Thursday, July 23, 2009
In Praise Of Love Stories That Don't Insult The Audience
I hope that new movie starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler fails spectacularly. I want it to land in theaters with a thud, and for that thud to echo in the silence. I want the echo to reverberate all the way to the Hollywood offices of the people who green-lit another generic, candy-coated romantic comedy starring two gorgeous actors masquerading as regular people.
I don't have anything against Heigl and Butler, but for God's sake. The trailer for "The Ugly Truth" all but says, "Hey, women! You'll go see this because it's about romance and Gerard Butler may be shirtless at some point."
A romantic movie I'm much (much) more hopeful about is "Adam," the story of a woman (Rose Byrne) who falls for a man (Hugh Dancy) with Aspbergers Syndrome. Maybe "Adam" will turn out to be one of those too-quirky-for-its-own-good flicks, but the trailer is completely charming. Dancy doesn't appear to be playing his character as over-the-top odd, and at one point he says, "I'm not Forrest Gump, you know."
My interest in this movie is somewhat personal: My 9-year-old son is somewhere at the so-called mild end of the autism spectrum, and I've often wondered how he will navigate romantic relationships once he grows up. Like Dancy's Adam, he is personable and handsome, but he doesn't always grasp the subtleties of social communication. I hate the idea of that making life harder for him, but he's come a long way — and he's hardly alone. I'm sure there are plenty of adults on the spectrum who found love (all relationships are imperfect), and it's cool that a filmmaker is offering up that perspective.
"Adam" will probably make less in six months than "The Ugly Truth" will rake in opening weekend, but just knowing that it exists makes me feel better.