The first (and only) time I watched an episode of Sex and the City I expected something mindless that I would dislike, logically, because it is not aimed at me. Fifty-four minutes later I was a hardcore Marxist, ready to put my fist through the Clinique window and throttle someone – anyone – on the other side.
Similarly, I saw a trailer prior to the new comedy Step Brothers** that has the potential to turn America into a nation of militant feminists. This is not praise for the filmmakers, for making new feminists is not their goal. But in their quest for "entertainment" the makers of The House Bunny have concocted a product so patronizing, so insulting, and so anachronistic that I am not sure minors should be allowed to see it.
The three-minute trailer can be seen here. Let me summarize. Aging Playboy bunny gets kicked out of the Mansion. She stumbles upon Campus and, through a series of machniations likely too convoluted and thematically rich to comprehend here, becomes the "House Mother" to a sorority. But it's the Loser sorority for Rejects – as subtle visual cues tell us. There's the girl with braces, the "fat" girl (approximately size 8), the goth girl, Too Many Piercings girl, and various other stock characters in alarmingly unglamorous clothing.
House Bunny to the rescue. In what I can only assume is a stirring montage set to "I Know What Boys Like," she teaches all of them how to dress and apply makeup in a manner that will make boys like them (i.e., like extras from Spice World who apply mascara with a butterknife).
As the promo puts it:
(The girls) need Shelley to teach them the ways of makeup and men; at the same time, Shelley needs some of what the Zetas have – a sense of individuality. The combination leads all the girls to learn how to stop pretending and start being themselves.
The Zetas learn that life is about not only studying but also shopping. The Bespectacled Nerd gets her dream boy, an aryan football star who was apparently hit by a truck full of J. Crew accessories. Bunny learns that men care about what is on the inside once a girl has met the prerequisite of looking like a clown hooker. Everyone grows and becomes a better person. Hugs are shared. Lessons learnt. Heels strutted-in. Breasts lifted. Hemlines compromised.
As my friend said at the completion of the trailer, "Wow. I'm not exactly a feminist, but that's incredibly offensive." I have a difficult time imagining any other reaction. Like those shorts/pants with words like "Juicy" written across the ass or thongs for 10 year-olds, this film is something that makes me wonder why a society that tolerates, even encourages, such misogyny bothers with the charade of gender equality.
**Hilarious. Exactly what you think it is: 96 minutes of Ferrell and John C. Reilly swearing and acting like retards.