Inspired by the first few pages of the book, I felt like this was an excellent choice for my cinematic pleasures. My friend picked Valentine’s Day to take this fantastic flop in, thinking the theatre would, at least for this show, be empty. She was wrong. But that’s OK, it made the experience more complete. Besides, she’s allowed 3 mistakes each calendar year.
I went in expecting the kind of light hearted reality zap I got after reading the first few pages of the book it was inspired by, based on, adapted from, etc. Possibly, if I had read the entire book, I would’ve gleaned a better idea of what I was in for. My lack of interest in the wisdom prescribed in the paper version however should in no way reflect the genius of the author George Behrendt.
Amidst the library of work done on the exciting topic of heterosexual relationships, I enjoyed this, to the point, politically incorrect and honest text. Sadly though, it was this very honesty that was lacking in the screen adaptation.
I found the motivation behind the film to be somewhat deluded and completely antithetical to that of the text. The first scene starts off accurately enough by taking us through the sugar coated floss women wrap around each other when faced with heart breaking situations, specifically those involving the opposite gender. The film introduces the lies we’re fed from a young age about the opposite gender and goes on to demonstrate their manifestation in adults.
Sadly though, the narration trails off and is no where to be found toward the end of the movie. Given the nature of the book, I felt that having an active narrative voice would’ve significantly added to meaning(s) conveyed.
What I didn’t like about this movie was its deviation from the original sound of the book. Firstly it depicted women from various walks of life as being collectively infantile in their approach to life and love. The one seemingly stable (or mature) character turns out to be OCD while suffering from a bad case of denial. The fickle facade of a wise folklore style tale crumbles into a heap of sawdust as the protagonist Alex ends up committing the same relationship sins he has warned his female counterpart/student Gigi against through the entire movie.
The movie strongly depicts the institution of marriage as shallow and unreliable while promoting a less tangible kind of commitment. I think the thing that bugged me the most was the way the mostly female audience danced to the tune of a very sexist direction. From the naming of the main character (Gigi) to the patriarchal approach to women in heterosexual relationships, I found this film to be grossly sexist. Sadly, the antics of the main and most delinquent character in the film provided many cathartic moments for the film’s audience.
While my friend and I cringed at the humiliating stupidity of the females onscreen, I broken heartedly realised that the females in the audience were cringing WITH those very antics. When the plot caressed male dysfunction in heterosexual relationships I still couldn’t shake the feeling of being snowed under the unabashed promotion of highly romanticised and mostly hollow ideas of love and romance.
Overall, this was a very disappointing watch which only cemented my concerns around the more fashionable ideas on relationships. The movie that had the potential of becoming a cleverly filmed tale disseminating relationship wisdom was just a big fat flop.
If you’re thinking of taking this flop in, save your pennies. We are after all, in an economic crisis.