Movies: The Change-Up Does Nothing to Change Stereotypes.

 

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.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] These Are the Un-Retouched, Un-Fake Breasts of a 33-Year Woman Who Has Breastfed Two Babies.

Image via YouTube.

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses*.

 

Horrible Bosses, despite being a “sophomoric”, Judd Apatovian-esque, “toilet-humour”-filled outing, was much better than I thought it would be.

However, putting aside how hilarious it was much I enjoyed it, there were some race and sex issues I wanted to discuss.

  • “Take us to the most dangerous bar in the city.” Which just happened to be full of black people. Racist much?
  • Men being sexually harassed by their hot female boss isn’t an issue. While Jason Bateman’s Nick and Kurt, played by Jason Sudeikis, have douchebag-asshole-psycho male bosses who are making their lives hell, Charlie Day’s Dave is being sexually harassed and manipulated by his “maneater” boss, Julia, played by Jennifer Aniston. She accosts him in her office wearing nothing by suspenders and a lab coat, she sprays him with a dental irrigation hose in the crotch to “make out the shape of his penis” and blackmails him with photos she took of them together while he was passed out in the dentists chair and she was half-naked. While the movie made it plain as day that what Dave was experiencing was pretty distressing, his buddies brushed it off, saying that in comparison to their bosses, his doesn’t sound so bad.
  • Crazy, manipulative bitches can have “the crazy fucked out of them”. This is an age old trope whereby uptight, bitchy, mentally ill and a myriad of other negative personality traits in women can have them gone, so long as they get a good fuck. Apparently, this isn’t the case, as Julie’s just as crazy as she was before Kurt slipped and fell into her during his reconnaissance mission.
  • Male rape doesn’t exist. Much like how True Blood dealt with it, when Dave cries rape after Julie shows him the aforementioned photos, his friends brush it off with a guffaw, saying there’s no such thing and if only they were “raped” by a boss as hot as his. Fail.
  • There’s such a thing as being “more rapable” than someone else. When their plot looks all but foiled by a comedy of errors, someone (probably Nick, the most level headed one) mentions the possibility of going to jail. Kurt says he can’t go to jail because he’d get raped like there’s no tomorrow. Nick says he would too, and Kurt asserts that he’s more rapable than Nick. They bring Dave in as tiebreaker, and he sides with Nick being more rapabale, as prison rapists go for “weakness” and “vulnerability”. Regular rapists do, too, if Dave’s dental chair experience is anything to go by!

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Related: Bridesmaids Review.

Rachel Berry as Feminist.

Male Rape on True Blood.

Elsewhere: [Persephone Magazine] Gorgeous, Sexy, “Crazy”: The Fetishisation of On-Screen Mental Illness.

Image via IMDb.