Sunday, March 30, 2008
I know '40 Year Old Virgin' and 'Knocked Up' had some problems. I recognize the sexist sub-plots but I still had a good time and enjoyed many laughs. I acknowledge what many other feminist bloggers have said... Superbad was a steaming pile of crap. Not much to enjoy in two moderately attractive men (at best) drawing pictures of penises and tweeking hardcore at menstrual blood. Not to mention that every female character in that movie didn't necessarily need a character name as much as the word "sperm dumpster" tattooed on her forehead.
Anyway. I have been excited for the movie "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" ever since I heard it was starring Kristen Bell (the goddess from Veronica Mars). Apatow produced this movie and from initial previews, I was skeptical but hopeful. But a few days ago, I saw another trailer for this film and this time I was genuinely pissed off.
In a new scene, we see the male lead in bed with a woman. As they begin to throw off clothes, he asks, "Are you sure you aren't too drunk?" Her annoyed response is: "Don't be so sensitive!"
Damn You Judd Apatow. Seriously. Making sure you aren't about to rape someone isn't being "too sensitive."
I am so sick of these boys-will-be-boys "comedies" that all include alcohol as the only way to achieve sex. In 40 Year Old Virgin we had the "tackling drunk bitches" scene. In Knocked Up, the drunk hookup was the basis for the entire plot and the subsequent odd coupling of Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen. Then there was Superbad, where the young men had to quest for booze otherwise "the chicks won't have sex with you."
I am so tired of it.
I know we're making comedies here, but could we acknowledge that date rape is a huge, HUGE problem and alcohol is the #1 date rape drug?! I can only ignore the alcohol/sex obsession of Apatow and crew for so long. In Knocked Up, I was generally comfortable because there was a sense that yes, the liquor greased the wheels for the (highly unlikely) hook-up of Heighl and Rogen's characters but both were clearly consenting. In 40 year old Virgin, I felt pacified because (lovable) Steve Carell is clearly uncomfortable "tackling a drunk bitch" and instead chooses to find a sexual relationship with a coherent woman.
It wasn't until I watched Superbad that I got cranky. That movie seemed to poke fun at Michael Cera's character, who was too soft to accept that "getting girls drunk" was just part of the plan. His obvious discomfort with sleeping with highly-intoxicated Becca is fodder for laughs. When he says "I don't think you want to do this. You're really drunk" Her response was, "I don't understand why you have to be such a little bitch about it."
We need to stop sending messages that guys are pussies if they stop and ask women, "Are you okay with this?" / "Is this what you really want?"/ "Are you sure you aren't drunk?"
I think a lot of women find it to be a turn on when the man they're about to sleep with is concerned for their well-being and wants to make sure they are comfortable. Why do these Apatow flicks (beloved by 20-something men across America) have to call a man a pussy if he worries about having sex with a drunk woman? Not only your guy friends, but the women you try and score with will also call you a bitch or scoff at you for being "too sensitive."
I realize that I'm judging the movie based on a trailer but seriously, every single Apatow movie directs these messages at young men over and over and over again. It's not funny and it's a really dysfunctional message. Let's try and demonstrate the valid point that women appreciate a man who will think twice before just screwing you. We want a man who will stop and think, 'Hey this is a human being, not just a convenient masturbation hole.' Is that so hard to understand?
Apatow and company might just be impressed at how THAT message would widen their appeal with young women.