the film stars Maya Rudolph as the bride to be, and Kristen Wiig as her reluctant maid of honor.

A new trailer was recently released – according to Nikki Finke, the team behind the comedy wasn’t happy with the first trailer, which they felt didn’t represent the film:

Here’s the second trailer:

I want to comment on the dearth of female fronted and female written comedies, but I’m blinded by the bride’s all white social circle.

(I suppose the Queens of Comedy, Frangela, Deborah Wilson, or Anjelah Johnson may not be a good match with the existing cast (despite having a mix of television and film credits), but nobody called Margaret Cho? Was Aisha Tyler too busy with Archer? I mean, if she can infiltrate Friends…)

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  • Pingback: I like the Carnie Wilson cameo, but Bridesmaids should have been nicer to fat ladies « Feminist Music Geek()

  • LadyStardust

    I don’t think it’s a stretch at all, and representative of many women of color; for example, one of my dearest friends is Mexican, yet all of her friends are white. This is how her bridal party would look. It’s a movie for white women.

    @Guest: I agree, (and she’s not even Maya’s friend, it’s her fiance’s sister). One thing I’m happy about is that they didn’t code her as a lesbian, which would be even more problematic.

  • Atc

    I found that weird as well as usually (and this is my experience) Biracial children with Black fathers and White mothers tend to live among more black people and have more black friends.
    I think it has to do with the patriarchal society we live in where women usually adjust to their husbands lifestyle and culture.
    That said, in the media we rarely get to see the white man-black woman pairing on TV and on the big screen for some reason and it’s funny because in the 90’s it was the opposite, you rarely saw black men paired up with white women.
    I’m thinking about all of those popular sitcoms like fresh prince of bel air where the character “Hilary” was even married to a white man, and Ashley the younger sister had a few white boyfriends.
    And I also remember the sitcom “Moesha” where Brandy had a white boyfriend as well as “saved by the belle” where the only black female character had white boyfriend’s.

    Today it’s almost a little “taboo” to show black women with non black men and especially white men.
    I feel like we’ve gone backwards in time which is very odd.
    I actually think people are more comfortable seeing black men paired with white women than white men paired with black women, the latter seems to rub people the wrong way or cause some type of fear and this is something i have noticed in general everyday life, not only in the media.

    • Ladyjanetime

      I agree — you make great points. I think, beyond Saved By The Bell (and the character of Lisa was actually supposed to be a Jewish girl, but they ended up going with a black actress), those are sitcoms about black families, and they probably wanted to get white viewers more excited by having white characters on it (as boyfriends). In the case of this movie, and a billion other movies/tv shows, the target audience, is white people, so they unfortunately probably just don’t care.

    • Anonymous

      Really, I think it is the exact opposite. It is rare to see black men paired with white women.

      When they are paired with a non-black women it is mostly an Asian or Latina(who might be white, but is still considered a minority). And when they do pair black men with white women there is rarely a sex scene or even kissing scene.

      Soap operas always pair black women with a white male. Lakeview terrace, “lincoln heights”, the defunct ABC show “big shots” , Something new, etc all have white male and black female couples. I can’t think of many black male and white female films that were big or mainstream.

      What shows or films are you seeing that pair black men with white women??

      Also there are 2X more black male-white female marraiges than black female-white male marriages. This is proabably why they made Mya rudolphs dad black rather than white. But then again, maybe race had nothing to do with it.

      • bluesky

        A couple of new ABC shows have Black men paired with White women (“Happy Endings” and “Mr. Sunshine”). There were interracial teenage couples on 90210 and NBC’s Parenthood. Don Cheadle is doing a Showtime series, and the actress they’ve cast as his wife is White.

        On Psych, Dule Hill’s character has had a couple of White love interests. Due to the nature of the show, they probably didn’t last much longer than an episode, though.

        It’s hard to parse the numbers (because Black people in film/TV are so rare, anyway). But, I feel like both types of Black/White pairings happen on screen (especially when the Black character is considered attractive/smart/rich). The latter part is my sticking point; it’s like they’ve been deemed “good enough” for a White person.

