Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Bride and Prejudice
It's always interesting when something occurs that soundly answers a question you hadn't even thought to ask.
For example: I never specifically came right out and said to myself or anyone else, "Gee, I wonder what could make me want to punch Patrick Dempsey in the face even more than I already do?"
And yet -- Made of Honor.
As much as it pains me to bring up a certain unattractive HBO star and once again risk the wrath of her fawning acolytes, I have to, merely for the sake of a point of reference: Patrick Dempsey is basically the male version of Sarah Jessica Parker*. Both began their careers as homely, geeky teenagers (he in mindless dreck like Can't Buy Me Love, she on TV's Square Pegs); both saw a career resurgence and hit their professional highs while pushing middle-age; both star in shows that have been elevated to near-religion status by a nationwide army of really stupid women (he's on Grey's Anatomy, she was on Sex and the City); both are "hot" only in the most perfunctory sense -- when viewed through eyes that have never ventured beyond the local grocery store and filtered through a complete lack of imagination -- and yet both have been surreally canonized as sex symbols and fashion plates by a slavish, celeb-obsessed media. There's just nothing at all special about either of them, and yet the kind of women who will do anything Oprah commands want nothing more than to sleep with one and be the other.
These Cosmo-queens and Pretend-Prada-princesses are, needless to say, the same women who can be blamed for the seemingly endless glut of big-budget Fairytale Wedding-themed romantic comedies -- otherwise known as porn for needy girls.
And what's the latest insipid Hollywood offering in this creatively exhausted genre?
Why, Made of Honor, of course.
It only makes sense that Patrick Dempsey would eventually be enlisted to carry one these tedious eye-rollers, playing the kind of imaginary, über-sensitive anti-Tyler Durden character that only a female screenwriter could create; he's the perfect Stepford Leading Man and he's already got mealy TV-himbo cred to spare thanks to the whole Dr. McDreamy thing (a moniker which tells you, all on its own, just who his core audience is -- I mean really, who but a slightly doughy Ambush Makeover candidate would call somebody "McDreamy?"). Dempsey taking the lightweight reins of a movie that sounds startlingly like a recycled J-Lo vehicle is about as obvious as the fact that the same movie will soon be playing on TBS every night of every weekend.
There's no point debating why it is that "chick flicks" generally fall into one of two categories -- they're melodramatic, celluloid psychotherapy aimed at dredging up dormant mother/daughter issues, or Prince Charming fantasies designed to fuck women into an orgasmic frenzy with the gargantuan penis of unrealistic expectations. Either way, the endgame is generally the same for the men and smart women forced to suffer someone who's adopted the belief system of these movies as gospel: indulge her when possible, pity her behind her back and hope that a new and better girlfriend/friend comes along at some point to replace her and her neuroses forever (thereby confirming her latent suspicions that she's "not good enough"). If you're a man, you don't want to be anywhere near someone who plans to drop ten bucks on Made of Honor. In fact, a love of Patrick Dempsey and the desire to see this movie might function as a sort of litmus test to weed out the women you should run screaming from -- the ones whose hopes and dreams involve crap you'll never care about. As for the XX-chromo opposites of the rom-com crowd -- the sharp, funny, worldly women who represent the brass ring within the American gene pool -- you'll probably need to avoid the Dempsey fans as well, since I can't see a smart girl wanting to listen to a man-crazy basket case whining to her on the phone at 3am because her one-night-stand hasn't called back or her boyfriend won't ask her to marry him.
Bottom Line -- see Iron Man this weekend.
It's got a more believable storyline than Made of Honor, and a much better leading man.
(*This is contingent on Sarah Jessica Parker not, in fact, being the male version of Sarah Jessica Parker.)