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?


Margaret Haugen said...

Gag me with a spoon! Thanks for the heads up. That's a movie I won't be seeing anytime soon!

The only nice thing about those stereotypes is the jet-setter part. I wish that one was a little more true. lol!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this! I couldn't agree with you more. I left the theater speechlessly shaking my head. **sigh**

Heidi said...

I knew there was a reason I didn't want to see that movie. :)

Anonymous said...

You're right, I saw the movie.

My husband was "oopsed" by his ex, who formerly agreed not to have kids till the old clock got going. She just thought he'd "change" and love it. NOT!!!

sumyunguy said...

one thing that should be mentioned is the power of the media and hollywood in influencing the minds of teenagers.

Many teenagers that watch this kind of movie actually get a message similar to: "it's ok to get pregnant. It will all work out and my boyfriend will learn to love our child"

I had a close call with a teenage female with that kind of thought process when i was a teenager. It was scary.

Unknown said...

Or, horrors, wouldn't they just have an abortion? I think it's better to nip a potential problem in the bud, before the entire family ends up homeless living in a tent on a sidewalk in front of the public library, taking baths in the public restroom sink. That's reality. Too bad no producer seems to have the balls (or labia?) to make a movie about a smart, hip couple who opt for abortion. I'd be the first one in line for that one.