Archive for February, 2009

‘Battlestar Galactica’ review: Too many Sharons on board?

Posted in Battlestar Galactica, Fantasy/sci-fi, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by Dawn Raftery

I tuned into tonight’s “Battlestar Galactica” with trepidation, still disappointed in last week’s raging Ellen fest and worried that with only four episodes left everything won’t be brought to a satisfying end. And although the pacing hasn’t worked itself out yet—the first 40 minutes were snoozeworthy—I enjoyed it because it focused on two of my favorite and more complicated female characters: Boomer and Starbuck.

My suspicion that Cavil (Dean Stockwell)—or should we call him John like Ellen does?—sent Boomer (Grace Park) to Galactica on a nefarious mission was proven true, but it didn’t make me happy to watch her break Chief’s heart once again. In the early episodes, Boomer is compelling because she was in such turmoil over her dual identity. Her only memories were of being human, yet she could sense this other identity trying to take control of her body—and she was scared.

Well, apparently Boomer is no longer confused about who she wants to pay allegiance to. “Personal feelings are what Sharon Valeri preys upon,” President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) tells Chief. Harsh words, but after Boomer escapes the brig with Chief’s help, it’s revealed to be an accurate assessment. Because even as she’s kissing Chief (Aaron Douglas) and telling him she loves him, she’s already played him for a fool.

The plotline involving Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) remains as muddled as ever. I was hoping to find out who or what Starbuck is. Unfortunately, those answers weren’t given. We learn instead about her childhood, about the father who taught her to play piano but left her behind with that crazy, abusive mother to go on the road. Uh-huh. So what? We’re no closer to discovering whether she’s human, Cylon or some kind of hybrid. That’s what I care about.

Of brigs and betrayals

The intensity and emotion between Chief and Boomer are palpable. He drinks in the sight of her like a starving man, and although Boomer’s motives are a mystery—really, what kind of hold does the decrepit Cavil have over her? The swirl???—I’m going to continue to believe that she has feeling for Chief, despite her betrayal.

The other Sharons aren’t faring so well. One No. 8 is knocked out by Chief and placed in the brig so Boomer can run amok on the ship. And Athena is having a really bad day. We haven’t seen Athena in weeks, and when we do, she gets beaten up and tossed in a locker, where she is forced to witness the torrid love scene between her husband, Helo (Tahmoh Penikett), and Boomer. Their writhing around on the floor and Boomer’s moans of pleasure make up one of the most passionate sexual encounters I’ve ever seen on “Battlestar”—let’s all try to forget Ellen and Tigh on a table last week—and it’s ironic that it occurs between Helo and a No. 8. I’m reminded of another Roslin verbal gem, her rebuke to Helo in an earlier episode: “You’re not married to the entire line.”

One of the trickier elements of this episode—tricky because it’s easy to appear mawkish—is the fantasy landscape Boomer has created for herself and Chief, a dream house where they live and raise Hera, the little girl that could have been theirs. Boomer is able to convey this fantasy to Chief using the powers of Cylon projection. As cynical as I am, I began to believe they could have a future together. In retrospect, though, you have to reevaluate every word she says to Chief, including, “The most important thing is we both know who we are now. Let’s make the most with the time we have left.”

A Cylon pick-up line: “I’ve thought about you every day since that moment I died in your arms,” Boomer says to Chief.

Starbuck’s serenade

OK, so in the last few minutes of the show it’s obvious why Starbuck’s past has been dredged up: She needs to have the musical skill to play a special song on the piano. But getting to that point is a painful journey. The episode feels slow and dreamlike from the start. It’s told, at least in the opening sequence, from Starbuck’s perspective. Her days are ordered and monotonous and boring, perhaps to illustrate how disconnected she feels from everyone and everything around her. The montage of banal scenes is in contrast to the many times we’ve witnessed her being emotional and messy. I can picture the screaming going on inside Starbuck’s head as she gives flight orders from the dais. I wonder if she could hear the screaming in my head as I tried to stay awake.

The musician she meets in a bar, the man who becomes her friend and confidante, ends up being a figment of her imagination and an overhanded substitute for her father, but he serves his purpose. With his guidance, Kara overcomes her reluctance to play the piano again and realizes that a drawing given to her by Hera is in fact musical notes. When she plays the notes in the bar, the song—”All Along the Watchtower”—immediately resonates with Col. Saul Tigh (the wonderful Michael Hogan), Ellen (Kate Vernon) and Tory (Rekha Sharma), who, by the way, seem to have mistaken the bottom of a liquor bottle as the solution for how to save humanity.

