I’d Offer to Carry Something For You, But I Wouldn’t Want to Mess With Your Empowerment
As I perused the aisles of blockbuster for a decent action flick conducive to adrenaline-pumping romance with my boyfriend, my guts were suddenly clutched by the sight of this pink-framed, psychotic barbie staring at me from the shelves. With one mischievously-raised eyebrow, she held a fork near her mouth where a tiny, helpless groom was impaled on the tines. The title, accompanied by her maniacal grin, could only mean one thing: this movie would definitely piss me off. Instead of merely rolling my eyes, I plucked it from the display and read the back.
Clarissa has every detail of her wedding planned. She has the dress tailored, the invitations labeled, and the due date set. Now all she needs is a groom! A Hollywood “it” girl who knows all the players, Clarissa finds herself turning 32 and realizes that although she can get any hot celebrity on the phone, at home, she’s all alone. She decides it’s time to get hitched, and starts planning her own wedding with the confidence that she can hook a husband using the same cunning and guile she uses to navigate the Hollywood social scene. Sarah Chalke stars along with Judy Greer, Gregory Harrison, and Maria Conchita Alonso. Based on the best-selling novel by real-life Hollywood player Gigi Levangie Grazer, Maneater recounts the hilarious adventures of one woman’s search for true love in the land of fake boobs.
Gulp. Flushed with agitation at the blatant sexism depicted in the summary, I wisely chose to put it back where I got it… until Patrick (said-boyfriend) chimed in, “Why don’t we get that one, too?”
Fierce negation electrified my gaze as I curtly replied, “No fucking way.”
“Why not?” he pursued, intrigued.
“Because it would definitely piss me off.”
He immediately snatched it from the rack and countered, “Then we’ll watch this one first.”
Okay, I thought. Fine. Maybe it will be funny. Maybe it won’t be as bad as it seems. Worst case scenario, I’ll blog about it.
So, ladies and gents, it has come to this: the worst case scenario. But here’s the problem: there was so much to barf at, I’m not sure I can make a quality post about all of it. So here are just a few things that can be found in this Lifetime Original movie:
- Ageism – The intense emphasis on the horrors of getting older (without a man) is borderline-ridiculous. The insinuation that women are no longer cool, attractive, nor fashionable once they breach the 30-year mark is deeply embedded. (Actual quote: “Haven’t you heard? 20 is the new 9!”) However, the worst-fathomable consequence of aging is the inability to obtain a husband (Actual quote: “What I have to offer has a shelf life!”) – which is what the entire movie is about.
- Sexism – I can’t even begin to describe every disgusting nuance and rude comment, but how about this: one of the Main Character’s friends is smeared, to her face, as a “feminazi” by a southern “gentleman” who claims to “know how to treat a lady” – a lie that the audience is made to believe, since he was offering to push in her chair for her. She later falls in love with him, offering viewers an example of a “happy ending” for a frustrated girl with “daddy issues” who typically falls for married jerk-offs. And, btw, ALL relationship issues that women experience somehow track back to their paternal intimacy.
- Racism – I was floored to see this issue surface. The expectation of sexism was a no-brainer and the ageism was inevitable… but the racism was a bit of a shock. To begin with, Clarissa’s arch “frenemy” is a woman of color – absolutely gorgeous – and, at first, I didn’t catch on. This chick was fierce. But the running theme of the movie was that Clarissa stole every man she ever had away from her. That bugged me. I thought, Every man? Really? Not even a friendly back-and-forth? I was about to consider myself oversensitive when, suddenly, enter the pool-boy love-interest, Pablo. A lilly-white-girl with super-conservative, upper-class fam falls for gardener/pool-boy/caterer and her true love inspires her to bravely, occasionally, subtly request acceptance of other cultures. Okay… but then Pablo’s friends are all ex-cons – that he met while in prison – and not one of them is white. Adding insult to injury, when Pablo and friends arrive to cater an event, the matriarch of the palace exclaims, “You didn’t mention the house was being robbed!” Ouch.
The plot, in a nutshell, is Clarissa’s manipulation of – and eventual marriage to – an up-and-coming Hollywood star. Her father was a jerk, so she rejects intimacy (Daddy issues for everyone!) Her mother was a homemaker who considered it an honor to iron her cheating husband’s shirts, so she rejects the traditional housewife role. Clarissa is every career woman – in other words, chicks who are just waiting for the moment their life can truly contain meaning. (Meaning is another word for “husband and baby.”) Manipulation and harassment, if it leads to marriage and pregnancy, justify the means. All we women need to hear is that we’re pretty, and we know he’s The One. If we want to score a man, we must demurely accept all displays of chivalry and refrain from displaying any personal strength (Actual quote: “I’d offer to carry something for you, but I wouldn’t want to mess with your empowerment.” – Prince Redneck Charming.)
Since all’s well that ends well, each and every single woman – AND I MEAN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM – isn’t single anymore at the “happy” ending. And we know Clarissa is with the right guy when we hear, “I never thought anyone could tame her.” Because, after all, if chick flicks have taught us anything it’s that once you’ve been tamed and impregnated, there’s no where to go but up!