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.)

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rumors, they are worth what you pay for them. But Patrick Dempsey's first wife, Rocky, (his manager and best friend's mother, in her mid-fifties when she married him at 21ish) accused him of beating her several times. There are stories of his beating his current wife, Jill, even while pregnant with their newborn twins. And several of his rural Maine childhood chums say he was vicious and cruel both to them and to animals. All this is only relevant because now he is suddenly the sweetest guy in LA in every article you read. I haven't seen him in anything since Can't Buy Me Love, and don't intend to, but I do wonder whether he's a total monster? Scary and funny.

Manny said...

Ironically, I heard that "Iron Man" was SJP's nickname in High School.

trish said...

I'm a girl, and I hate Dempsey. I think he looks like that thing from "Leprechaun."

Girl With Curious Hair said...

I don't think there are a lot of women who want to be Patrick Dempsey and then have their way with Sarah Jessica. (I think I just hurt my brain).

Chez said...

Just for you sweetie, I switched them around so that they follow the pattern and your brain can rest easy.

But oh are you right.

Richard said...

I had this argument with two of my best female friends, neeedless to say, they're brainwashed

Lily's Mommy said...

I have no interest in romantic movies so I have to ask this question:

Do you think it's the women who are demanding these types of films or are they pressured by marketing and need to fit into cultural roles?

If I had to choose between Made of Honor or Ironman, I think I'd stay home. I think that explains why I'm home so much...

jen said...

i guess i don't understand why you care so vehemently? i don't care one way or the other about patrick dempsey. in fact, all the better he's such a "sex symbol" - that's the kind of stupidity i don't mind, when it keeps the lowest common denominator away from me. less competition when i finally put into action my plan to kidnap johnny depp.

and yes, we've already purchased our tickets a saturday showing of for iron man. ;)

Anonymous said...

"big-budget Fairytale Wedding-themed romantic comedies -- otherwise known as porn for needy girls." - this almost sent coca-cola out of my nose!! LMFAO!!

Iron Man it is!

~K~

Babypants said...

I remember when Grey's Anatomy came out and I heard all this swooning over "McDreamy." I was kind of stunned when I realized they were talking about Patrick Dempsey.

Oddley enough I just had a very similar "chick flick" conversation with a friend of mine a few months ago when I insisted he needed to break up with his girlfriend because she opted to see 24 Dresses over Cloverfield.

Joshua said...

Motherfucking bravo.

Stephen said...

1 word and 3 letters for you:
Meatballs III

Anonymous said...

Again with the Sarah Jessica Parker? Wtf is wrong with you? Seriously, we get that you think she's ugly. You had a visceral reaction. Congratulations. And yet, she's dated the star of your Iron Man, bucko. As well as a Kennedy; and she ends up marrying Ferris Bueller. So, obviously your little opinion is not shared by everyone. I'm not understanding why you're so intent on convincing us she's unattractive. You're almost as rabid as these fans of hers, but in the other direction and I'm not sure where your venom is stemming from. Are all people you don't find sexually attractive so offensive? Is she supposed to not continue pursuing her career because of people like you? Don't you think your "talents" can be better invested debating more worthy topics? Do you really think any of your readers are the type that would go see Made of Honor anyway? Preach to the choir? Ugh. Enough with the SJP being unattractive already. You're hitting all the same notes. Shit's gettin' old.

Jamie said...

These types of movies generally make me feel pathetic and defective for being single. And also ashamed to be a woman. I don't watch them under any circumstances, including when it's an uneventful Saturday night and I'm sitting on my hands, too lazy to fucking move.

Chez said...

"Anonymous" --

Look Sarah, no one's forcing you to read this stuff.

(And while I'm at it, what did I say about her fans within the piece?)

Christine said...

I used to have friends in high school that could drone on and on endlessly about how a guy they liked *might* have looked at them in the hall between 3rd & 4th period. They read romance novels, thought romantic comedies were "sweet" and couldn't understand why the guys they dated couldn't read their minds when they said nothing was wrong.

This is also why most of my friends, to this day, are guys. I'd rather roll my eyes and laugh at macho talk of blood and exaggerated physical prowess than spend 2 more wasted hours being forced to watch Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy.

Friends don't let friends get brainwashed by that drivel.

Paul said...

