Remember when Katherine Heigl bit the hand that fed her and criticised Knocked-Up for being sexist and perpetuating women/wives-as-shrews stereotypes? Where was Leslie Mann, who played Heigl’s sister in the movie, and is director Judd Apatow’s wife, during all this?
Certainly she didn’t take Heigl’s valid-but-ill-received criticisms of the 2007 runaway hit to heart, as she is basically playing the exact same character in The Change-Up: shrewish, run-off-her-feet with three children and a seemingly successful job (she discusses something in the vein of building planning, so perhaps she’s an architect? What does it matter, right?), and stuck in an unhappy marriage in which her husband doesn’t find her attractive.
And what about Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds’ characters? Reynolds, playing man-child Mitch Planko, is a loser stoner who only peels himself off the couch to score 9-months-pregnant women, a job in a soft-core porno, and weed.
Bateman’s Dave Lockwood, on the other hand, is a successful lawyer who’s been with the same woman for 18 years and no matter how much he accumulates, he’s never happy.
The only other woman in the film with more than a few lines and a tit-shot is Sabrina, played by Olivia Wilde. If Mann’s Jamie is the overworked and undersexed Madonna, Sabrina is the work-hard, play-hard whore. She espouses clichés like “I prefer to be sexually harassed in my private life,” or something to that effect. Way to stand up for women’s rights there!
There was one redeeming quality to the film, if you look really hard. Jamie makes an astute observation about women and marriage, and is somewhat representative of a lot of women in long-term relationships or marriages who no longer feel loved or desired by their husbands, who are taken for granted and who are run off their feet with 2.5 kids and a job (although Dave helps to break the stereotype of absentee father who doesn’t engage with his kids). But this also does a disservice to other kinds of wives and mothers and families, who don’t have rich husbands and live in a mansion, by all accounts.
Oh, and the unrealistically pert breasts of a breastfeeding mother of three and the ass of a 17-year-old on a lady pushing 40 don’t do much to help real women, either.
Related: The Taboos of Sexual Harassment.
Image via YouTube.