“Made of Honor” has gloss and bounce and some of the core elements of a mainstream chick flick/date movie. Sexiest Man Alive runner-up in lead role? Yep, Dr. McDreamy himself. I’ve been a Patrick Dempsey fan since he did the African anteater dance in Can’t Buy Me Love. Does he get his comeuppance? In a romantic comedy, it’s always a good thing if someone gets a comeuppance. Yes, that’s here, too. And much of the movie concerns wedding plans, usually a reliable plot line. Consistent with wedding custom, it has something old (boy meets girl, boy loses girl…), something new (we’ll get back to that later), something borrowed (the plots of “The Wedding Planner,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” half a dozen “Friends” episodes featuring Ross and Rachel, etc. etc.), and something blue (some of the humor pushes the PG-13 limits to the edge). But it leaves out a few other essentials.
Ten years after college, Tom still sleeps with as many beautiful women as possible, not-so-gently informing each of them that he has “rules” — no one gets him two nights in a row, no one gets to visit his apartment, no one meets his family, etc. etc. The one constant in his life is his weekly time with college pal Hannah (Michelle Monaghan of “Gone Baby Gone”), his best friend. When she returns from a six-week business trip to Scotland engaged to a bonny broth of a Mr. Right (think the Laird of Right), Tom suddenly realizes that it is Hannah he truly loves. She wants him to be her Maid of Honor and he accepts because he thinks it will help him stop the wedding and prove to Hannah that he’s the one.
Despite Dempsey’s charm and charisma, the character he plays is hard to root for, more a male fantasy than a female one. The screenwriters and director seem mystified by women and sometimes even downright misogynistic, never a good thing in a chick flick. Women all take one look at tom and sigh, endlessly willing to do anything from write their phone numbers on Starbucks coffee cups to jump into (or back into) bed with him, one even yelling “Service me!” Three different times, the movie makes fun of an elderly lady who mistakes a sex toy (glow in the dark!) for a necklace. Not funny even once. Tom is immature and self-centered. He has no job, no interest in anything but hanging out with his basketball-playing buddies, having sex with many different girls, and his weekly date with Hannah, which is primarily about making him feel good. Even when she gets engaged, it never occurs to him to think about what would make her happy. The movie avoids the usual formula of making the designated loser in the marriage sweepstakes obviously wrong for Hannah but forgets to substitute some other reason to root for Tom. As happens too often these days, the movie relies on vulgarity instead of wit, insults instead of banter, and recycled ideas instead of anything fresh. It is so sloppy it does not know the difference between a blog and a post or between a museum conservator and a curator and has homophobic (literally) locker-room humor that would be considered childish by 14-year-olds. When the highlights of the movie are seeing Dempsey juggle china and a wedding video featuring Elizabeth Hasselbeck, you know the script is a couple of bridesmaids short of a wedding party.
The Washington Post has a great photo of my friend Ally Burguieres playing video games with her mother and sister. The article says:
Women and girls make up 40 percent of the gamer population, according to the Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry’s trade group. And with game software sales at $9.5 billion last year, companies are paying closer attention to the titles women seek out…
For years, the video game industry spent its marketing dollars on trying to get guys excited about the latest sports or shoot-’em-up title. It was generally assumed that women and girls weren’t interested.
But that started to change in 2004, says industry analyst Michael Pachter, when Nintendo launched its DS portable game system, named for its dual screens. Its features stretched the notion of what a video game is — and who might want to play.
Women gamers even have their own website. And this is a delightful Amazon list of games for “women with lives.” It wasn’t that long ago that it was assumed that women would not be interested in games. Sheri Graner Ray, who says she got into the game industry in the first place “Because it was the only industry where I could list 15 years of running “Dungeons and Dragons” games on my resume as valid job experience!” She wrote a book about “gender inclusive game design.” Microsoft’s xBox brochure tells its buyers “Here are some things you might want to tell your wife this thing does.” Maybe with the next upgrade they will remember that women like Ally Burguieres, currently studying for her PhD in linguistics, don’t need anyone to explain it to them. Women are not just playing, they are entering tournaments.
Late last year, Nancy Davies, an 84-year-old woman living in a retirement community, defeated a real-life bowling champion in a Wii Sports tournament. She had been playing for only one year.
In honor of my son’s birthday this week, my DVD pick is one of his childhood favorites: Rocketeer. Based on a comic book that recreated the deco feel of the pre-WWII era, this Disney movie has a 1940s feel — with 1990s special effects. Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell) is a stunt flyer who discovers a contraption designed by Howard Hughes that, when strapped to his back and combined with a helmet for steering, allows him to fly. The equipment is being sought by the U.S. government and by thugs in the employ of sleek Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton), a swashbuckling movie star and Nazi sympathizer. Not a box office success when it first opened (“Terminator 2” opened the same week), it has been more successful on DVD because of its exciting story, top-notch performances (with Bill Campbell, sometime James Bond Timothy Dalton and Oscar-winners Jennifer Connelly and Alan Arkin), and gorgeous visual design and effects. It’s is the kind of movie they say they don’t make anymore, an old-fashioned popcorn pleasure with action, adventure, romance, a zeppelin, a pretty girl, and a guy who straps a rocket on his back and soars into the sky. NOTE: The movie has some comic-book style violence and some tense and scary moments. One of the bad guys has a misshapen face that may be upsetting to younger kids.
I’ve got a cute baseball-type cap for the new animated movie “Igor” — it goes to the first person to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Igor” in the subject line.
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