    • Lyonside

      @Atc: my personal experience is that I was raised by a white family, attending mostly-white schools, despite living in fairly diverse areas. I was generally rejected by black peers as a child for having a “white” diction and grammar, amd for knowing no slang. Of course, I was an only child and my mom was single. I think your assumption is based on a black fater being married to the mother and present in the home. Regardless, all things being equal (i.e. when phenotype does not immediately force a societal racial category, as I suspect happened to President Obama), sociologists usually see the mother’s (or that of the primary caretaker) cultural ethnicity dominate in the kids. Think an Italian/Irish family, or Christian/Jewish, so long as the cultural elements are strongly expressed by the parents.

    • 0022

      I just have to correct, Hillary was married to Brian Stokes Mitchell, a black man.

  • Guest

    Not only is the all-white social circle an issue but their portrayal of the bride’s token fat friend as a disgusting, butchy oaf (used here as frequent comic relief) is extremely problematic. But, really, should I have expected more from Judd Apatow?

  • Phillip

    I’m “really surprised” how POCs seem to be more like props than actual characters.

    Anyway, I know this is off topic but what is your take on Chris Lilley.

  • Val R.

    This film was not made for People of Color. And that pretty much sums up why Mya only has White close friends in the film. I’m actually surprised they even acknowledged Mya’s true ethnicity in the film. I suppose that’s a step in the right direction, right?

  • Angies112

    I know many biracial (in this case, Black/White) women (and men for that matter) who identify primarily with the White side of their families (which is a function of how they were raised and who raised them). I recently saw the wedding pictures of a former classmate and her groom and entire wedding party was White. So I don’t think it’s necessarily about tokenism or White washing or passing or whatever, it’s reality for a lot of people of color…especially those who are biracial raised in a particular way.

    • Shirley Grigsby

      Well the President is biracial and was raised primarily with his white side of the family, excluding the time he he spent in Indonesia. He was always around white people, that didn’t make him only seek white friends.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. There are many biracial people that only socialize with white people. And of course there are some biracial people that only have black friends. I don’t see anything weird or calculating by having only white bridesmaid in this film.

  • Anonymous

    Meh neither trailer makes me interested in seeing this movie. I’m not surprised that the brides social circle is all white. I guess this goes back to what was discussed in yesterday’s post about POC on the DL. We know Maya Rudolph is multiracial, but she might not be coded that way in the film. Plus it’s Judd Apatow…not exactly the bastion of diversity in cinema.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting because in “Away We Go” they did acknowledge that Rudolph’s character was biracial, though her husband was white; also Carmen Ejogo, a biracial British woman, played her sister.

      • MsGo

        See, that’s why I’m not counting chickens until I see it.

        If you go by Away We Go’s trailer, the same pre-assessment could have been made about that film too.

        I understand trying to code it as “white-enough” to be “mass appeal” in trailers.

        We’ll see what the final product actually is.

        There are some POC extras and unknown variants in the credits on IMDB.

    • Phillip

      You would think that Apatow would be more sensible to diversity working with a Jewish sister, guess not.

  • eme

    Also, if I were an actress, I wouldn’t want to be a token character, as I imagine I would be in a movie like this. I shudder to think what they would have made me do.

  • Emelyne Baucicaut

    Well, in all fairness, friendship circles tend to be monoracial. My wedding party would not have a single white face, or any other race for that matter. This movie is just another Hollywood homage to white femininity and privilege.

  • Michele

    I saw a sneak preview of this movie. The bride’s father is black and her mother is white. So they acknowledge that Maya Rudolph’s character is biraciail. There are some random black women in the background. None of them have any lines. I thought it was odd none of the bridesmaids were black given the racial makeup of the bride. The other maids weren’t really great friends of the bride. The movie was mildly amusing. I don’t recommend it. Wait for HBO or a basic cable showing.

    • Shanikens

      I guess it would have been nice to see a mixture though. Not a movie made for POC or for white audiences only but something for everyone. How about a couple Jewish bridesmaids a wasp & a couple Black bridesmaids. Then distribute characteristics of the individuals at will.