The priceless moment in that scene: The camera zooming in on Tigh’s one eye as it widens and him uttering, “What the frak?”

Burning questions: What is the name of Starbuck’s father? Could it be Daniel? What are the show’s creators up to by making Anders (Michael Trucco) the writer of “All Along the Watchtower,” which in this reality was written and recorded by Bob Dylan? Are Dylan and—gulp—Anders the same person in parallel universes? Is Anders going to in a coma from now on, or will he wake up again and spout more critical information in a nonsensical way like the hybrids do? And why is the little girl who plays Hera so strange looking, with curly hair that looks like a wig and abnormally rosy cheeks? How does she at all resemble either one of her parents?

The vicious circle of vendettas

The one bright note in tonight’s episode—the one sign that humans and Cylons may be able to coexist peacefully—comes from an unusual source: Lee Adama. Lee (Jamie Bamber), who has been vocal in his hatred and distrust of Cylons, overcomes his prejudice enough to give one of the Sixes a seat on the Quorum.

If only those around him demonstrated such leadership and integrity. Roslin and Adama need to step down. Now. Once such insightful, inspiring and effective leaders, they are dangerously out of touch with the citizens and circumstances they are supposed to govern. Didn’t they see how desperate Chief was? Didn’t it occur to them, especially after the mutiny recently carried out by Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani), that their word is no longer considered law by people? That Chief would do what he felt he had to do to save the woman he loves? (Actually, since tonight’s show concluded with Roslin on the floor, maybe she has stepped down—permanently.)

Roslin is too complacent, Adama too bitter. But whereas Roslin is aware of her growing disinterest, Adama doesn’t recognizes his shortcomings or that he can’t think straight when it comes to Boomer, who as we all know shot him twice in the chest and nearly killed him. He’s too concerned with payback.

But that one bright note in tonight’s episode is also the darkest, because it’s another example of revenge gone wrong. The first Cylon government official in the fleet makes the request to have Boomer released so she can be tried for treason for siding with Cavil—an act that sets all the other tragic events in motion. Without this thirst for retribution from the Cylons, who show themselves to be all too human time and time again, Chief would have not made the poor decisions he did and Hera would be home safe with her parents.

So what’s the lesson today, boys and girls? Vengeance is not the key to survival, especially when your numbers are very limited.

Best quote of the night: “The last thing we need is you jerking our chains with a lot of quack ideas. So why don’t you take them somewhere else?” Ahhhh, the wonderful Dr. Cottle (Donnelly Rhodes), telling it like it is.

Barbie at 50: Still looking good and causing debate

Posted in Fashion, Favorite stores, Shopping, Toys with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by Dawn Raftery

Barbie—she of the glossy blonde locks and bullet breasts atop an impossibly tiny waist—is half a century old, and damned if she doesn’t look just as good as ever. Little girls everywhere emulate the Mattel doll, and even big girls—I’m referring to age here, not necessarily size—delight in the Barbie-verse, complete with a closet full of couture, a “dream house,” sporty cars, a plethora of impressive careers and an adoring metrosexual boyfriend.

I’m going against the feminist grain when I proclaim my love for Barbie dolls. It wasn’t until I minored in Women’s Studies at Northern Illinois University in the mid-’90s that I realized not all females were so enamored of the golden girl. There is plenty of venom aimed at the doll in certain academic circles and class discussions.

I’ll admit the arguments against Barbie have some validity. At 39-21-33, her measurements are not only unattainable, they’re absurd, and I certainly won’t refute the research that she would lack the requisite body fat for menstruation. But it’s silly to extrapolate from that information that Barbie, once such a close friend in childhood, becomes the enemy in adulthood, turning healthy young women into anorexics and bulimics.

Back in the ’80s, when Cabbage Patch Kids were the big toy trend and I had two of them, I never thought that they were setting the mold for what real babies should look like. In fact, I would have been appalled to discover that someone’s newly born baby could have passed for a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Barbie is a beautiful doll, but she’s a toy nonetheless, and I did not delude myself into thinking I could or should resemble her when I grew up. I also come from the unique perspective of being a minority—I’m Korean—so a busty, leggy doll with platinum blonde hair and wide blue eyes was never going to be a possibility for me.

