Originally uploaded by mo pie
Character: Hillary, played by Emily Nelson
Credits: It looks like she’s only been acting a few years, although she looks really familiar to me. Maybe I saw her on ER?
Plot points: She plays one of the bridesmaids in lead character Hannah’s wedding, along with Bitter Cousin Bridesmaid and Extraneous Third Bridesmaid. She announces at brunch that she wants a “size 8″ bridesmaids dress. The other bridesmaids choke on their food and ask if she wouldn’t be more comfortable in a 12. She says no, because she’s on a diet, which consists of no food, but a strange concoction of season salt and apple cider or something. Throughout the movie, she’s seen drinking this concoction. Patrick Dempsey’s character, Tom, mentions a couple of times that he thinks she should eat some actual food, and she nearly passes out a few times. Tom says something like “oh, the things you women do to fit into a dress.” (As the “good guy,” he never makes fun of her or singles her out for being fat.) On the day of the wedding she looks the same size (which is much bigger than 8, or even 12, I would think) but zips into the dress, which later rips up the side.
Stereotypes: She’s shown dieting and desperate for a man; her clothes are too small for her and her dress rips. She’s also really perky the whole time, but I don’t know if that counts as a stereotype.
Sex/Romance/Attractiveness: During the same brunch scene, she says she’s dieting because “I’m going to look amazing in the dress, meet a Scottish man, and be happy finally.” She seems to hit it off with a Scottish man towards the end of the movie, and when her dress splits up the side (har, har) he collects kilt pins to pin it up, and tell her it looks nice. You get the sense that the two of them are going to hook up.
Fat jokes: I should note that the people behind me snickered when she came on screen for the first time. Fat = automatically funny. The “I’m on a diet!” thing is played for laughs, as is the fact that she wants a size 8 dress. The “zip her into the dress” scene is also supposed to be funny. And the worst fat joke is when she sits down and the dress splits.
The bottom line: I was bracing myself for worse than this turned out to be, as I’d heard there were jokes at the expense of the “fat bridesmaid.” The main laughs all stem from her initial choice to try this insane diet to get into a dress that’s too small for her. The diet is portrayed as dangerous and unreasonable, and the humor would have worked with an actress of average size also… but it should be noted that nobody actually tells her she’s pretty the way she is. (Which she is; the actress is cute as a button.) I do have to give them credit for casting an actress who is genuinely full figured, though, and I think Emily Nelson does a great job with the part.
Rating on the offense-o-meter (10 being Norbit): 6
But how’s the movie?: Oh my god, I loved it. I love romantic comedies, especially if they involve weddings (The Wedding Singer, The Wedding Planner, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Best Friend’s Wedding… everything except The Wedding Date, for some reason.) and I thought the two leads had amazing chemistry. It’s cheesy, of course, but I really liked it. I am the only person in the whole world who did, however.
Posted by mo pie