Paul Feig certainly knows how to work with talented, funny women. After the success of the Oscar-nominated Bridesmaids in 2011, Feig was launched into the Hollywood spotlight, having created a female-centric comedy that wasn’t only funny, but also wasn’t a standard chick flick. In a recent interview, Feig talked about why he eschewed that genre again with his most recent film, The Heat.
The Heat sees an FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and a Boston detective (Melissa McCarthy) taking out a drug lord. Utterly mismatched in their personalities, the two must overcome their differences in order to get the job done. And “the job” is precisely the point of the film. Speaking with SheKnows.com, the 62-year-old director said: “I wanted to take it fully out of any romantic, chick-flick world, and just [focus on] two very strong, empowered women who are great at their jobs.”
It’s not that Feig hates the romance genre, but he’s rightly pointing out the problems with the term “chick flick.” These are a group of films that are geared towards women, with plots that emphasize finding a man. The term not only essentializes what female moviegoers might want to see, but also reduces these films to something only women would like. As Feig put it: “Bridesmaids looked like a chick flick to guys, but then when they went to see it they were like, ‘Oh, no. This is just about these funny people and they just happen to be women.’”
Feig is completely right. Funny is funny, regardless of gender, and the The Heat proves this. Though the film still has a lot to be proud of—it nearly topped the box office this weekend—in the past decade there have been fewer than ten female duo comedies. “It’s ridiculous that it’s 2013 and we’re the only studio film starring women that’s coming out this summer,” said Feig. “I hope there’s more movies like this.” We hope so, too.