Thursday, July 31, 2014

When a Good Movie Misses an Opportunity

So, a couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to watch Blended for the first time - excellent movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the humour, the story and how it went about handling the issue of blending two families.

You see, it focuses around two families who've lost a parent - one through divorce and one through cancer - and, frankly, it does a very good job showing some of the struggles of the parents and kids adjusting to the difficulties that come with both. It doesn't make light of any of the situations, but handles them with respect, showing and treating them fairly, while maintaining a casual, funny atmosphere. There was just one thing that was mishandled, though.

One issue brought up in the movie is that Drew Barrymore's character's older son (~13 y.o.) has been discovered to be viewing porn and has apparently been deep into it long enough to be superimposing crushes onto the magazines he's reading. When she first discovers it, she freaks, tearing up the centrefold, but later we see her apologetically looking through the magazine section of a drug store for a replacement. Throughout the movie the other characters' issues are shown and resolved, but for this character, his issue with what manhood means is addressed, but never the porn. Throughout the movie it's played off with sideways jokes, nudges, and winks. It's treated as just a normal part of a boy's life, with Sandler's character even admitting to having a couple copies himself and commenting to Barrymore on her son's "old school" tastes.

Yes, we see some of the effects of porn played out in the kid's role, chiefly a stunted ability to interact with women beyond simply as vessels for lust,but never do we see an admonishment from Sandler's character in a fatherly role towards pornography or its effects. Now, I know it's not a religious movie, but you don't have to be religious to see some of the exploitative work and trafficking that is enabled by the porn industry.

It's good to see such an issue brought out into the open on the silver screen. I just wish the producers had done a better job addressing it.