I’ve read that dolls like Barbie have an adverse effect on minority children—the heart-wrenching story of Pecola in Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel, “The Bluest Eye,” comes to mind as a literary example—because they perpetuate the belief that beauty is best defined in white terms. I don’t want to discount those whose experiences run counter to my own, but I don’t consider Barbie to be the cause of prejudice in the world. That would be the territory of man, not plastic toy.

Without hating myself or having low self-esteem, I happily played with Barbie until junior high, sending her out on dates with Ken (and G.I. Joe when she desired variety), changing her outfit multiple times in an hour and sliding her—yes her, not Ken—behind the steering wheel of her camper van. Did she inspire eating disorders or depression in me? No. Did she lead to unrealistic expectations about womanhood? Well, maybe I hoped to one day have a wardrobe as great as hers, and that’s obviously not happened.

Not all girls treated their dainty dolls as kindly as I did. I’ve heard horror stories—at least they fill me with horror—from friends who flushed their heads down the toilet, cut off their hair, tossed them around in the dirt and drew on their faces with marker or pen. That to me was sacrilege, although I’m guessing many a feminist is snickering at the notion. (I, however, would point out that abuse against any woman, real or imagined, is reprehensible.)

Much like the maidens and princesses in fairy tales, Barbie almost always has blonde hair and blue eyes. But I had dolls from the international collection; they came from different countries and were designed accordingly. I had one from Scotland, Ireland, France and Korea. These were actually my favorite dolls, especially the Parisian one with copper-colored hair and a beauty mark who came clad in a slinky can-can dress.

Barbie didn’t impede my development into an intelligent, assertive young woman. If anything, she helped me push the boundaries of my imagination about how I’d interact in the adult world. I never looked at any of them as a substitute for my grown-up self. Rather, she was a heroine in a soap opera or epic miniseries with an exciting social life I could only dream about at that age. I enjoyed Barbie much like I enjoyed—and still enjoy—fairy tales.

The promise of transformation is a heady thing, and that’s the allure of both Barbie and fairy tales. They make you believe change is possible. Fairy tales have been reinvented and retold in recent years, spurring a wonderful book series edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow (or maybe it’s the other way around). Barbie’s appeal is enduring; every second at least three of the dolls are sold. She’s the ultimate siren, and I find it surprising she isn’t mentioned in Laren Stover’s “The Bombshell Manual of Style.”

Just last Christmas I succumbed to her powers of seduction once again. While shopping at Target’s toy department for my niece and nephew, I saw a Hello Kitty Barbie. It took me only a second’s delay before I scooped her up and rushed over to the cash register. She’s still in her box, resting comfortably on a shelf in my second bedroom.

Cheers to Barbie on her birthday. This dame is 50—and she still doesn’t need Botox. Lucky cougar.

The Snuggie pub crawl? A walking nightmare

Posted in Commercials, Shopping with tags , , , on February 26, 2009 by Dawn Raftery

America has enough image problems. Do we really need a crowd of drunks staggering through the streets, looking like a band of medieval monks in their Snuggies?

Yep, that’s right. Your worst fear—or maybe it’s only mine—has been confirmed. The evil influence of the Snuggie has invaded the haven of those who need a place to relax after a long, grueling day at work. There are Snuggie pub crawls being planned in big cities all over the country. The Chicago one will take place Saturday, April 18. (Mark that date on your calendar if, like me, you plan to stay away from bars to avoid the fashion eyesore otherwise known as the Snuggie.)

I hope the event organizers have taken into account the perils of such an evening. Besides the inherent risk of tripping over the hem of your robe and cracking your head against the concrete, fights could break out among the alcohol-swilling Snuggie wearers and the rest of the alcohol-swilling population who can’t get over having in their midst people who resemble a Ku Klux Klan member or a “Star Wars” character. Among the inebriated, fights have broken out for far less. Let the Snuggie SmackDown begin.

You won’t ever see me sporting a Snuggie. A $20 oversized fleece blanket with sleeves that you wear like a robe? No thanks. I already have a very nice, thick robe, and if so inclined I can wear it backward while I lounge on my couch. Or I could even cut holes in one of my blankets.

So how has the Snuggie managed to accumulate more than 4 million sales under its sleeve? Blame it on the tough economy. Thanks to the recession, direct-response advertising, the preferred industry term for commercials that feature a toll-free 800 number for placing orders, has become more prevalent on cable television. Such “as-seen-on-TV” companies are purchasing more TV slots for less money. Plus, people are looking for ways to lower their heating bills, and bundling up is just as convenient a way as any.

