Outside of the In-Crowd – It’s like they’re not listening to me
It was not that long ago that I was forced to pop a vein over The Ugly Truth. And it wasn’t long before that when I did the same about He’s Just Not That Into You and Bride Wars. And yet, Hollywood soldiers on.
The latest pair of purported chick flicks, When In Rome and Valentine’s Day, also make me want to kill someone in the face. Every TV spot I see, every pre-film trailer I suffer through, every laugh of a different female in the audience who will shell out countless duckets to see these heinous offerings, well, it just hurts. And that’s what you’re here for. As sounding boards for my pain. Deal with this.
Let’s start with When In Rome, because the other one pisses me off way more and I don’t want to peter out halfway through like The Lovely Bones (damn you, Jackson). When In Rome is the story of, as Wikipedia almost parodically puts it, Beth Harper, “a successful but hopelessly single Gotham curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.”
No, she isn’t.
But, sure, yeah, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Kristen Bell stepped on the throats of every single Art History major in the country for a gig as a curator at the Guggenheim. We’ll go ahead and ignore that. What I’m focused on is the “hopelessly single” part. Aren’t they all?
Look, I know that the busy hardworking career woman who doesn’t have time to find a man cliche bares some truth. But not “hopelessly.” “Hopelessly single” should be reserved for 35-year-old sad cat lady Twilight fans who wear Garfield shirts. And even they aren’t totally hopeless. I mean, I watch Hoarders, and a lot of those nutters are married. But in a romantic comedy, can’t we EVER have a female character who just happens to be single? Not because she chose work, which implies that we’re too weak to balance both; not because she’s a total spaz freaktrain, which makes you totally not root for her anyway; not even because she chooses to be, because rom-com science dictates that that perfect man will come along and make her see the light anyway. Just single. Just happens to not be seeing anyone at the moment, just like all of us have been. And not desperately so.
We all like attachment and affection. Hell, we all even love love. But it’s not realistic (or at least, not a respectful realistic) to have a twenty-something woman with a crazy successful career, as they all do in these movies, pining away as though her life is shit because she’s not married yet.
ANYWAY that was one big long tangent. Hopeless McVeronicamars goes to Rome for her sister’s wedding, because of course she does. She decides that since people throw coins in the fountain and find the loves of their lives, she will steal coins and find hers. Which has already lost me, because why don’t you just toss your coin? It seems like the rules are pretty clear and implicit. But anystupidmovie, her weird plan works and all these men follow her to New York to win her love, including Josh Duhamel, who is basically the C-list Timothy Olyphant, which as lower-tiered celebrity clones go is a pretty low bar already. Dax Shepherd is involved, too, who I don’t hate because I quote “I like money” from Idiocracy pretty much daily and I’m really excited for Parenthood. Also, Will Arnett is in there, and aside from GOB Bluth and his recurring role on 30 Rock, that man has made wicked bad career decisions.
What I assume will happen in the end: K. Bellz assumes J. Duhamz only loves her because of his coin, and then he tells her that he never dropped the coin in the fountain, or that his coin bounced out or something lame. Hate. Stupid. Lame. The TV spot people obviously agree, because if you’ll notice, none of the new ads include the fountain plot point, which is, essentially, the plot, period.
Speaking of C-list things and hate, let’s talk Valentine’s Day, which has triumphantly cast the most JV C-list group of actors ever assembled. Jessicas, both Biel and Alba? Taylors, both Swift and Lautner? Mcs, both Dreamy and Steamy (Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane)? Joe goddamn Jonas? What the crap kind of pilot season call list is this?
Even the actual actors, with the exception of Anne Hathaway, are nothing too special, and I really think this is her penance for Bride Wars. I like Topher Grace to the point where I had him listed with Anne then backspaced, so we’ll ignore him, but look – When Bradley Cooper is possibly the only cast member (again, aside from Annie H.) who has successfully opened a movie in the last five years, and it’s not like he’s really proven himself beyond that one film, you have a problem. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Julia Roberts. What happened to your career? You were on a long-term hot streak, and then you just went away. I blame that “A Low Vera” shirt.
