Love’s a Hitch
It looks like a chick flick, but don’t let that fool you, guys: When you get dragged along to Hitch this weekend, because it’s Valentine’s Day and for some reason you have to do whatever your ladyfriend wants because some greeting-
No, not that fantasy: the other fantasy that every man has, that he deserves a supermodel as a girlfriend, no matter how much of a schlub he is. C’mon, admit it: Every ordinary schmoe thinks he rates having some five-
And Hitch will put the stamp of approval on that fantasy: of course a supermodel would want to date a lumpy, balding, clumsy oaf. No, wait: she wouldn’t just want to date him, she’d find his boorish idiocy downright adorable. What’s more, Hitch will propose that there’s really nothing wrong with men at all, no matter how sloppy or incoherent or boring they are — it’s women who ruin everything by just not giving sloppy, incoherent, boring guys a chance. So guys, relax, don’t worry, everything is fine: It’s perfectly okay for you to decide based on physical appearance alone that you want a date with a certain gal, and — as Hitch will confirm — it’s perfectly okay to condemn women for rejecting you on the same basis.
*sigh* Double standards never go away — they just keep shifting so that there’s always some reason to berate women for behaving like men.
(Oh, and guys, don’t worry — you won’t be forced to watch any fat ugly chicks here or anything like that. No one is going to make you think you might have to settle for less than centerfold perfection, and for gawd’s sake, you will not have to endure the spectacle of some fat ugly over-
See, Alex “Hitch” Hitchens engineers meetings between extraordinary women and the ordinary joes who lust after them, and he’s so successful that he’s become practically an urban legend in New York — the guy who makes dreams come true for men. Apparently none of the gorgeous women ever fail to be tricked into falling for their stalkers. Oh, the film goes out of its way to pretend that there’s nothing exploitive or wrong or icky about any of this, going so far as to cast the thoroughly charming Will Smith (Shark Tale, I, Robot) as Hitch. He’s like the new Tom Hanks, the regular, wholesome guy whom everyone loves, even your mom, so he can get away with saying things like “With no guile and no game there’s no girls,” and everyone still goes “Awwww, he’s sooo cute, isn’t he? And a nice guy, too.”
I say “extraordinary women,” but really, it’s more like “extraordinary-
Like how by the time we get to Will Smith doing his trademark stumbling-
Oh, and guys, I forgot to mention: Don’t be fooled, either, by the sophisticated sheen this movie is giving off. It may think it’s Tracy-
There’s lot of fantasy at work in Bride & Prejudice, too, though here it’s of the all-
And that’s because director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) — cowriting with Paul Mayeda Berges — was brilliant enough to use Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice as her basis for a crosscultural romantic comedy. Austen’s perceptiveness about human behavior was so keen that she saw through all the trappings of time and place to hone in on the fundamentals of how men and women think and feel, so that — as Bride demonstrates so splendidly — you can move the story up two hundred years to the 21st century and change the ostensible conflicts from those of economic class to those of globally diverse culture… and it all still works.
So Elizabeth Bennet becomes Lalita Bakshi (the almost unbearably gorgeous Aishwarya Rai), eldest daughter of a fairly well-
You already know the rest of the story — Darcy is, as he has been for two centuries, the perfect match, the perfect foil for an intelligent woman, as Lalita will eventually come to realize. But just as Austen only gets better the more you read her, there’s no excuse for not indulging in the exquisite perfection of Bride, which is as funny and as wise as Austen’s book… and maybe even more so, just for pointing out so wittily how little the prerequisites of female respectability have changed since Austen’s time. (“Don’t say anything too intelligent,” Mrs. Bakshi warns her daughters before meeting a man who might want to marry one of them. Unlike Hitch, though, which celebrates them, Bride laments, as Pride did, the constraints and inequities of male/
Bride & Prejudice is one of those rare films that I never wanted to be over — I sat through the end credits out of a sheer inability to let the film slip away from me. If Chadha got it in her head to redo all of Austen like this, I’d be there for all of it.