But I still can’t believe how successful the over-the-top Snuggie infomercial is or how gullible its fans are. They’ve been convinced that regular blankets just don’t make the fold anymore. Regular blankets slip and slide. And when you want to reach for something, your hands are trapped—trapped!—inside. And here I thought all this time my hands were just resting comfortably under my blanket.

The Snuggie’s bizarre cut following is frightening in its intensity—another example of this blanket/robe’s evil influence. Type in Snuggie on Facebook and more than 500 results come up. Snuggie is on YouTube, with more than 700 videos posted, many of them parodies, including one titled “Cult of the Snuggie” with 381,711 views as of today.

The Snuggie is not the first of its kind. Before the Snuggie, there was the Slanket (the same exact product, albeit with a less snuggly name and at more than double the cost). And after the Snuggie, who knows? Maybe an oversized fleece blanket with sleeves and a hood? I can picture the ad now: A group of guys and girls in the new Snuggies grind and gyrate—maybe flop around would be a more accurate description, given their getup—to club music under strobe lights, while a female voice-over coos, “You know how to stay Snuggie-licious this winter.”

Ellen’s return no cause for celebration on ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Posted in Battlestar Galactica, Fantasy/sci-fi, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by Dawn Raftery

With only four episodes left—four!—“Battlestar Galactica” continues to catapult toward its supernova finale with ample intrigue and thrills. But when it’s over, I wonder how much will seem squeezed in or slapped on because the show’s writers have a limited time frame in which to conclude this harrowing story of humanity’s survival. Tonight’s episode, while watchable enough, is an example of uneven pacing and disappointing plot development.

Since we learned last week that Ellen (Kate Vernon) was resurrected months ago, it’s no surprise when she and Boomer (Grace Park) catch up with the fleet in the first couple of minutes. However, it might have been better for both human and Cylon alike if Ellen had been lost in space for a few more months, because her conduct becomes insidious and appalling once she learns her husband, Tigh (Michael Hogan), has slept with and impregnated Caprica Six (Tricia Helfer). Visiting Caprica in the chamber she shares with Tigh, Ellen oh-so-casually drops into the stilted conversation that she had sex with him upon her arrival. Ellen’s jealousy and anger ultimately lead to a terrible tragedy that can’t be undone.

Now, I’m not entirely without sympathy. Most women would kick into cat-fight mode if they found out their husband was having a baby with someone else, but in Tigh’s defense, he, along with everyone else, believed Ellen was dead. And, even more importantly, Ellen is no ordinary woman. She’s the mother of humanity and Cylons; we expect higher ethics and morals from her. If this is the kind of behavior she exhibits when hurt, is she any better than Cavil (Dean Stockwell), whom I’d like to permanently box after discovering his role in the downfall of civilization?

Cylon Threesome?

One of the highlights of this bittersweet reunion is watching Hogan show off his character’s more tender side as he proclaims he has enough love for Ellen, Caprica Six and future baby Liam (short for William, but more on that later). Despite all his flaws, Tigh’s fierce loyalty to the people and things he cares about is nothing short of remarkable. He also seems to possess the most common sense on the fleet when he points out that humans and Cylons need each other. “Pure human doesn’t work. Pure Cylon doesn’t work. It’s too weak,” he snarls. Wow. When Tigh starts dispensing pearls of wisdom, you know you’re near the end.

My question: Why is Tigh so sought after by hot blondes? Is it the missing eye? The ease with which he says frak? Or maybe it’s his ability to frak well??? Will Katee Sackhoff’s Starbuck—whose origins remain a mystery—turn out to be a Cylon and fall for him next? Then again, if Ellen’s mockery has any basis in truth, the one Tigh really wants is his best bud, the stoic Adama (Edward James Olmos). In an intimate scene that borders on absurd—yes, I’m cynical—Adama is the one Tigh goes to with a broken heart, and the two comfort each other in a prolonged embrace with while tears stream from their eyes. (Well, in Tigh’s case, it’s just the one eye.)

Sobriety check

In one scene Adama and Tigh are throwing back drinks like they don’t have to fight for humanity’s survival the next day. In the next scene, Adama is walking around examining his ship, keeping a close eye on the repairs being made by Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) and his Cylon crew. Either some time has passed without any obvious indication to the viewer, or the tradeoff in the future is less humans in exchange for a quick recovery time after a heavy bout of drinking.