Sorry, Jamie Foxx, but I cannot in good conscience award A-list to the gentleman who was in Booty Call and very recently wrote an entire song about “the Hennay” and why I should blame my poor decisions on it.
My biggest hate goes to the Jessicas. I loathe. They’re both total idiots who say stupid things about how hard it is to be pretty and how they’ll never win Oscars because they’re so gorgeous. Because, you see, everyone else in Hollywood is big fat piles of ugly fat shit, obviously. It’s a conspiracy against the heavy-browed chick with the overbite from 7th Heaven! Rude!
My second biggest hate goes to the notion of Valentine’s Day hate. But BUHLIEVE me, I’ll be covering that in just a couple weeks. Third biggest? This lame new trend of casting everyone in the world in one movie and hoping something sticks to the wall of good taste. Just because it worked in Love Actually does not mean anyone else should do it. I’ve made my loathe of He’s Just Not That Into You widely known, and this looks even worse! With or without an insane, mildly-retarded Ginnifer Goodwin! That’s saying something.
Look, ladies, as long as we (and I mean you, I’m just trying to be nice) keep seeing these movies, they will keep making them. They think they can’t trust us with good movies because we (again, you) keep shelling out the Hamiltons to go see them.
Stop. Just stop.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
can’t we EVER have a female character who just happens to be single? Honestly the first movie that pops into my head as an example is “40 Days and 40 Nights”. That’s about it.
I am ready for your hate on Valentine’s Day hate. Will be ready with bated, hated breath to offer my rebuttal. (I said “butt.” Huh huh… huh huh….)
This is all Hollywood can come up with for my beloved Veronica Mars? I know the woman’s got to work and all, but this is the best (or best paying) thing that was available to her? That makes me so sad.
Joelle, ironically, she was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall which is only one of maybe three semi-romantic type comedies that I can think of that had realistic female characters.
Oh, yeah. I put that one on the list of “potentially not terrible movies I should probably get around to seeing someday” but I’d forgotten about it.
Word on all of this. When I was in my early- to mid-twenties, I would sometimes read chick lit (at its height of popularity at the time) or watch rom-coms, with the poor single heroine and her microwaved dinners and shitty apartment and think, “am I supposed to feel this way? Because I DON’T.”
I’d also like to see the same “single just because she’s single” principle applied to more YA books and teen movies (yes, I read and watch a lot of both). I did have a serious boyfriend in high school, but my life was about so much more than my relationship.
Courtney my beloved Courtney. I’ve tried all of your life to get you to come out of your shy-zone. How will anyone ever take you serious as a journalist if you don’t stop holding back and start saying what you really feel? Just kidding….. I kind of fell sorry for some of these actresses that drew your vent but understand what you’re saying. As a guy who dated a lot in my day, I can honestly say that the Kristin Bell types of this world never lack for attention or dates. It actually goes the other way so this premise is really lame and overused. Use a relatively plain but loveable actress for that part if you want it to be believable but they never get the Josh Duhamels of the world either. Oh well at least you may have convinced Joelle to rent Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I still laugh my ass off everytime I see that movie. It’s worth the money.
First, you are a VERY talented writer. I want to read all of your stuff!
Second, thank you for bringing this “hopeless career girl” thing to light. It is such a lame premise.
Also, yes don’t cast the whole world and Jessicas- get fricken REAL.
I don’t know what Jessica Alba is like personally, but I do know that it was Jessica Biel who said that stuff about being too pretty to win acting awards. I think it’s unfair to lump her in w/ Biel just b/c she is also better known for her looks than her acting prowess. I’m not saying she’s talented, just that she might not be as conceited as Biel is.
The movie poster you linked for When In Rome isn’t the one I’ve been seeing around NYC. No, that one has Kristen Bell coquettishly biting her fingernail while a photoshopped Josh Duhamel hangs over her shoulder and looks at… what? The guy across the street walking his dog? The 7 train? The woman with a plastic bag over her head to keep her hair dry in the rain? Seriously, it’s like they’re not even in the same movie together, that’s how incongruous the two stars of the film look on that poster. It looks retarded and it, as much as anything else, has made me want to run the opposite direction of the theater.