Sunday, May 2, 2010

Romantic Comedy Rape Scene

I have been an avid fan of the Romantic Comedy genre of film since the first time I saw Love Actually one boring Christmas as all the goyim gathered around their trees... and I flipped the channels of my television through ABC, CNN, FOX, and HBO to HBO Spanish.

There's something about a British Romantic Comedy for American audiences dubbed into Spanish that just makes the cockles of my heart swell with sappy emotional responses.

However, that's not what I'm here to talk about.

I'm here to talk about a sinister and insidious case of good film genres gone wrong.

Recently, I was revisiting a disturbing film I watched many weeks ago to write a review. What film? 40 Days And 40 Nights, starring a young Josh Hartnett and Shannyn Sossamon (cue: drool) meeting in a San Francisco laundromat around the neighborhood of Potrero Hill. Hartnett's character, Matt Sullivan has decided to swear off sex for the 40 days of Lent, as some sort of punishment to himself after his girlfriend Nicole (played by Vinessa Shaw) dumps him for another man.

Through the course of this vow, he meets Shannyn Sossamon's character, Erica, and they quickly fall for each other. The relationship is complicated by Matt's vow, and is used as a source of humor in the film by many of the periphery characters, eventually spawning a huge betting pool on whether Matt can go without sex -- of any kind, not even kissing or masturbation -- for the full period of Lent.

On the last night, after many trials and tribulations, Matt has to hand-cuff himself to the bed to avoid doing anything, meanwhile giving Erica the key to unlock him as soon as the 40th day is over (presumably so they can have sex). However, as Matt's roommate leaves, the door is inextricably left unlocked, and Matt's ex Nicole makes her appearance inside to find him writhing in his sleep to some lustful agony, evidence by his extreme boner. She climbs on top of him and proceeds to have sex with him while he's sleeping. Matt eventually wakes up, only to be powerless against what is happening, protesting for Nicole to stop but she merely shushes him.

After she's finished, Nicole leaves to collect her winnings from the bet (having learned of it from a random character in the film and made a timely wager for herself) encountering Erica on the way out. Erica figures out what happened as she comes to see Matt and leaves in a fit of anger and betrayal.

The movie ends with Matt apologizing to Erica, reminding her of all the good times they had together. They reunite and the last scene is of them in Matt's bedroom. Credits roll... and fin.

Here's the problem I have with this film:


And then the fucking bitch who raped him, his ex, gets away with it, including a large sum of money from winning the bet she rigged. Not only that, but Matt is subsequently punished by Erica -- who supposedly cares/cared about him so much -- for cheating on him! I guess in her world when your man is raped by another woman it's called "cheating".

Seriously, did the film-makers not think it counts as rape when a woman has unconsensual sex with a man? Are men not capable of being raped by women? Or was it merely a mistake in the script? Maybe they forgot to add in that last scene where Nicole is taken to prison for rape, and the money she won is donated to a rape center for male victims.

Of course, only in San Francisco circa early 2000's could this film have been made. Only in such a radically leftist place like San Francisco are politics so skewed from extreme gender-feminism politics that rape against a man would go unnoticed, and even applauded by movie-goers in a romantic-fucking-comedy. I haven't seen anything so offensively stupid since this:

If there was ever evidence for a "lace-curtain" media that minimizes, ignores, and otherwise devalues the crimes perpetuated against men -- especially those where women are the criminals -- then this movie would be a perfect example.

But if to add insult to injury, looking at reviews for this film, you can see that the majority of them don't even mention the fact that Josh Hartnett's character was raped! I looked through all the reviews on Netflix and out of 130 reviews, only 10 of those mentioned the fact that the main-character was RAPED. In fact, most of the reviews were positive, and glossed-over or completely ignored that sad fact.

So not only is Hollywood fucking sadistic, but apparently the public is idiotic. A great combination for misandric movies, apparently.

Do yourself a favor: don't watch this film. The time you would spend easily deconstructing it's every little logical fallacy and stereotype would be better put to doing something more constructive. Like boycotting it.


Found this hilarious rape-comic while doing research on this post. Enjoy?


12 footnotes:

Mira said...

Good point. I remember this movie, and I was annoyed even before the rape scene, because a) I don't like romantic comedies and b) the whole idea is utterly stupid... No sex for 40 days??? That's like... So impossible that deserves a movie about it? Please. True, going without masturbation can be tough, but I don't think 40 days was enough to justify the conflict. Now, with 4 years or something, perhaps. This way... No way!

