I’m aware that the title of this post may cause controversy, so first off the bat I’d like to say that overall I really enjoyed this film. It was funny, outrageous, and had a great empowering, female message. Well, kind of.
Which brings me to my first gripe:
Not all women want children. And that’s OK.
So we have Meg. A successful doctor, who delivers babies for a living, but has no desire to have any of her own. YES! Finally, I thought to myself: a strong independent woman who has made the decision not to have children, and isn’t demonised for it. What a great opportunity for the writers to sensitively present this as a perfectly acceptable life choice. How refreshing to see a…oh hold on. She’s been left alone with a cute baby. She’s a woman, so obviously in about 3 seconds her womb will have taken hold of her faculties, and she’ll catch baby fever. That’s how these things work. Biology and all that.
‘You’re not going to win me over,’ she tells the baby. Baby and I both look at her sceptically.
Hollywood likes to perpetuate the outdated myth that women without children are somehow incomplete or shall live to be filled with regret. A sentiment Meg echoes when she tells her sister to make sure she doesn’t miss out on the ‘important things’ in life. Because having a great career, friends, financial stability and health are so unimportant, obviously. Without going on a feminist rant, I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out the double standard: career men are perfectly acceptable whereas career women are portrayed as shallow/selfish/unfulfilled etc.
The only film I’ve seen that addressed this issue nicely was Sex and the City 2. When Carrie and Big announce they aren’t having children because it’s not for them, the general reaction is ‘fair enough.’ There’s only one couple that look at Carrie like she’s taken a shit on the floor, but they aren’t really given the time of day.
So anyway, 20 minutes on and Meg has found her dream sperm donor. 30 seconds later, she’s pregnant.
She ends up happy and settled with perfect Ken (Plop from The Office!), who promises to be a stay-at-home dad. Which is all very lovely, but I was just disappointed that the film wasted an opportunity to tell a different story of womanhood than the one we always see.
Main character with the charisma of a wet flannel
Now granted, the only other thing I’ve seen Dakota Johnson in is 50 Shades, and given that that was an insipid waste of 125 minutes, I thought it only fair to give her a second chance.
Enter Alice, every cliché of a 21 year old trying to ‘find herself.’ She boozes her way through her first week at her new job (and miraculously doesn’t get fired), bumbles her way through EVERY single interaction with the opposite sex, and needs a man’s help to reset her router. I mean…you just…I can’t even.
Later, her ex helps her get rid of the Spanish subtitles on her TV. ‘You’re so handy,’ she whispers breathlessly, setting women back 50 years.
I just didn’t like her. Instead of being relatable, her floundering her way through every scene was cringe-worthy, and made her character feel very two-dimensional. Someone please do Dakota a solid and write her an interesting character! Or at least one that can locate the power button on a router.
When she finally does get her life together, instead of feeling like you’ve seen her character grow and develop, you just want to roll your eyes at her. I just about resisted the slow hand clap during her moment of revelation because you know, public places and all that.
To her credit though, she does invent a machine that does your zip up for you. Sign me up for one of those bad boys.
“I’m not a surgeon”
OK, this one isn’t really an actual gripe (in fact, it was quite a funny part of the movie), but when one of the characters cites the above as his reason for NEVER washing his hands, every fibre of my being shuddered. Just. So. Horrifying.
And now for the good parts
Like I said, I actually really did enjoy this movie. I just didn’t love it like I thought I would.
There are some truly laugh-out-loud moments, mostly courtesy of Rebel Wilson, who apparently hogged all the personality, charisma, and good-writing for herself. Selfish cow.
It’s definitely worth a watch with your girlfriends. And later, after a couple of glasses of wine you’ll all be declaring your love for each other while casually trying to cover up the fact you’re welling up. Because above all this film’s message is all about not letting life pass you by, and cherishing what really matters: your girlfriends that will be there for you no matter what.