I can safely say I’m not going to see this movie. Not even on DVD. Not even on Foxtel. Not even for free when it finally comes to commercial TV. Never. Ditto Bride Wars. And probably not He’s Not That Into You Either.
I ranted about Bride Wars when it came out. Insulting. Sexist. Ridiculous. Etc.
And I’ve just read a piece by my friend Jacqueline Lunn who has noticed this wasn’t a one-off. Mainstream ‘chick flicks’ all seem to have taken on these insulting, sexist, ridiculous portrayals of women.
When it comes to movies my standards are not very high. Even so,
with the release of three particular movies already this year –
Bride Wars, Confessions Of A Shopaholic and
He’s Just Not That Into You – I have to wonder: is it the
humour that’s being dumbed down, or the women?
In these movies the plot lines, in order, are thus: two best
friends become enemies because their weddings fall on the same day;
a girl has 12 maxed-out credit cards, can’t stop shopping and ends
up working for a finance magazine; and lots of women sit around
agonising over men.
Romantic comedies have never had the most intricate plot lines
but good ones have been characterised by charm, identification and,
hopefully, humour. In 2009, how are we supposed to identify with a
woman who is at the mercy of a wedding, shopping or a man who
treats her poorly?
In these movies the humour emanates from the endless
hopelessness of the female lead. The joke is on her. I don’t mind
where a good joke comes from (in fact if I could remember a joke it
would be a miracle) but there’s a desperation to this humour that
unsettles me. I’m just not that into it.
Maybe it’s all a coincidence rather than a sign. Maybe I am
making too much out of a handful of movies released within weeks of
each other. After all, is celluloid really a true barometer of what
we believe in university campuses, in office cubicles, in bus
stops, in homes?
Are helpless, hopeless, hapless women really that funny?
Bingo. Now I know why I don’t like romantic comedies anymore. I’m sure there are films out there with strong, inspiring, complex, real female characters. Please tell me what they are?