This weekend saw the release of Bridesmaids, the only funny movie ever made starring women. If this movie does well, we might see another two or three female-fronted comedies before we die!
Just kidding! Despite popular belief, Bridesmaids is not the first lady-fronted comedy of all time. In fact, there’s plenty you may not have even seen!
We’ve come up with 25 — and not just any 25. 25 lady-fronted comedies that aren’t primarily about a romantic relationship between two dirty dirty heterosexuals!
As with all Top Howevermanys, many of you will want to use excessive punctuation and all-caps to express your disagreement with our selections and your feelings about our sub-par intelligence levels and list-making abilities. If you do so, please use no less than 5 question marks, otherwise we can’t tell if you’re serious. We also appreciate any comment that begins with “What about [x]???!!!!??!!! It’s so much better than [y from the list]!!!!!!”
(Sidenote: early dispatches from the field suggest Bridesmaids is terrible and not feminist or revolutionary and hilarious. In other news, lesbians still can’t be brides in America let alone have bridesmaids.)
25 Bechdel-Approved Comedy Movies Starring Women
in which the primary topic of the film is not a romantic relationship with a man
(*s mean a woman directed, wrote and/or co-wrote the film)
25. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Desperately Seeking Susanstars Cherrie Jaffe, Shane’s ex-girlfriend, as a like suburban wife person who gets caught up with Madonna’s character Susan and I believe at one point acquires her jacket. The most important part of this film is Madonna’s outfits.
24. Happy Endings (2005)
Happy Endings is ostensibly “a witty look at love, family and the sheer unpredictablity of life itself.” You’ll come for Maggie Gyllenhall and Lisa Kudrow. Almost leave for Tom Arnold. Stay for the lesbian couple because Laura Dern plays gay so so good. I can’t remember if I loved this movie or not but I definitely liked it.
23. Sister Act (1992) & Sister Act 2 (1996)
Sister Act is about a Las Vegas singer played by Whoopi Goldberg who has to go undercover as a nun and she teaches them all to sing songs about G-d but to the tune of more popular songs. Then everyone comes to church. On the topic of Sister Act 2, my very close personal friend says – “Lauryn Hill raps on a rooftop at one point, which wasn’t in the script. And then everyone sings Joyful Joyful and they are exactly that.”
22. Serial Mom (1994)
JOHN WATERS JOHN WATERS JOHN WATERS. Serial Mom is super fucked up, so you should only see it if you’re also super fucked up. It’s about a Mom who’s actually a serial killer. Dark, right?
21. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
Listen, Janey JUST WANTS TO DANCE. A girl wanting to dance but not being allowed to dance is always an excellent topic for a feature film and killer soundtrack. Yes — before she was Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker was a lot of things and one of those things is Janey in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Co-stars Helen Hunt and Shannon Doherty.
20. Clockwatchers* (1997)
Temping turned out to be exactly every bit as terrible as it was in this film, but not nearly as funny.
19. The House of Yes (1997)
In which Parker Posey thinks she’s Jackie O, which really weirds Tori Spelling out.
18. 9 to 5 (1980)
“I have to go shopping. We’re running out of everything: cat food, fish food, ant spray, rat poison.”
In which the “tables are turned” upon their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss.
17. Ghost World (2001)
Based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, Ghost World is like you and your friend standing on the edge of the party talking like Daria. How do you stay an individual in this strange fucked-up desperate obscene world of ours? It’s hard. Being a girl.
16. The Opposite of Sex (1998)
You wanna get dark? This is fucking dark. Christina Ricci is such a magnificent bitch in The Opposite of Sex.
15. Bend it Like Beckham** (2002)
It’s difficult to watch Bend It Like Beckham knowing that the lesbian storyline was cut from it, but if you just store that in the back of your brain and concentrate on the cute girls in shin guards, you’ll laugh a lot. Also there’s a scene where Kiera Knightley rips her shirt off that apparently has transformative power for homosexuals.