I've got a better idea. I'm going to skip the movies entirely this weekend and play Grand Theft Auto 4.

tamara said...

Me? I'm waitin' to see the second installment of the "Dark Knight" series...hadn't even heard of this "Made of Honour" thingy until you brought it up...but, have to say, I agree wholeheartedly, and won't be wastin' time or money on it...

Paul said...

Whenever I am forced to listen to my wife go on, and on, and on, about "McDreamy" I either think of him as a 15 year old geek driving around on a lawnmower of the guy with a pet chicken in "With Honors". Anyway, my weekend choice is easily Iron Man (then again I am a geek, so that is not very surprising).

Chez said...

GTA 4, baby!

Trying to rescue that idiot Roman as we speak.

sparksinner said...

And Iron Man isn't designed to fuck boys and under-developed men into an orgasmic frenzy with the tight hot pussy of unrealistic expectations?

Aike said...

McDreamy... sounds like a mass produced, single serve, highly artificial product tailored with exquisite precision to pander to the tastes of those too lazy/cheap to go get the real thing.

A very limp, soggy burger that looks enormous and tasty on pictures and is really disappointingly small and tasteless when you get the real thing.

Lyndon said...

I love reading this blog. You say what so many of us are thinking and just can't put into words.

Ironman looks like it's going to be a lot of fun, just two more days!!

So GTA 4, you playing on an Xbox or PS3?

Phil said...

Thanks. I was briefly troubled by the sociopathic impulses that welled-up in me when the first bus pulled by bearing his clean-coiffed mug on an ad for this superfluous atrocity of a so-called film. Your bile and invective have reminded me that these impulses are just distorted symptoms of high but frequently disappointed hopes for humanity, and that many right-thinking people share them.

I wonder if Rockstar could license his likeness for inclusion as a civilian in GTA-5?

Deacon Blue said...

I'm not going to be hard on Chez about his hatred of SJP as a sexpot...and here's why: Under other circumstances, if Patrick Dempsey and Sarah Jessica Parker were being set up as sex symbols, perhaps I wouldn't care as much. That is, if they had become sex symbols based on some kind of aura or energy they were putting out on the screen.

I think back to some of the older days of the movies and even television, and realize that some of the leading men and leading ladies weren't, objectively speaking, all that good looking in many cases. There were hotties, to be sure, but there was more interest in letting someone act and letting their personality and actions be sexy.

Folks like Patrick Dempsey and in particular SJP are being stuffed into fashions that are so woefully outside the reality of most people and being given professions that are deemed so desirable that the entire package feels strained and manufactured.

In real life, if I weren't married and SJP came on to me (even if she wasn't a wealthy and famous person), I'd probably give her a chance without thinking twice if her personality wasn't too abrasive on first contact. I'm realistic and don't expect any woman's face to be perfect, nose or otherwise. In fact, I dare say I've been attracted to a few certifiable homely women at times in my previous life, based solely on their personality.

But Dempsey is no Ed Norton...and SJP is no Ellen Barkin...just to name two stars (former star in Barkin's case) who aren't necessarily all that good looking but can make people of the appropriate sexual persuasion all moist and ready.

Meromo said...

Brilliant. Utterly brilliant.

Brian H said...

This awful movie will make $20+ million this weekend. Sad.

Good to see Lucius Vorenus (Rome) is getting work, though.

RottweilerTOM said...

Chez: you may not like him, but I do appreciate telling Isaiah Washington where to stick his homophobic, bible belting bullshit

...give him some credit

(he didn't need to do that)

VOTAR said...

Listen, bucko.

You really need to stop with all this forcing us readers to pay such a high subscription price, and to spend all these precious minutes of our lives, reading your vitriol about that specimen of human perfection, She Who Is Above Being Named For Having Trolled With Various Celebrities Before Marrying That Twerp From Wargames. Seriously, I'm practically broke and blind from having been forced to pay you all that money and to stare at this computer screen at the words you shove at me like a Clockwork Orange behavior modification experiment on acid.

Bucko.

Chez said...

Well, double Bucko on you!

Chick who hates Chick Flix said...

Chez, you have attained god like status with me. Every word here is gospel truth.

In short: You, sir, rock.

Anonymous said...

God yes. I'd even take a drugged up RDjr over McDouchey

- Kara

Melissa B. said...

