Why I decided to go and see this movie
The film is out on general release in the UK today (08/06/12) and my friend had FREE tickets to see it last night. I had heard briefly about the film, and the title alone was enough to tell me that I didn't want to see it, but I knew that this film would be something that my sister would enjoy. As my friend had offered me the tickets I decided to go with my sister (who has kids!).
I watched the trailer yesterday morning in order to get an idea as to what the film was about. I couldn't just assume that it would be bad based on its title, right?! A good example of that is Cougar Town. I love that show, but would never have watched it if my friend hadn't insisted I give it a try. Like any self-respecting woman I was put off by the title and premise that was advertised. I turns out it was only a single episode that linked to the shows title. Anyway, that's a tangent I hadn't scheduled to go off on...the trailer didn't fill me with any curiosity or burning desire to see it. In actual fact I was thinking that I would rather sit through Cabin in the Woods again as opposed to seeing this film. I should add that **shock confession** I am not a fan of Cabin in the Woods.
A summary of what sort of happened
There are a six friends, two are happily married with a child, two are happily married without children and are always having sex and two are not together but are single and good friends. I think the movie begins with the single man called Jason getting a phone call from the single woman called Julie. Both are in bed with other people. This is the point that the viewer gets to learn that Jason is a womanizer with commitment issues and that Jules is looking for the one but still needs sex occasionally whilst she looks. Jules also has a game that she plays with Jason which I shall affectionately call 'Ways to die', whereby she gives Jason two options and he has to pick one. For all intense and purposes the writers have set Jason up in the gay best friend role but without being gay. So, these two are talking one night and decide that they both want children and agree that it would be so much easier to have a child with someone if you didn't have the complications of a relationship (after they notice their friends with kids are all miserable, shouty and mean...you still with me?! Not fallen into a coma yet then?)...and they decide eventually that they would be great parents together, they have sex (just the once mind) and hey presto after that one night of passion we are whisked nine months down the line with Jules pushing out a baby boy who they call Joe. Get it, get it? Jason, Julie and Joe - awwww, bleugh! Maybe I should have mentioned my MCD - movie cynicism disorder. Anyway, as you may have guessed - if you haven't then you really don't watch movies do you? - but they both date and meet prospective long term partners, four years later realise they are in love with each other and then get together. Whilst their friends Lesley and Alex have had another child and are happy enough together, and their other friends someone played by Kristen Wiig and someone played by Jon Hamm broke up.
What annoyed me about this film
Where do I start? Seriously, where...do...I...start! A list is going to be the easiest way to share the annoyances...
Jason (Adam Scott) who is a womanizer, even though he isn't all that and a bag of chips, uses the word 'doll' in every sentence, for example;
- Hey doll, how was work?
- Don't ask so many questions doll.
This annoyed me the first time he said it, but every time he opened his mouth a doll fell out (that doesn't sound right, hmm), and five minutes in I just wanted to punch him in the face the next time he said it. Extreme I know, and in reality I would have just nodded and smiled, but it is the 21st century and that film was set in NYC and he wasn't an aging crooner.
The friends were supposed to be a year apart in age, and that age being (at the start of the film's story) mid-thirties and by the end in their late-thirties, and was only believable of Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd. Jennifer Westfeldt looked about mid-late forties as did Mr. Hamm and Ms. Wiig was hovering around the early forties mark. I have just googled Jennifer and she is 42 (so now I feel a bit bad), Hamm is 41, Wiig is 38, O'Dowd is 32 , Scott is 38, and Rudolph is 39. Wow! Anyway, that wasn't my issue about the age, there was a moment in the film when the friends of Jason and Jules were discussing the reasons that they thought their friends wanted to have a child together. Obviously, Jules is old and needs to have a kid now or she will be too old to later. Yes, they brought up that window of Procreatunity! They also said that maybe Jason feels sorry for her, because she is so old (mid-thirties) and he wants to help her out. After all, he can have kids anytime. You should be so proud of me for not walking out - or maybe not, I should have.
Continuity. I know that they do their best, but usually if you are looking for continuity errors then you have to google them and find some film obsessive who has found them, and named and shamed them This film just made them obvious.
- At one point, Jules picks up her son Joe to take him to bed, when she picks him up he is wearing one sock, when she leaves the room he is wearing two again.
- Jason is carrying Joe and his T-shirt has gotten all bunched up and for the most part it stays that way, as a conversation goes back and forth between Jason and Jules and then it is all neat and tidy. I guess the baby sorted himself out - 8 month olds are liable to do that, don't you know!