14. Jackie’s Back (1999)
This is one of the movies where if you haven’t seen it, and it’s likely that you haven’t seen it, you actually need to remedy that situation as soon as possible. This mockumentary stars Jennifer Lewis and Tim Curry, he narrates and she is the diva upon which the show relies.
Other actors in this film include Whoopi Goldberg, Melissa Etheridge, Chris Rock, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, Bette Midler, Ricki Lake, Liza Manelli, Kathy Najimy, David Hyde Pierce, Jackie Collins, Charles Barkley, Penny Marshall and Grace Slick.
There’s also a ton of super-random unexpected cameos, like Sean Hayes and Loretta Devine.
Look at The Eth!
13. Pretty Persuasion (2005)
Evan Rachel Wood bisexual. Evan Rachel Wood stars in Pretty Persuasion as a bisexual teenager who gets into lots of trouble and is probably a psychopath. Her Dad is a totally offensive lunatic and everything he says is hilarious.
12. Election (1999)
Election is about a very ambitious young lady named Tracy Flick played by Reese Witherspoon. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Sarah Palin was smart and 17, it’s Tracy Flick. BUT FUNNY. Co-starring Ferris Bueller. I don’t know why this wasn’t more popular.
11. Saved! (2004)
Saved! is about a girl who gets impregnanted by her gay boyfriend which causes problems with her friends who are all devoted born-again Evangelical Christians. It’s like if the kids from the Christian Side Hug video had a movie all to themselves. Stellar performances from unlikely places include Macauly Culkin & Mandy Moore, stellar performances from likely places include Mary-Louise Parker and Jena Malone.
10. Big Business* (1988)
I remember being in The Comedy of Errors in middle school and thinking, “this is just like Big Business.”
9. Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion* (1997)
I saw Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion ’cause the movie we wanted to see sold out. Weird right. We tried to sneak into the other movie but we couldn’t so we had to go see the movie we’d bought tickets for, which was this one.. Now that feels like Columbus discovering America, or the Levi guy inventing jeans. Lisa Kudrow is like the unsung heroine of comedy, right? Also Mira Sorvino, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming and amazing fashions, catch-phrases and dance sequences.
8. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
Welcome to the Dollhouse changed my life though I can’t tell you exactly how. It’s complicated. It’s dark and honest and mean but it’s funny too. Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) brother’s on point, hilarious. But it’s like every line, every everything, is just perfect. When I showed this movie to my best friend and told him that it was my favorite movie (his were Fanny and Alexander and The Witches of Eastwick) he told me at the end: “Is this what your brain looks like? If this is your favorite movie, you must be really fucked up.”
7. Juno* (2006)
I feel like any well-designed hipster time capsule would surely include a copy of this movie.
6. Clueless** (1995)
Clueless is one of those movies where if somebody tried to analyze whether or not it was “good for women,” I would probably break Moff’s Law and tell them they shouldn’t think too much about it, they should just enjoy it. Alicia Silverstone, Stacy Dash, Brittany Murphy (RIP), Jeremy Sisto, Paul Rudd, Donald Fasion, BAM.
5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is about a pretty and smart girl who lives in a nice apartment by herself and is totally independent and will not be tethered and also is a little tricky. You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing, for real. There’s a love story but it’s not difficult to ignore.
4. Heathers (1989)
Heathers is about a very popular girl named Veronica and her friends named Heather. Then she meets Christian Slater’s character, and then they kill everybody. It’s very empowering.
3. But I’m a Cheerleader** (1999)
Definitely one of the best lesbian movies of all time and Clea Duvall’s never looked so good in pink. It’s ex-gay camp, but campy, and relatively perfect and fun.
2. A League of Their Own* (1992)
A League of Their Own is about a women’s baseball team called The Rockford Peaches starring Tank Girl, Madonna, Rosie, and Geena Davis. Their coach, played by the loveable Tom Hanks, is surly, but surrounded by so many lovely tomboys, he, like us, probably became a lesbian.
1. Mean Girls* (2005)
If there’s anyone left on the Planet of Girls who has not seen Mean Girls, you really should because otherwise you’re not gonna ever know what anyone is talking about. Like ever.