Women can be funny too! Who knew?!
The Dinner: The Seattle Cure and a bottle of Sioux City sarsaparilla at Delicatus, 103 First Ave. S.
Women can be funny too! Who knew?!
The Movie: Bridesmaids, at Pacific Place, 600 Pine St. S.
The Screenplate: A few weeks ago, Adam Sternbergh of The New York Times floated the idea that we are currently living in the age of the jokeless comedy, "a mutant subgenre . . . of two genetically compatible fathers": Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Todd Phillips (Old School and The Hangover franchise).
Although many cinephiles vehemently disagreed with Sternbergh's thesis, his logic was solid: Comedies today are less about punch lines than about putting funny people in a room and yelling "Action!" For most of the past five years, and with few exceptions (The House Bunny?), those "people" have been men starring in bro-prefixed raunch-fests (bro-medy, bro-mance--you get the point). And as you've no doubt heard by now, Bridesmaids follows a similar formula, only this time with women. Making it a she-mance. Or bra-medy, if you will.
Here, however, is the difference between the produced-by-Apatow Bridesmaids and the successors his first films spawned: Bridesmaids is funnier.
Maybe it's because at this point we already know what to expect anytime Will Ferrell, Seth Rogan, or (God forbid) Vince Vaughn stumbles onscreen. Oh, really? You're afraid of commitment and just want to make dick jokes with your friends? How original! Here's $11.50.
Bridesmaids stomps around in a lot of the same shallow water. (Except here, instead of cocks and balls, there are bleached assholes.) The difference is that while we've grown used to, and possibly tired of, watching Jonah Hill and the like embarrass themselves for our amusement, we haven't yet been overexposed to Kristin Wiig. (At least not on the big screen. And at least not too often, since MaGruber barely qualifies as a film.)
In Bridesmaids, Wiig plays the hapless best friend of soon-to-be-married Maya Rudolph. A baker whose business went belly up during the recession, Wiig's character can't seem to do anything right, whether it's allowing herself to be used-and-abused by a Porsche-driving narcissist (Jon Hamm, having a lot of fun playing the douche) or selecting an unsanitary Brazilian steakhouse for lunch, and thus allowing Rudolph the honor of becoming the first woman in film history to take a shit in a busy street while wearing a wedding dress.
Most important to the success of the movie, besides its ability to hilariously debase its stars, is Bridesmaids' unwillingness to ask any of its actresses (including scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy, aka the fat one) to do anything that might not happen in real life. Wiig and Rudolph's relationship is complex and occasionally frays, just like the relationships of all 30-something best friends who've known each other since they were kids. And even though McCarthy's weight is played for laughs (as it should be, since she's able to manipulate it like a female Chris Farley), she's still allowed enough screentime to tease out the reality that being a big girl in high school sucked, which is why she's bulletproof as an adult.
Delicatus is, like Bridesmaids, something of a runner-up. Although there's usually a sizable line at lunch time at this polished deli in Pioneer Square, it's nowhere near as long as those at nearby Salumi.
Nevertheless, nearly everything at Delicatus is delicious, including the oyster chowder and Seattle Cure (cured albacore tuna bresaola, salmon lox, shaved red onions, sweet peppers on a toasted panino roll with lemon-caper aioli). It's like a comedy where all the punch lines land, assuming they even make those anymore.