10 Funniest Women of The Past Decade

Vanity fair pic

After reading IMDB’s list of the “Top 10 Funniest Actresses of the Past 10 Years,” I thought it was a joke.  The list definitely includes some women who belong on it, women like Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Anna Faris.  HOWEVER, Sandra Bullock?  Sure, she was cute in Miss Congeniality and The Proposal was all right but I certainly can think of several actresses who are funnier.  And Emma Stone in the no. 3 spot?  Emma Stone, funny?  She’s adorable and charming and beautiful and a truly talented actress, but she isn’t a comedienne.  And guess who got selected as the 2ND FUNNIEST WOMAN: Meryl Streep!  Yeah, you read that right.  Look, I love Meryl Streep.  LOVE her.  She’s amazing and exceptional in countless ways but she hasn’t exactly made a career out of comedic roles.

I wouldn’t care about Bullock, Streep and Stone making this list if there weren’t several comedic actresses who really do belong on it.  But there are.  So, I made my own list of women who should have been on that list and weren’t:

Mindy Kaling, The Office, The Mindy Project

Angela Kinsey, The Office

Maya Rudolph, SNL, Bridesmaids, Friends With Kids

Jenna Fischer, The Office, Blades of Glory

Sarah Chalke, Scrubs

Wendi McLendon-Covey, Reno 911!, Bridesmaids

Betty White, countless comedic roles over the past 60 years

I rest my case.

~N.

I’m Gonna Need You Down This Yellow Brick Road

Unlike some, who apparently took great offense to the unconventional romantic comedy, Friends With Kids, I quite enjoyed it.  Aside from the final four or five lines, I thought it was an original and honest look at the state of affairs regarding American marriages and families today.

The thing is, raising a child (let alone, children) is hard.  Physically, emotionally, financially, and mentally draining.  Under the best of circumstances, it is seriously challenging.  Parents with small children are sleep-deprived, stressed out, anxious, nervous, broke, hungry and exhausted.  And all with good reason.  Yet, if you ask a single one of them how they feel about the experience of being a parent, they will look you straight in the eyes and say it is the best thing they’ve ever done.  And they mean it.  In all honestly, I understand why.  It’s almost universally true in life that the harder something is, the more rewarding it feels to succeed at it.  And parenthood is full of successes, big and small.  Daily successes like the impromptu hug from your toddler, the macaroni necklace made by their tiny hands, the B in math for which they worked tirelessly.  And much bigger ones like your child’s acceptance into college, his/her hard-earned promotion at work, or the blissful satisfaction of seeing him/her function independently in life, a healthy, happy adult.

But let’s not kid ourselves about some of the uglier realities of parenthood.  It’s a 20 year-long endeavor during which you must, at every turn, put your own needs and desires second (or third or fourth) to your child’s.  All of your time and money and energy is consumed by them and what they need and want and what you want for them.  It is, in fact, hard.  And there are as many approaches to it as there are parents in the world.  Which is why it’s so easy, after becoming parents, for two people to drift apart.  To grow resentful, angry, bitter towards one another.  To feel unappreciated, unloved, undervalued and overwhelmed.  To take out all those emotions on the only other adult in the room.  To realize, suddenly, that this person you married is not, in fact, the best friend you’ll ever have, but someone who doesn’t care enough about your happiness to pick up his own dirty socks.  Or take the kids to the park on Sunday morning so you could sleep in.  Or forgo an hour of sleep Sunday morning to sneak in a little nookie before the kids wake up.  You stop helping each other, appreciating each other, hell, you stop seeing each other at all as anything other than one more person relying on you to take care of them.  And before you know it, you can’t stand each other.

Does this happen to every couple?  Of course not.  Does it (or some variation of it) happen a lot?  Yes.  We all know at least one couple with a similar story.  And with the divorce rate hovering somewhere around 50% (that’s 1 out of 2 marriages, people), I’m betting we all know more than one couple who can relate to what I’ve just described.

Friends With Kids is the story of two people who recognize this pattern and come up with an alternative approach to parenting in an effort to beat the system.  Two best friends who’d prefer to skip the failed marriage and jump straight into joint custody, thereby eliminating the most painful and unpleasant steps in the process.  Written and directed by the female lead, Jennifer Westfeldt, FWK takes a close look at all of the realities of not just parenting, but what it can do to marriages, friendships and every other relationship in a person’s life.  Westfeldt plays Julie, a thirty-something singleton in Manhattan who wants a baby but has not yet met “her person,” someone with whom she’d like to spend the rest of her life.  Her very best friend, Jason (Adam Scott), would also like to be a parent but seems incapable of a relationship that lasts longer than a week or two.  After seeing their best friends’ marriages struggle (and in one case, fall apart completely) after having children, they decide they’re better off having a baby together and skipping the whole marriage-and-divorce thing.  Win-win.

