Thursday, February 6, 2014

Are Men the New Rom-Com Protagonists?

Last weekend, That Awkward Moment, the boys-can-have-feelings-too comedy, came out in theaters.  Starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller, Awkward is about a trio of guy friends who begin secretly dating girls behind each other's backs.  I haven't seen it, so that's what I've gathered from random bits here and there online.  It opened at the number 3 at the box office. 

Yesterday, I saw a trailer for the bromantic comedy Cavemen, starring Skylar Astin.  He plays a guy lovesick that his best guy friend starts dating his best girl friend, played by Camilla Belle.  Much like Awkward, it looks like a piece of crap, but a thought occurred to me.  Are romantic comedies now going to start starring men as the insipid leads?  Are men going to run around like total assholes in search for the one girl that got away?  Are the tables turning?!  What the hell is going on?!

Originally, I thought I should be rejoicing.  Perhaps this means something is totally changing.  With movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire becoming the highest grossing movie of 2013 and Frozen still holding on strong, perhaps it's the girls time to rule.  Maybe we are starting to see the beginning of a more gender integrated box office.  I realize that both Awkward and Cavemen star mostly guys, so it's not like these movies give any really great parts to women.  It appears the girls are just the fucktoys in these movies.  The women probably make the men realize "a great truth about themselves" or "make the man the person they need to be."  Or they could be the girls that show up and bang the dudes.  I don't know!  I haven't seen either of the movies to know.  I am holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, 2013 was not a fluke, and we will still see more women in intelligent roles in smartly written movies.  

It just appears, at least on the surface from the trailers, that finally the men are getting a taste of their own medicine.  What would happen if Zac Efron or Skylar Astin were stuck in creative movie role purgatory?  What if the roles were reversed and Michael B. Jordan became "American's Sweetheart" and could only get roles like in Addicted to Love, Forces of Nature, or 27 Dresses?  Surely, I am not the only one that has noticed that overly formulaic rom-coms have diminished.  We haven't seen Katharine Heigl posing stupidly with Gerard Butler.  We haven't been bombarded with Jennifer Aniston standing next to a scruffy man recently.  Give women better parts!  Let the men suffer for a change!

I wouldn't wish romantic comedy hell on anyone, to be honest.  Jordan is a fantastic actor (proof: Fruitvale Station).  Astin is charming (see Pitch Perfect).  Efron seems to have lost some of his momentum as an actor, but he got nice notices for last year's At Any Price.  His transition from Disney idol to serious young actor appears to be a bit rocky, but he's still fun.  And sweet Jesus, they are all nice to look at.  In addition to men starring in these pieces of garbage, will we at least see some equal male nudity?!  Shallow, yes, but don't even get me started on that.  I am sure many a woman was hoping Leonardo DiCaprio showed as much as Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street.

I'm holding out for full frontal.

Maybe I'm crazy.  Maybe these two movies just happen to be coming out near in each other.  I, however, am holding out hope.  

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see if Zac Efron sings into a hairbrush with his bros in a musical sequence somewhere.  If it doesn't exist, it should.  Or it might be coming to a theater near you.  

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