anti rom-com that makes you laugh until it hurts
What Can Be Learnt
The HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER ROUTINE has changed. Virginity, marriage and children are no longer compulsory, notes the New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis in the review of this film. Indeed, they aren’t. Excuse my soulless comparison, but it’s similar to the way the communication funnel: see ad on TV/paper, go to store, be reminded of ad, buy has diversified into a chaos of disconnected points. While the freedom of choice and the liberation from a standardized pattern should make us happier, it seems to be creating disorientation, heartbreaks and dysfunctionality. Director Leslye Headland is trying to show just that, but it goes too far and anyway pushes everything towards – spoiler alert – the same conventional happy ending still desired, despite the general thrashing of the institution of marriage. More on how she does that later. A character and some members of the audience looked at Lainey, the lead female character at the beginning of the movie, and tagged her a whore. The movie shows later how she’s not a whore, she’s just a bit twisted, lost. So is the lead male character. And although he keeps it more outside his pants than inside, no one calls him any names. People around him try to offer him therapy, but the tone is not judgmental. Yet, this is not a manifesto against double standardization. The HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER ROUTINE makes people unhappy, but breaking away from it does the same. It is no longer mandatory to follow it, yet our popular culture and the definition of success insist on it. The issue is that the former one is just as confused and confusing as the reality it is trying to mirror, instead of looking for insights and understanding why. There is less wit, less energy, and too much psychoanalysis. There is less chemistry and more chatter. There is less surprise and more boredom. Whether it’s too much tradition or too many middle fingers raised in the face of it. Cinema has gone through different social and cultural changes during its 110 year history and it seems it has done it with a lot more grace and balance.
What’s the Movie About
Lainey and Jack are two friends who are actually meant for each other, but who make strenuous efforts not to sleep with each other in order not to ruin their friendship. They do have a past together, losing their virginity to each other. Over 10 years later, they meet at a sex addict meeting because she is obsessed with a duchebag and he is a serial cheater. The movie tracks their funny-wannabe conversations and here and there smiles and laugh-out-load reactions are stolen from the audience (guilty!). However, as much as it tries to attack every single romantic clichés, the movie ends – again, spoiler alert – with the same magical moment. Indeed, it’s done originally…but there is a certain disconnect between the indie, nonconventional vibe throughout the movie and the end. Except for the ending credits which offers a behind-the-scenes improve in a seemingly down to earth marriage. Hearts and faces get crushed in this movie, as it reaches melodramatic tones and crazy intensity. It’s too complicated and then it becomes too simple, therefore making it a tad un-believable.
What’s the Key Take-Away
Love is dead, long live love. The old ways have gone and we celebrate their disappearance as much as we dread it. If you are in the dating scene right now, this movie will either make you cry because it reminds you are entangled in this messed-up pot of emotions or it will make you feel good, knowing that it might actually be worse than what you’re going through right now.