I have two teenaged daughters at home, who happen to own every single season of "Sex in the City," so at any given point over the years I've seen parts or even all of more than a few episodes. My husband and I call SITC "The BJ Show." Rude, crude, unrefined, and what's up with SJP's narrow little ferret face and unattractive wardrobe?

As for McDreamy and his "Grey's" twin, McSteamy, I think they look like they prefer men more than hot chix like Meredith and Addison. And, as for "Made of Honor," my daughters and I think it's just a crass, commercial remake of that classic Chic Flick, "My Best Friend's Wedding." Every time I see Dempsey in an ad or a trailer for his new endeavor, I think of Julia Roberts in drag, only not as pretty.

Mr. Controversy said...

Chez, I pride myself on having a smart girlfriend and she even wants to see Made of Honor. I can deal with it because at least she only sees these types of movies because she sees them as light entertainment and not a gospel. (Thank god for that, too.) Nevertheless, her and I make bargains about what movies we see: I traded her 27 Dresses for Cloverfield, I traded her Employee of the Month, The Lake House, Mona Lisa Smile, and the 1960's Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella for the Indiana Jones Quadrology, and I'm trading her Made of Honor for Iron Man. Please tell me I'll make it through without wanting to set the building on fire, I don't think I can deal with another 27 Dresses. (By the way, am I the only one who sat through that hoping either The Infected from I Am Legend or good old Clovie from Cloverfield would show up during that borefest?)

BV said...

Look, relationships suck sometimes. It's hard to find a good man. Blah, blah, blah. Movies are about fantasy and if anybody who watches a romantic movie (or ANY movie for that matter) and thinks that they are going to find that in the real world...they are fucking idiots.

In the real world you're lucky to find a guy with a car, a job, who doesn't live with his parents and doesn't want to borrow money from you to take you out on a date/buy his drugs.

I'd honestly rather read a good book than watch a fucking movie anymore. My idea of a good romantic comedy is Love Actually.

I'm really not sure if I have a point.

tania said...

"God yes. I'd even take a drugged up RDjr over McDouchey

- Kara"

So much word!
RDjr is funny and sharp. Dempsey just makes me tired of his face.

Not that I care if he has a career - or if SJP has, either. It takes all sorts. They just aren't my cup of tea....

VOTAR said...

I have a job and a car, and I don't live with my parents.

And for the money to buy drugs, it's only fair that we go "halfsies."

NTP said...

So I'm probably going to end up seeing Sarah Marshall, Iron Man or Made of Honor this weekend (in that order of preference, although my preference won't really play a role). I’ve probably seen my fair share of chick flicks and usually manage to laugh my way through them, enjoying the lovely male eye candy. They never make me wish I wasn't single – hell, I’d rather be single than date most of the cardboard cutout characters that are the guys in those movies. So where in your categories do you put someone who will probably watch the movie anyway, and not subscribe to any of that Prince Charming crap?

Was Cloverfield good? I couldn’t make my mind up about that one?

schwa242 said...

Well, double Bucko on you!

About those colorful metaphors we discussed. I don't think you should try to use them.

DCThrowback said...

At least this was better than your horrible review of "Expelled". All the hatin' makes me think you need to get some McLovin', though.

Anonymous said...

I once heard 'vagina eyes' used as a description for Patrick Dempsey - somehow I have never looked at him the same way again......

gunter

Jenna said...

I'm a relatively smart girl. I'd like to think I have pretty good taste. I tend to watch things that are much, much better than this shit. And yet I'm also drawn to it, in a weird way that made me feel guilty for a long time.

And then I made the realization that you brought up in this article...chick flicks ARE porn for women. However, you say this and act like that's the ultimate diss. The analogies between this "female porn" and the usual concept of porn are almost incredible. Terrible dialogue? Check. Two-dimensional characters? Check. Encouraging fantasies in a way that promotes unrealistic expectations? Check--it's just that one's in a relationship and one's in bed. Kind of defines gender stereotypes right there. My only real problem with them is that they don't acknowledge that they're porn and actually include a bit more sex. There's really no reason they need to be so sterilized.

So I guess what I'm saying is: Do you think porm for men is quality film? Most men watch it anyway. The ones of either gender that you want to steer clear of are the ones that actually think it's good stuff. Other than that, why not let us indulge a bit? I stopped feeling guilty, at any rate.

bionic bunny! said...

