Monday, December 15, 2008

Four Christmases, Four Stereotypes

This past weekend I went to see the movie Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. I was looking for some light and airy entertainment and what I got was lightweight and airhead.

The story centers around a supposedly happy childfree, unmarried, couple who end up having to delay a trip to Fiji due to fog and are coerced into visiting all four (divorced) parents on Christmas day, something they had managed to avoid in previous years by pretending to be on humanitarian mission trips.

Despite a wonderfully talented cast, this film falls flat not just because of a bad script but because of the cardboard cutout, stereotypical characters, particularly our childfree couple.

Four Christmases perpetuates four stereotypes:

1) Childfree couples are shallow, jet-setting DINKs (perfect for hating).
2) Childfree couples are in denial, they secretly want a child but they are too fearful or too dysfunctional to step up to the plate and be real adults in the world.
3) They are allergic to kids, or just plain don’t like them.
4) When one half of a couple wants a child and the other one doesn’t this dilemma is easily solved by just having a kid—aw, she, or he, will come on board once the kid is here.

This may work in Hollywood, or not, but it doesn’t fly in the real world. Ask any REAL childfree person.

Which brings me to my next thought: if they were really a childfree couple, wouldn’t they be using a reliable birth control method?