Priceless moment: The look on Roslin’s (Mary McDonnell) face when Ellen asks for a drink and the only one to accommodate her—Adama—pulls a flask out of his pants pocket. Apparently the admiral has learned to keep his friends close, his enemies closer and his liquor closest.

Boomer and Chief, sitting on a ship …

In last week’s episode, when Ellen is talking about love to Boomer and the next scene shifts to Tyrol—that’s when I began to hope that Boomer and Tyrol could finally achieve happiness together as a couple. Tonight the two are finally reunited. “Nice to see you again,” he says, before addressing the others assembled in the bay, “This is Boomer.” He and Boomer share an intense glance before she is led away to—where else?—the brig.

Obviously despite the tale of he and Tory (Rekha Sharma) being lovers in the past, Tyrol is more interested in resurrecting his love affair with Boomer. It looks like the two have a private moment on next week’s episode, but it may be cut short by the Cylon demand that this particular Eight be put on trial for treason. Of course, the almost smug smile on Boomer’s face could mean one of two things: She wants Tyrol back, or she’s a trap sent by Cavil to lure the Final Five away.

Gaius and his female flock

Am I the only one who wishes that Gaius (James Callis) was also killed when Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani) and Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) were executed a few episodes ago? Do we really care about Gaius losing control of his worshipers? Doesn’t anyone in his cult recognize that his initial desire to feed starving children in the fleet is fueled by his desire to woo one of the children’s attractive young mothers?

For such a genius, Gaius doesn’t show much intelligence in some of his choices, yet he demonstrates he still has persuasive skills in Adama’s office when he convinced the admiral to arm his followers with the firepower needed to beat off the bullies.

Best line: “Ladies, show these men you are armed.” Gaius has no qualms admitting he is not the one with the muscle in his group.

The mourning after

“If it works, she’ll still be the Galactica on the outside, but she won’t know what she is anymore.” So says an inebriated Adama to Tigh.

We’re used to seeing a lot of Cylons on a base ship, but seeing them on Galactica, all dressed in uniform as they patch up the ship’s cracks using their technology, is disconcerting at first. It’s especially odd to see them so hard at work when you realize the Cylons have another plan: They want to band together with the Final Five and jump away. Tyrol and Tory vote to go—hardly a shock for Tory, given her conscience has been eroding ever since she discovered her true heritage. A hostile Ellen casts the sway vote to abandon ship. Anders is still unconscious, and Tigh, well, he can’t even conceive of the thought of leaving Bill or the fleet.

Still, the last scene shows promise for a more integrated future. Adama and Roslin are strolling around the ship watching the Cylons, when they witness a Six stopping at a wall covered with pictures. The pictures are of Cylons who have died since joining the fleet. Roslin looks surprised, Adama grim and thoughtful. What are pain and grief, if not the province of humanity at its most basic form?

Addictions to love and shopping: A stale cinematic formula

Posted in Fashion, Movies, Shopping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2009 by Dawn Raftery

Give me “Moonstruck.” Give me “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” I’d even take “The Cutting Edge” (hey, it’s got the Pamchenko going for it).

But as far as romantic comedies go, “Confessions of a Shopaholic”—based on the series of best-selling books by Sophie Kinsella—is an excruciatingly painful exercise in female fantasy. Isla Fisher’s Rebecca Bloomwood will resonate with women like myself who crave high-fashion clothing and accessories. Poor Becky’s full-time hobby is so out of control she has run up nearly $20,000 in credit-card bills. And yes, I can relate to reaching for the plastic instead of cutting up the cards, bringing them to the local junkyard and watching as they’re crushed into oblivion. An extreme measure? Not for shopaholics.

But I found my willingness to suspend my belief gravely tested when Becky is so obsessed with shopping that she risks missing an interview for her dream job at the fashion magazine Alette. I found it further tested when she finagles a job at Successful Saving and writes a hugely popular column on frugality using—what else?—fashion metaphors. Why do I consider Becky’s career trajectory so absurd? Because I’m in a job search mode myself, and penning winning propositions while drunk to land a second interview after the first one failed abysmally just doesn’t happen. To anyone outside of Hollywood’s play pen, that is.

