UPDATE: Now here’s why Freaks And Geeks creator and Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig is a highly paid screenwriter, and I am not. It’s all about economizing your words. What took me three long paragraphs to convey, Feig does in this simple tweet: @Paul Feig: For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself.
PREVIOUS: I have as thick a skin as anybody, but I must say I’m appalled by New York Observer critic Rex Reed and a review of Identity Thief where he spends all his cleverness on cruel adjectives for the weight of its star, Melissa McCarthy. Here is a woman who probably has been on the heavy side all her life, but who has developed the self-confidence to be comfortable enough in who she is that she is willing to put herself on the screen in most unglamorous ways because it serves the comedy. Having first seen her work in Mike and Molly, where she is pretty glamorous in my book, I remember being put off in early Bridesmaids trailers when I saw her wearing no makeup and looking pretty raw. When I saw that raucous comedy, I felt that, if she didn’t steal the film she came close, playing a grounded character. Her hosting gig on Saturday Night Live put on display some of the best physical comedy skills I’ve seen since the early days of Jim Carrey, Chris Farley, Steve Martin, John Candy and even Curly Howard of The Three Stooges. There are no women on that short list because I just can’t think of any. Like all those guys, McCarthy’s lack of vanity is astonishing.
When I was in college, Rex Reed was described by my profs as one of the new generation of film critics who was changing that game. I read a lot of his stuff and found his writing graceful and bold. I don’t know if he has kids, but I have two daughters. It sensitizes you to many things, including the temptation to obsess about being rail thin. All you want for your girls is that they feel comfortable in their own skin, and McCarthy is a shining example of that. Reed obviously doesn’t even consider that McCarthy is breaking boundaries and making it okay for girls all over to feel good about themselves even if, when they look in the mirror, they don’t see a waif-like Victoria’s Secret model staring back. (more…)