HOLLYWOOD — Some movies were not made with critics in mind. And some movies really were not made with male critics in mind.
“Little Black Book” is unlikely to get good reviews — Variety’s Scott Foundas certainly was not enamored — and its box office isn’t likely to squash “Spider-Man.” Studios should consider adding a disclaimer to films targeted at adult women along the lines of “not intended for the male audience.”
Judged by the standards of “Citizen Kane” or “The Godfather,” most chick flicks won’t measure up. But they’re not made as high art. Chick flicks fulfill a primal urge for women, showing us how things could be and how they should never be. Women can live vicariously through the larger-than-life characters onscreen.
Take New Line’s “The Notebook,” for example. Who wouldn’t want to be loved as thoroughly as Allie was by Noah? Or, with “When Harry Met Sally,” to find out your soulmate has been there all along. A dream come true!
When a male critic reviews teen or kiddie pics, he acknowledges that he is not the intended demographic. But he often forgets to offer the same courtesy to adult women. (After all, he’s an adult and the movie plays to adults. But, in fact he’s not the adult being targeted.)
Even female critics sometimes see these films with a “professional” eye. Come on, critics, fess up and acknowledge that these movies are not intended for you, they are made for the hordes of women in need of a girls’ night out.
We go to see movies that we can relate to, like “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” Misery loves company. Was I really that pathetic, sobbing on the kitchen floor with a quart of cotton-candy-confetti ice cream two years ago? Probably, but it’s good to know that Bridget Jones is slightly more pathetic.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was a great, relatable movie, dealing with the ethnic and religious dating barriers that have finally come down. It was a fun movie with the most awful bridesmaid dresses of all time — and we all have those in our closet. But it did not get rave reviews.
In “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” it was a hoot to see Kate Hudson try everything to discourage Matthew McConaughey. We’ve all had guys we wanted to get rid of. The film gave women a chance to be amused and horrified at some of our own antics acted out to such extremes. Variety’s Robert Koehler said of the Paramount pic, “This is the kind of movie that was doomed on the page, both by an inherently problematic premise and ill-conceived character motivations.” That might well be, but the box office saw a $23.7 million opening weekend and the pic fell just 15% in its second weekend. Pic went on to make $106 milliondomestically.
We pony up the cash to see the kind of relationships we long to have — “Notting Hill,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Pretty Woman” — movies most critics criticized. But the box office tells a different story.
And, all right, we admit it, sometime we go just to see hot guys in uniforms, as in “Top Gun” and “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
These movies aren’t perfect. In “Little Black Book,” Carly Simon fans may not like Brittany Murphy’s massacring of her songs, and Ron Livingston really should have had more screen time. And we could do without the oversized, farting dog.
But it’s an appealing fantasy for those of us who didn’t marry our childhood sweetheart and had to endure the hazards of the dating scene.
Columbia’s latest chick flick looks like it will become a quintessential girls’ night out movie, and if guys and critics don’t get it, that’s OK.