Since The Forty-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, I’ve hoped that someday Judd Apatow would make a comedy about young women that is as good as as the comedies he’s made about young men. I am profoundly uncertain that the movie Kristen Wiig wrote and will star in, to be directed by Paul Feig and produced by Apatow, is that movie.
The combination is, I’ll admit, intriguing. Wiig is very funny as a colleague of Katherine Heigel’s who constantly undermines her at work in Knocked Up, declaring “I don’t like liars” in a die-away drawl. And she’s similarly flat and unnervingly funny as a doctor trying to convince Ricky Gervais that it’s really no big deal that he died for a couple of minutes in the severely-underrated, truly grown-up romance Ghost Town. I’m less fond of what I think is her sometimes-manic, sometimes-intentionally dim work on Saturday Night Live. But I think she has a lot of potential. And I think Feig did a wonderful job with Lindsay Weird in Freaks and Geeks; he got teenaged girls, particularly ones who aren’t interested in or comfortable with the prospect of conformity, in a way I think few writers, male or female, manage to.
That said, the plot setup is sufficiently painful-sounding to put a dent in those considerable advantages: the movie is about two women competing to plan their friend’s wedding. Apatow tends to do good work when he’s trying to convey a surprising truth, I think: that sexual experience is not necessarily a road to wisdom, that vulnerability and generosity lie under a fratty exterior. I don’t know that such truths are accessible in another Marriage Makes the Ladies Crazy comedy. Perhaps they do, if the movie finds a way to make Wiig conclude that marriage isn’t interesting to her, without making her seem pathetic or delusional along the way. It’d be unprecedented.