"...fantasies designed to fuck women into an orgasmic frenzy with the gargantuan penis of unrealistic expectations..."

*sigh*
beautiful, just beautiful, chez! oh, you have such a way with words!

MG said...

Um, I just want to know where the phrase "porn for women" came from. Isn't PORN porn for women?

Just saying...

I don't find Dempsey so offensive, he's got good hair, whatever...I think he and SJP both just suffer from serious overexposure, which, as you say, is at the hands of hordes of sad brainwashed women. No reason to vilify them for making careers as actors. Not everyone can be Christian Bale.

The real problem with Made of Honor is the idea that anyone would leave Lucius Motherfucking Vorenus at the altar, for ANYONE, Dempsey or otherwise.

Mr. Controversy said...

NTP - For what it's worth, Cloverfield is EXCELLENT. But that's just my movie geek's opinion, it's not everyone's cup o' tea.

BV said...

Someone get Votar a cookie.

tania said...

"Um, I just want to know where the phrase "porn for women" came from. Isn't PORN porn for women?" mg

Nope, not really (IMO, anyway). Many women like to have their emotions engaged as well as their groins. Not ALL women, I'm sure, but many do. Ergo - chick flicks.

But yeah, they could do with adding more actual sex to those... ;-)

Manda said...

I don't know how you did it, but you somehow extracted the entirety of this post straight from my brain. Except the vitriol directed at SJP. Yes, she dressed like an organ grinder's monkey on that stupid show and she does have a horsey face. But in interviews she seems like a pretty decent person, so I can't hate on her but so much.

Rom-coms are escapist fantasy; some women, like this girlie, prefer their escapism to involve zombies or comic book heros or really cool gunplay.

Ironman better still be playing in theaters when I get out of the Big House or I might just spit.

John said...

Ironman? Okay WAY(!!) better than any romanta-wanta-be movie with Patrick Dempsey, but why is it that every good actor or great comedian wants to be an action hero? (Michael Keaton as Batman is my favorite example)

Robert Downey Jr. is a brilliant actor. I want to see his acting chops on the screen, not watch him catch the bad guys.

I don't trust a population who wants RDJ to be Ironman not to allow Dick Cheney to circumnavigate the rules even more and get "the idiot" re-elected for a third term.

Georgia said...

This movie is dreck and drivel. However, asserting that "only a woman could dream this up" is factually incorrect, and although it would be a vaguely nasty thing to say (and only ARGUABLY misogynist) if true, the fact that it is NOT true speaks volumes about your own preconceptions as to the kind of material women write and think about.

While many of your points are valid as to the kind of created societal preconceptions which drive the bullshit marketed to women, please don't make the lazy assumption that men aren't equally (in this case, more) responsible for the problem, either because they buy the myth too or (perhaps more likely) the fact that cynical manipulation drives this more than one squishy weak-minded woman writing to other squishy weak-minded women. Such an assumption drives articles/discourse declaring women "just plain dumb" (like the recent WA Post article that caused so much controversy), something which I think is pretty offensive.

IMDB entry:

Writing credits(WGA)
Adam Sztykiel (screenplay) and
Deborah Kaplan (screenplay) &
Harry Elfont (screenplay)


Adam Sztykiel (story)

Chez said...

Georgia --

I was aware of who wrote the film and was admittedly taking a bit of a cheap shot.

Still, 10 bucks says Adam Sztykiel is gay.

(I kid, I kid.)

Angela said...

I hardly qualify as a feminist, but what a horribly sexist review.

legallyblond76 said...

...from IDon'tLikeYouInThatWay:

"Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a goblin raped a horse, so even if Matthew Broderick isn't gay, he should probably just come out and say he is."

Even though I happen to be required, by gay law, to love Sarah Jessica Parker, I just couldn't let that one slide by without sharing.

-s-

the doctor said...

dude

Just saw a photo on CNN online of SJP at the premier of her likely god awful movie - man her arms/hands creep me out.

All the chicks in that film look like they have aged shitty. The nympho chick needs to fuck some more to lose some weight and cynthia nixon looks like she is ready for the nursing home.

Kristin Davis needs to do more home movies.