Thursday, November 22, 2007

Revenge of the
Nerds: Part Two

I'm continuing to collect reviews and articles about
"the new comedy of the sex-
es," both studio and indie, wherein the (disheveled) geek gets the (hot) girl. Click here for part one. I haven't given up on the form, but as the following critics note, women are the real losers in these scenarios.

From Dave Kehr's review of Social Issues in American Film:

When the infantile hero of Knocked Up decides to reform
and become a responsible parent, he manages to land a job,
sign a lease on a fabulous apartment and conjure up room-
fuls of furniture on credit—all during a single montage se-
quence. This despite being an undocumented alien (a Can-
adian!) with a drug habit but no college degree or work experience.

From Carina Chocano's review of Lars and the Real Girl:

Lars and the Real Girl may be a self-consciously cute, low-budget art-house comedy, but its central conceit is a perfect metaphor for what's happened to male and female characters in mainstream comedies. He's a schlub, she's beautiful. He's active, she's passive. He's maladjusted, she's placid. He's unreliable and immature, she's patient and forgiving. He's funny and charming, she's conventional and dull. He's the subject, she's the object."

Click here for my review of Lars & the Real Girl. Incidentally,
the "girl" in question is actually a love doll, so you can't really compare her to Katherine Heigl's character in Knocked Up...
or can you? Either way, Chocano hits the nail on the head with
her metaphor. These women might as well be made of silicon.

And from Amy Taubin's eulogy for mumblecore:

[Joe] Swanberg has explain-

ed that he was moved to make Kissing [on the Mouth] as a rejoinder to what he felt was the buttoned-up quality of [Andrew] Bujalski’s Funny Ha Ha. And indeed, his greatest talent is for getting at-
tractive, seemingly intelligent women to drop their
clothes and evince sexual interest in an array of slob-
by guys who suffer from severely arrested emotion-
al development. Swanberg is the DIY Judd Apatow.

Click here for part three

Endnote: Like Taubin, I prefer Bujalski—and Aaron Katz—

to Swanberg. Click here for my review of Bujalski's Mutual Ap-
preciation and here for Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs.
Like Katz's films, Dance Party USA and Quiet City, it doesn't sell
its female protagonist (Rachel Clift's Ellie) short. Lars and the
Real Girl, which is worth seeing for Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer, continues at the Harvard Exit. Incidentally, Justin Rices's band, Bishop Allen, is featured in the new Sony TV ad
(Rice takes the lead in Mutual Appreciation). Taubin's right:
mumblecore est mort. Film stills from Bright Lights Film Journal.

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