And now we have this rape scene. Frankly, it goes with the rest of the movie's message: men are oversexed beasts, end of story. They go mad if they don't have sex/masturbate for 40 days. They never mind having sex, even if they didn't asked for it/they didn't feel like it at the moment.

Take all of this, and what you get?- a man can not be raped by a woman. It's a man, after all, right? Sure, he did say her to stop, he did say he didn't want sex, and what his ex did wasn't really great, but... But at the end of the day, it's not a big deal, right? It's just a minor incident, and not a crime. The worst thing, as implied, was not the fact he was raped, but the fact his current girlfriend got angry. Yes, blaming the rape victim is ok. No, wait, they didn't even acknowledge him as a rape victim.

So all in all, double standards in all their beauty.

I know it was a comedy and I know I should not take this so seriously, but I don't think rape is funny or endearing. Any form of it. Just imagine the opposite scene, a handcuffed girl telling her ex boyfriend to stop, and her current boyfriend getting angry at her because she cheated on him...

Would people buy that scenario, I wonder? No way!- everybody would see it as rape and they would label both her ex and current boyfriend horrible people. Plus, there's no way this thing would ever appear in a romantic comedy. Because, you know, raping a female is serious, and raping a male is a comic relief.

PS-I do not wish to make female rape and female victims as something irrelevant. It is horrible and I'd never minimize that. But male rape victims are not having fun either, and nobody talks about it (especially if the rapist was a woman).

Zek J Evets said...

yeah, that whole movie was just a big non sequitur. however, before that scene i thought it was a 3-star rom-com, but after that scene the whole film took on a sinister tone as the rape was glossed-over and punished instead of being dealt with as rape should be (even in a comedy). i mean, this is supposed to have a happy ending but the bad guy -- girl in this case -- gets away with everything! it's really fucked-up.

anyhoo, i don't want to minimize female rape victims either, but i also don't see how talking about male rape somehow minimizes that issue...

hopefully films like this will remind people that men can be victimized too.

Jasmin said...

I've never seen this movie (even though it has Josh "Hot"nett in it), but that is pretty disturbing. The only way I can imagine the reverse situation being shown is on an episode of "Law & Order: SVU." And if I was his girlfriend, I would've socked that bitch, then gone straight to the police (who probably wouldn't be any help, but at least I could feel vindicated every time I looked at her black eye).

Zek J Evets said...

@jasmin: haha, i can just imagine you doing that. it would be pretty cool to see ; )

Mira said...

Well, of course talking about victimized men doesn't have anything to do with victimized women. But in one moment I sounded like I didn't care about female victims, that's why I felt the need to add that line.

hopefully films like this will remind people that men can be victimized too.

I don't think so. Because the film in question didn't really show a man as a rape victim, but more of "man angry at his ex". Not the correct message, if you ask me.

The whole movie was disrespectful to men.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: you're probably right, but i still want to think that bad examples will give people the necessary sense of injustice to change things in the real world. maybe, maybe.

Jasmin said...

I saw some comments on IMDB criticizing the rape scene, but I don't know if the average viewer noticed or cared, especially if top film critics didn't give much of a condemnation. I have a lot of sympathy for male rape victims. Rape is a horrible crime no matter who it happens to, but it's almost worse when people deny that a crime was committed in the first place.

Zek J Evets said...

@jasmin: "Rape is a horrible crime no matter who it happens to, but it's almost worse when people deny that a crime was committed in the first place."

that's an important distinction to make in this case, because while the incident in and of itself is horrible, i feel far more upset at how the rape was then ignored or denied.

i should've mentioned that top film-critics (y'know, guys who watch movies for a living and should know better) didn't make a peep about the rape-scene! it just figures. the institution is always slow on the uptake...

Mira said...

I don't think the movie itself would help, especially the way it treats the issue. It make it seems like an unimportant thing, a comic relief or something. It's insulting. Well, the whole movie is insulting and disrespectful to men.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: ohh! i think i get what you mean.

no, i'm not advocating people watch this movie as an example of male rape, but rather remember the movie as an example of how male rape is portrayed, how it is ignored, and how society devalues male victims. i guess i'm saying it's only important because it is a negative example that people need to remember, in much the same way that film-makers often use scenes from hitler's nazi-party rallies to convey hatred and evil.

however, i might be going about it the wrong way with regards to this film...

Jasmin said...


Did top film critics mention the scene and say it wasn't rape, or did they not mention it at all?

Zek J Evets said...

@jasmin: i didn't see any mention of it at all, at least not explicitly. but i do notice that reviews written far later by some critics DID mention it.