Picture for a moment, if you will, the opening sequence of a film. A romantic comedy. Close, on the female lead, she stands in her apartment a puzzled look on her face – darn it! She wants love! Dating is hilarious! Sex is hilarious! People chase other people through airports and make embarrassing speeches at corporate functions all in the name of L-O-V-E. This female lead is unemployed. She is a slacker. She’s uncertain what she wants to do with her life, but she is certain that she’s ten to fifteen pounds overweight. She engages in recreational drug use, sometimes even drinking bong water. She fears change and cries at the drop of a hat. But boy is she lovable!
Her boyfriend/love interest is handsome, smart, well-educated, financially stable, adventurous and athletic. Sounds improbable right? A far-fetched fantasy that would never make it past a studio executive’s assistant. Right?
In fact, it sounds very much like every romantic comedy I have seen in the last year and a half. Now I may sound a little militant here, and for that I apologize but I have to ask – WHAT THE F%$*? Why has the romantic comedy turned into more of a male fantasy than a female one? And why is Hollywood telling well-rounded, beautiful women, that we should just settle?
I live in Los Angeles, and as it goes, I have dated my fair share of drug-addicted, semi-employed losers (they’re also called by another name – “writers”) and none of them has ever provided a happy ending. I know what you’re thinking – not everyone can end up with George Clooney (especially those of us who aren’t former Vegas cocktail waitresses). But whatever happened to the handsome, slick, successful dreamboat who sure made some romantic faux-pas here and there, but always wound up doing the right thing? What happened to Michelle Pfeiffer ending up with Robert Redford? Or Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney? Or Demi Moore and Rob Lowe?
Let it be noted, I am all for the nice guy. I want them to finish first. Every last one of them. I do. I really do. But why can’t the nice, sweet guy bring anything else to the table? Hollywood is telling smart, successful, and sexy women everywhere the best that they can hope for is a “good” guy. What about hoping for our equivalent? Let’s be honest: What the hell is Katherien Heigl doing with Seth Rogan? Seriously. Why, in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, can Jason Segal sob like a child, exhibit not an ounce of male prowess and still end up with hotter than thou Mila Kunis? The entire time I was watching that movie I wished that homeboy would just grow a pair. That film shouldn’t have been titled Forgetting Sarah Marshall ; it should have been titled How This Dude Got Sarah Marshall In the First Place and Life’s Other Great Mysteries Solved.
Here I am, about to wave my feminist freak flag – but the problem with Hollywood today is not the triumph of the nice guy, but the unbelievable triumph of the loser. The fantasy is no longer that you too can get the dreamboat package. Instead, it’s that you too can make your mediocre slacker grow up. And guess what? That’s the biggest fantasy of all. I’ve tried – and it just doesn’t work.