The problem doesn’t arrive until several months after their baby is born, when Julie falls in love with her baby daddy.  And why wouldn’t she?  He actually is her best friend- he’s kind, supportive, honest, helpful, willing and able to share half (literally, fully, half) of the parenting responsibilities and so obviously has deep, sincere respect and appreciation for her not just as the mother of his child, but as a human being.  All of which is showcased in the most touching, heartfelt and beautiful speech given by Jason in Julie’s defense when a friend calls them irresponsible for their choice to procreate together.  The hitch: he’s just not attracted to her.

The friends of these two are played by none other than Maya Rudolph & Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Wiig & Jon Hamm (Westfeldt’s real life, long-time boyfriend).  Both sets of couples begin the film married and childfree but soon have a baby or two and their marriages are never the same again.  Which is pretty much how it is in real life, for better or worse.  My initial reaction to that first scene showing the effects of child-rearing on them was that it must have been a gross exaggeration.  Then I started thinking about some of my friends and family members and their marriages and how they changed after the little ones came along.  And in all honesty, I don’t think it was all that exaggerated.  A bit, for humor’s sake, but not much.  In fact, it was the super supportive, understanding, completely equal interactions between Jason and Julie that sometimes felt unrealistic.

I enjoyed all but the last two or three minutes of the movie, all but that final scene when Adam Scott gives the worst “I love you” speech ever written.  Which felt extra disappointing because of the beautifully moving speech he’d already given about Julie.  Otherwise, it’s an enjoyable and interesting flick with a great cast and several laughs.  And the message I took away from it was neither anti-children nor anti-marriage (nor pro-either of those) but that if you want either (or both) of them, be prepared to work your ass off.  With someone you genuinely like.

~Nikki

Oh, But Am I Ever Gonna See My Wedding Day

Bridesmaids is, without a doubt, one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen (I’ma go ahead and GUSH).  I gave it a full 5 stars on Netflix, which, according to my reviewing history, only happens 9.8% of the time.  I don’t hand this shit out willy-nilly.  Truly, for almost the entire film, I was laughing, HARD.  Like, hanging out of my chair with my head in my hands, hard.

The story centers around Annie (Kristen Wiig), who is unlucky, self-sabotaging, sweet, broke, pathetic, adorable, a loser, someone I would never want to know and someone I would want to be best friends with, all at the same time.  She lives with some DISTURBING Brits, has a shit job, shit car, shit life, but an awesome childhood best friend, Lillian, who is about to marry the wealthy Dougie, and enter into a life of country clubs and custom-made wedding dresses from Paris.  Once the wedding party, which consists of four random, totally awesome actresses, meets up, the lunacy commences.

Even though Annie is happy for Lillian, the massive upheaval in lifestyle and pressure of being a maid of honor and all the duties that come along with it prove to be too much for her to handle.  Each event, whether it’s dress shopping, the shower, or bachelorette party, is set ablaze and burned down to the ground by Annie.  She means well, but is unable to deliver.  So, you sympathize and relate, and cringe until you’re ready to heave.

The side characters are raucous, genius, and so marvelous…my only complaint with the entire film is that you don’t get to spend more time with a few of them.  Jon Hamm has NEVER been so skeezy…I couldn’t imagine wanting to kick him out of bed until he whines,  “Oh, I really really want you to go home, but don’t know how to say it without sounding like a dick.”  Rose Byrne is pitch-perfect as a flawless, rich, gorgeous, attention-hog.  You love to hate her.  The rest of the bridesmaids are all amazing – Erin from The Office as a newlywed square, Clementine from Reno 911! as a horny housewife, and Sookie from Gilmore Girls as a butch oddball freak who had some of the grossest, weirdest scenes ever, and ROCKED them.

There’s also a little side kinda-love story for Annie, that succeeded in giving me that special “aw shucks” feeling.  She meets a charming, slightly disheveled Irish cop who obviously digs her and it’s terribly painful to watch as she rebuffs him, due to her inability to not destroy everything in her life.

Wiig co-wrote the screenplay with Annie Mumolo (who played the other terrified-of-flying passenger in the RIDONKULOUS plane scene), in something like a weekend.  Seriously, I’m not worthy – these chicks are my idols.  They have made it okay to say fuck, cunt, shit, and also to stage an INSANE bathroom/food poisoning scene…harkening back to the days of Dumb and Dumber, which was child’s play compared to what befalls these ladies.

I hate to say it, but I’ve never seen a film like this, where women were portrayed as absolutely hilarious as they can be, and it felt more realistic than trash like The Sweetest Thing.  This was funnier than The Hangover (yep); from the first scene (I won’t spoil) I knew I was in for something different.  There was an interview in Entertainment Weekly recently and Maya Rudolph said something to the effect of, I wish movies like this were normal, and nobody would make a big deal out of a movie actually being funny with women in it.  Hear HEAR, mother f***er.

And OMG WILSON PHILLIPS IS IN IT.  Hold on for one more day, baby!

~Annie (loving my name right now)