People Are Awful
Don’t you just hate people? Sure, once in a while they give us “Ode to Joy” or the moon landing or Hershey’s Kisses or The Simpsons, but usually it’s reality TV and spray cheese and genocide and sequels to wars. And movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Deliver Us from Eva. So maybe it’s not a coincidence that these movies are populated by people like the people who make you say things like “Don’t you just hate people?”: petty, mean-spirited, selfish, inconsiderate, and all-about miserable excuses for human beings.
And maybe if these movies could sustain the wretchedness and make their characters at least consistently miserable excuses for human beings, their half-assed attempts at satire would actually be satirical. But no. Just when you’ve worked yourself up into quite a snit at how really rotten these people are, we’re supposed to suddenly like them and sympathize with them and want them to do well in the world merely because they’ve fallen in love, like it’s such an accomplishment, or as if all the world really did love a lover. God, it’s horrible to be around people who are desperately in love, especially when they’re together: they slobber all over each other and if you dare to ask a simple question like “So how did you guys meet?” you get squeals and a dissertation on the bizarre and supposedly wonderful coincidences that bring two people together who are simply perfect for each other.
You can imagine Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), in all her skinny blond perkiness, clapping her hands with delight while Matthew McConaughey (Reign of Fire, Frailty), in all his faux-charming skeeviness, smiles indulgently next to her. “Ohmigod,” Kate squeals, “this is the funniest story! See, I was working at one of those horrible women’s magazines — you know, the kind that tells impressionable young women that they’re too fat and they’re not having sex right and their lives are a disaster.”
“And Ah was working for an ad agency,” says Matt, oozing his oiliness all over the room, “and Ah was fighting for the new diamond account.”
And you’re there, rolling your eyes and scarfing down your drink because intoxicated is the only way you’re going to endure this story, and you think: This is too perfect. She’s selling low self-esteem and an impossible image of femininity and he’s selling pieces of rock mined by slave labor and made artificially scarce by evil monopolies. Maybe they really are made for each other.
Oh, and their names are Andie Anderson and Benjamin Barry. Isn’t that so cute? Couldn’t ya just puke?
“And Ah was–” Matt begins to ooze till Kate interrupts him.
“Oh no, honey, let me tell this part!” And she makes more girly hand gestures. “This is the funniest part! His friends bet him he couldn’t maintain a long-term relationship — for, like, 10 days — with a woman, and they picked me, except I was writing a funny article on how to lose a guy in 10 days, you know, all those goofy dumb things women do to drive men away. So I was doing all these naughty things to make him crazy, and he was doing all these sweet romantic things to make me fall in love with him.”
They snuggle and cuddle and make baby talk and you’re thinking: These are people who have no problem being deliberately cruel to another person as long as they have no intention of maintaining a relationship with them? And wait — they think you can run the course of a “relationship” in a week and a half? Christ, they really do deserve each other.
And then LL Cool J (Rollerball, Charlie’s Angels) and Gabrielle Union (Abandon, Welcome to Collinwood) saunter over, arm in arm, scoffing merrily at this amateur tale of meeting cute. “That’s nothing, girl,” says Gabrielle to Kate. “I was such a uptight, busybody pain in the ass–”
“Now don’t sugarcoat it, baby,” says LL. They exchange a glance and a giggle and it’s all you can do to keep from jumping up and smacking them both. “She was such an interfering hardass that her sisters’ boyfriends and husbands had to hire me to get her away from them.”
“Those rascals!” giggles Gabrielle. They snog for a moment and you want to scream. “Who’d have thought that all I really needed was to get laid by a hunk of man like LL here to turn into a decent, respectable person?”
“Or that all I really needed,” says LL, “was to lie and deceive and cheat and feel bad for doing it on a salary? It never bothered me when I did it for free, but money really does change everything, doesn’t it?”
And you’re thinking: Crap, women really are simpleminded idiots if they buy this junk, and men really are simpleminded idiots if they buy this junk, too.
God, I hate people.