The real romance in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is not between Becky and her boss, the dashing British editor Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy). It’s between Becky and her newest acquisition. Her ever-burgeoning relationship quickly hits a snag: The Evil Debt Collector, played by a properly unctuous Robert Stanton. The silly cat-and-mouse game between Becky and Stanton’s Derek Smeath reminds me of the battle between Ferris Bueller and Principal Rooney, but you grow tired of her preposterous yet nearly always successful machinations to avoid him and accept responsibility for her actions.

I prefer my romantic comedies to be witty and charming, with some sort of metamorphosis, whether physical, mental or emotional, at the heart of the story. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” falls woefully short on all counts, and it’s not even really fun to watch. Its glossy veneer eventually cracks under the strain of Becky’s frequently garish wardrobe. Label lust doesn’t automatically translate into style.

I’ve read many reviews extolling the comedic talent and physical virtues of Fisher, who’s beguiling to a degree with her oh-so-earnest, wide-eyed pouts, but I am oddly disturbed by the sight of such a childlike face atop such a curvy body. I guess that’s why she appeals to the male set. The same phenomenon must happen a lot with Scarlett Johansson, who plays Anna in “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

But whereas Becky doesn’t mean to hurt anyone—really, wouldn’t any fashion addict pick buying a new outfit for a TV show appearance over buying a bridesmaid’s dress for your best friend’s wedding??—Scarlett’s Anna is, well, yearning to be a scarlet woman. (It’s interesting how even in the reviews that pan “He’s Just Not That Into You” for its supposedly misogynist portrayal of women, no one condemns Anna for actively pursuing a married man.)

“He’s Just Not That Into You,” a better page-to-screen adaptation in the romantic comedy genre—I won’t call it a chick flick, because I consider the term derogatory—is based on a book by two “Sex and the City” writers, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. I was mildly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie, from the opening sequence where Ginnifer Goodwin narrates that women’s acceptance of cruelty in boyfriends and husbands stems from a childhood incident. A little boy insults a little girl on a playground, and the girl runs crying to her mother, who tells her the boy was mean because he likes her. Flash forward to the present, where in various scenarios a woman’s girlfriends explain a man’s bad behavior by saying essentially the same thing.

There’s truth in those vignettes. Not that men who treat women poorly are masking their true feelings of love and adoration—if that were truly the message of this movie, I would call it misogynistic—but that women tend to look at their significant other as a long-term investment and are therefore often reluctant to let go when the relationship starts sinking or has been seriously problematic from the beginning. That women are especially guilty of coddling their heartbroken friends with bonbon-like compliments when they should be serving up cold slices of reality. That women like to believe in the exception rather than the rule.

Goodwin’s character, Gigi, is a Carrie Bradshaw on steroids in terms of being an emotional basket case and treating every man like he’s Mr. Big. She doesn’t know how to censor her thoughts or emotions, she jumps years ahead in a relationship after half a date gone OK, and she stalks men who express minimal interest in her. You can feel all the women in the audience wince when she once again demonstrates her lack of pride and tries to wrest an honest response from a man. And when Gigi finally succeeds, when she finally gets her man and she is recounting the moment when everything clicked for them, you see how easily perception redefines our histories as a couple.

The women in “He’s Just Not That Into You” aren’t farcical like Becky Bloomwood. They’re flawed and messy, yes, but they’re real. They spend more time on finding love and working on their relationships than I like to see in a movie theater or real life, but society is greatly responsible for female absorption in the ultimate commitment.

Another “He’s Just Not That Into You” character, Jennifer Aniston’s Beth, wants to be married and breaks up with her boyfriend of seven years because he won’t marry her. One agonizing scene is during a speech at the dinner party the night before her younger sister’s wedding, when a cousin refers to Beth as the older model still available. The humiliation Beth experiences as a single woman past her 20s is very relevant—it’s what made “Sex and the City” so relevant and successful with women of all ages.

Still, I’m not the biggest romantic comedy fan (I would have never watched Sarah Jessica Parker’s TV series if it had been named “Dating and the City” or “Looking for Love in the City”). The cinematic fare I enjoy most doesn’t go by names like “Serendipity,” “Sweet Home Alabama” or, my all-time nonfavorite, “You’ve Got Mail.” I plan to see “Coraline” this weekend and it wouldn’t shock me if the richest roles for actresses are in a stop-motion animated movie aimed at young girls, long before society warps our self-esteem and informs us our life should revolve around the Next Man or the Next Big Purchase or the Next Mr. Right.