I’m a man who loves chick flicks
by Jason Benoit, Esq.
Yeah, that’s right, I love me some chick flicks. The new one with Rachel McAdams where the guy can travel back in time to make her fall in love with him? Sold. I’m there opening weekend … even if the girlfriend doesn’t go. The one where Rachel McAdams gets amnesia? Friggin’ love it. The one where Rachel McAdams is an aspiring news producer … okay, so basically anything with Rachel McAdams in it.
I think it was important to slip in up there that I have a girlfriend, to make sure that I frailly grasp onto my last shred of manhood that I have left.
Maybe the fact that I embrace chick flicks as a man makes me an anomaly … and you know what, I don’t care.
But what exactly is a chick flick?
Because I’m a master of the Google, I have determined that the socially accepted definition of ‘chick flick’ isn’t what I assumed – “complete drivel about fairy tales and manicures” but actually …
“a movie that appeals mainly to women.”
… well if that just ain’t the most broad thing ever written. I mean, typically I thought that a chick flick meant it had to deal with love and cliches like:
1. Guy meets girl
2. Guy and girl do sexy things to one another
3. Guy and girl break up because guy is stupid and immature and selfish
4. Guy regrets doing said stupid, immature, selfish thing, and …
5. Guy makes big grand romantic gesture to win girl back.
But what I’m mostly talking about are movies like Mean Girls.
That’s right, Mean Girls. There lives an entire subculture online of people who constantly quote the brilliant Tina Fey movie … I may or may not be a chief culprit in said subculture.
But I’m curious what is really a chick flick. See, personally, I don’t count Jerry Maguire as a true chick flick because it’s got football in it (although it does meet my five concrete components above).
For Love of the Game isn’t about the romance. To me, it’s about a guy flirting with a perfect game, and there just so happens to be something about a girl but who can really remember any of that stuff when there’s baseball on screen.
Someone once tried to tell me that Hocus Pocus was a chick flick. And that’s where I had to draw the line. What in God’s name makes Hocus Pocus a chick flick? Because it has three evil witches? Two of whom are not the least bit attractive (though Bette Midler does tend to make men allergic to whatever she’s in … ah, Beaches, another chick flick).
Is it wrong for a man to like chick flicks? I say not. In fact, chick flicks are some of the highest testing movies. Almost without fail.
Except, and stay with me, I think women are evolving. I don’t think the rom-com of the 90s is your traditional ‘chick flick’ anymore. Not when female event movies are The Hunger Games and Magic Mike … which is a movie almost exclusively devoid of women … unless they are screaming and throwing dollar bills.
When I wrote my Untitled Shit in a Bag script I wanted to tell a story that focused on a female protagonist and her journey for love … through the constructs of a bag of shit. But that part is not important. What is, is that at the time it was pretty taboo to write a ‘raunchy’ film with a female lead. Sure, The Sweetest Thing is a cult favorite among women … but how many girls actually got their boyfriends to go see this movie in a theatre with them when it opened?
Box Office Mojo would suggest very few. Why? Because a $42 million budget earned $24 million domestically. Now, how much easier was it for a guy to convince his girl to go see Superbad or The Hangover?
Was a little bit easier, right? I’ll save you the actual box office statistics, so just trust me on this one.
That’s not to say Hollywood writers haven’t tried. Those scripts of non-traditional female comedies are out there. A bunch of them were Black List scripts, in fact. But they never got made, and likely never will.
It wasn’t really until Bridesmaids that the raunchy female comedy became acceptable by industry practices. Which is stupid, because my girlfriend has the foulest, dirtiest mind of anyone I know and she eats it up.
And I know, secretly, a whole ton of other women do as well. And save for period jokes, I know a lot of guys who think that shit is hilarious, too.
So, what’s my point? My point is, that it’s okay for a guy to love chick flicks and not be ashamed of saying as much, because a chick flick doesn’t necessarily mean we’re watching Sleepless in Seattle. The definition of what is or isn’t a chick flick nowadays is a bit ambiguous … at least in terms of how it used to be defined.
Yes, I went opening weekend to The Hunger Games. Yes, I accompanied my girlfriend without kicking or screaming to Magic Mike. And yes, I was the only straight male in the audience. Hell, I was the only male in the audience.
And, frankly, I just don’t care because some of them are really good movies. Better than some of the torture porn “guy” movies out there. In fact, most times they’re better than anything you could refer to as torture porn.
In fact, why do we even use the phrase torture porn?Tags: Chick flicks, Entertainment industry, Hollywood, Jason Benoit, Screenwriter