I was watching the Daily Show when I noticed a lot of ads for a movie called, “I Love You, Man.” Because I love feeling angry, apparently, I checked out the trailer!
Our protagonist (as it were) is going to get married, but, oh no! He has no Man Friends! Who will be his Best Man at the wedding? Clearly, the only solution is to go out on a lot of Man Dates to meet a new Man Friend specifically for the wedding. Obviously he can’t have a female friend fill the role, or his brother, or eliminate the role entirely. No, he must foray into the dangerous realm of Man Dating! Perils await him; in one hilarious incident, highlighted in the trailer, on of the Men that he Man Dates comments on the enjoyability of their Date, and then tries to kiss him! “With tongue?” “Oh yeah, deep in my mouth.” The horror.
In order to keep his Man Dating safely free of Teh Ghey, he does what any sensible person would do: starts Man Dating a complete asshole.
No, seriously. In the trailer, we see his Man Date walking his dog, and intentionally not picking up said dog’s poo. When a pedestrian (rightly!) tries to call him out on it, he screams like a maniac and scares said pedestrian away. “Society tells us to act civilized, but the truth is we’re animals,” he says. Later, he tells our protagonist’s girlfriend that because her fiance is kind enough to go down on her, she needs to reciprocate with blow jobs!
All I can think is, why does this movie exist? I just can’t get over the premise– that a guy without a male friend has to go and find one, any one, and that it’s good when said friend teaches him to “loosen up” by becoming a jerk. Seriously, I like the protagonist in the beginning– the guy who sincerely enjoys The Devil Wears Prada. He is interesting and also not an asshole. Why do we need to turn him into another, all-too-common masculinity-obsessed self-absorbed jerk? And why do we see this as him “having his own life”?? He had a life! A life that involves going to the movies with a woman that you like is still a life!
I’m extra skeeved-out by the fact that his wedding is the impetus for this “life change.” I think I might have to entirely call off movies that revolve around weddings. I can’t think of one that didn’t ultimately focus on upholding stupid gender norms and pigeonholing people because of them. Plus, the gay jokes. Attention, world: gay jokes are particularly mean-spirited in movies that focus on weddings, which gay people cannot have! Also, “this person is gay” is not a particularly funny punchline! “Someone thinks someone else is gay, but they’re actually straight!” is even less funny.
I’m thinking of Made of Honor (note the closing punchline of the trailer: “someone thinks the protagonist is gay!”), Bride Wars (tag line: “It makes up in sexism what it lacks in gay jokes!”), and possibly 27 Dresses (quote: “You can start over, and you can say no, and you can do what you want!” Which is marry a dude!).
I honestly feel faintly ridiculous whining about the wedding-industrial complex being sexist and heterosexist. It’s not really a surprise! But after reading about people in the feminist blogosphere working to subvert those traditions, and grappling with my own decision of when/if to expatriate, well, I’m just not in a generous mood. And I’m angry that a movie like “I Love You, Man” even needs to exist.