- A disturbing scene with a screaming baby with explosive diarrhea, Jason's young girlfriend (Megan Fox) is in the doorway, he is trying to mop up some of the poo as he changes the baby's nappy - which may I add has no poo in it, or alternatively it was thrown away already, which you wouldn't do with a screaming child who is clinging on to you, you would keep mopping and add to the pile and then throw it away, surely? Anyway, when you see Jason cleaning the baby Joe, Joe is clinging on to his shirt but from the doorway when you are looking in from the girlfriends view, the baby is not holding on to him, and then he is, and then he isn't, oh! wait he is, oh no...he isn't.
- A supposed moving scene in the last five minutes where Jason is declaring his eternal and everlasting love for Jules, he is very passionate and his eyes fill with tears and then we see Jules welling up, and then in a split second we see Jason dry eyed and having to well up from scratch again.
I am sure there are more that I just didn't notice.
There were a lot of references to the tightness/sagginess of Julies vagina after the baby. It wasn't just one conversation - which would have been funny enough - but several times which was just too funny, actually, it really wasn't. Hilariously, there was a fair bit of focus on Jules getting back to her pre-baby body - running etc, and even a moment where she asks Jason if he thinks she is ok to get naked in front of anyone yet and reveals her body...his reply, maybe in two or more weeks, five maximum. Hilarious stuff!
The introduction of new partners is pretty much a walking talking cliche ridden section of the movie. I understand that you cant avoid stereotypes and cliches after all they exist, but sometimes I do wish that there could be just one character in a movie who was human. So Jules new love interest is a divorced man of equal age with children and a good job, also attractive and is played by Edward Burns and Jason's new love interest is a much younger, very beautiful successful west end dancer/actress, who performs gymnastic feats in the bedroom, wows on the stage and is his perfect woman (which he lovingly tells us earlier in the film is a woman with big tits!), this character was played by **shocking casting decision** Megan Fox!
There were a lot of references to Law, which seemed completely out of place as she was an assistant working for a wealthy man who wanted to donate to charity and she got t o assess applications, and he was in advertising. What!! I know what you're thinking, that she is this demure kind hearted woman who is trying to do some good and he is a womanising advertising exec and how completely stereotyped that is, but I think you should focus on the positive thinking outside the box that has gone on here....they didn't cast Jon Hamm in the role!
The film has a restaurant scene at the beginning and a similar scene occurred towards the end, and it was to do with people (parents) taking their small children to fancy restaurants in the evenings. It was pointless and added no value to the film - especially as what was supposed to be about friends with kids was really about friendship turning into love, although I wonder if they would have got together if they hadn't had a child together - they hadn't in the previous 19 years of best friendship.
Final point to be made here...Jules realises that she is in love with Jason and eventually she tells him, he rejects her, she is heartbroken and moves away but maintains a friendly relationship for the benefit of their son Joe. A year or so later, Jason realises that he has been a fool and that he loves Julie, after all and I quote 'she is like a part of me, a part of my body, a limb or something' and goes to her house and reveals that he has realised that he loves her, and no its not because he is lonely or desperate. Julie does womankind proud by rejecting him but he has unnerved her. He leaves and then decides to go back. He turns up at her door again, banging and ringing bells (even though the kid is in bed!) and she lets him in - he declares his love once again and does she tell him to get lost, that he cant just expect her to be available physically and emotionally whenever he is ready, that whatever she felt for him last year has changed and she has moved on and he needs to too, OF COURSE NOT!!! she welcomes him into her arms after a very romantic gesture WARNING: sensitive types stop reading now before you get swept up in it all, the romantic gesture being...
I want to fu*k the sh*t out of you!
Now, my sister claims that I am a harsh critic but I'm not - I watch enough rubbish movies - I think my problem is that I am at that point where I want more from a film than just male/female objectification, social stereotypes and predictable jokes.
I don't doubt that my MCD has influenced this review, but it is a film best left for watching when it is on TV and maybe then just have it play in the background.
For fairness though...IMDB reviewers have given it a 6.2, Rotten Tomatoes have given it 64% , Metascore is 55/100.
I give it a 5/10 - just because some people in the cinema seemed entertained, and also because they hadn't gone for a total piece of male eye-candy as the lead - like Josh Duhamel. I have just seen that it is written and produced by Jennifer Westfeldt too. Which explains about the obsession with being old and not having children, of having to find the one, and obsessing over vagina tightness and body issues - all things women unnecessarily obsess over - but the drawback is its embarrassing to be a woman and know that a woman wrote this pile of dung. That is harsh, I know but I believe in equality for everyone and that includes the sexes, and films like this don't help us in anyway at all. People think that because it is written by a woman then its acceptable to present women in this fashion. I don't think it is. I keep the faith that one day a woman will write a film that will be funny and intelligent and won't centre around an obsession about being single in your thirties and not having a man in your life. I only ask for one film, just one.
Well, I didn't expect that to end in a mini-rant! I urge you all to see the film and make up your own mind but just be warned!