I went to see “Just Go With It” tonight at the late show. I love seeing films late in the evening. I was anticipating the movie, since I adore the actors (Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman). It seemed as though I was in for a fun night.
I was impressed by the strong talents of both child stars of the film, I must say. I’d be lucky if I matched such performances after many years of studying the art of acting. They were really good and brought depth to their roles.
Then came the rest of the film.
The repetitive bathroom jokes and also repetitive mockery of plastic surgery patients were more irritating than laugh-inducing, but, you know, I tried to just go with it, as the title asked me to do. Then there’s the message early on that a woman is “hot” only if she spends thousands of dollars (or has a guy spend that for her) on designer clothes. Then she’s acceptable. Before that, she doesn’t turn heads and doesn’t get attention of the lead guy.
Then there’s the fact that the shallow (and so not in a funny way, if it can be funny) guys don’t consider Aniston’s character worth their time until she reveals that she actually has a “hot” bikini bod like the twentysomething girl that the guys have been oggling and lying to as the premise of the film. It’s as though her having a svelte bod made her lovable.
And came a bit that’s supposed to be funny about reviving a dying lamb. Me and animal cruelty jokes do not mix. I was horrified to hear the one person giggling in the theater. I am assuming no animals were harmed in the making of the movie, but to encourage laughing at an animal’s pain just makes me want to beg for my ticket money back. For the point. Just so someone might listen.
Oh, but that horrors were just beginning.
During a hula scene, a woman who is hula dancing dares to be plus sized. How dare she dance! How dare she bare her arms! How dare she think herself deserving to be on the stage with the two stars of the film who are tall and thin and fit into Hollywood’s narrow definition of beauty! How dare she think she’ll last a minute. Of course she is booed off the stage. And, of course there’s a comment on how the host is lucky she didn’t hurt him. Of course she is presented with a stereotypical fat joke and persona. Because a fat woman is out to hurt a guy: just by existing in his world where women should only be tall, thin, and bikini ready.
Like a playground bully, the mean-spirited writing and producing of the scene socks you in the jaw. The prejudice communicated in an unfunny, stereotypical fat joke is as jarring to someone who is knowledgeable about the fact that fat women are people, too (novel concept to most of Hollywood, but it’s true).
As a fat actress, I know the precious few roles granted to overweight women all revolve around their weight in one way or another. It’s not just a part of the characters; it’s the exaggerated reason for their casting: to be mocked and belittled. Ask the few plus sized actresses who have succeeded, even for a short time. Yes, there are some deep roles, but I could probably count the number of non-prejudiced, non-exploitative roles for plus-sized women in Hollywood history on two hands.
So, “Just Go With It,” you are not alone. Many prejudiced films have come before you. You simply continued to lead the way down a path of cruelty, intolerance, and prejudiced attitudes for the sake of a very unfunny, very overdone, unoriginal fat joke. Way to go.
I’ll just pretend they added that in at the last second, and the actors were already contractually obligated to do the film. Horrified, they tried to stop the blatant intolerance and prejudice. Many must have, right? We have evolved somewhat as a society. Right? Hello?
This article was reprinted with permission from RobinRaven.com…