It hit me out of nowhere. I was going about my usual weeknight routine when I realized that for the first time in months, I was…in the mood.
As a 40 year old working mother, the ‘mood’ does not strike with the frequency or ferocity that it once did, so when it finally deigns to make an appearance I try to react with the lightening speed of an agitated cobra. In this case that meant wrangling two wild things, getting them jammied up and tucked into bed in 11 minutes. Flat. A shocking personal best. (Please, hold your applause.)
Ten minutes and a clean face later, I was ready. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. But the mood is a use-it-or-lose sort of thing, so I decided to just go with it. Glass of wine in hand, I finally committed…to what turned out to be an unexpectedly fulfilling little chick flick, “Friends with Benefits.”
This cute movie stars Mila Kunis of “That 70s Show” fame and Justin ‘Bringing-Sexy-Back-Every-Damn-Day’ Timberlake.
[Note to Hollywood: J.T. might be among the most under-rated talents in town. This guy is living proof that a white boy with questionable hair can get the girl every time if only he can reach deep down into his personality profile, find his funny, and learn a couple of really good dance moves.]
“Friends” tells the story of Jamie, a driven but romantically damaged executive recruiter (Kunis) and Dylan, a brilliant but emotionally unavailable creative type (Timberlake). The two become friends when Jamie recruits Dylan for a high-profile art director position at GQ. Both on a break from dating, they decide that no-commitment sex can surely be had here without complicating the relationship. (Oh yeah, that works every time.)
It’s no frontrunner for a gold statue, but it fulfills all the basic requirements for a plot-driven and not stupid two-hour cruise on the Love Boat. Add in Woody Harrelson as a gay sportswriter and…ding, ding, ding…you’ve got yourself a chick flick winner, folks.
Anyway, this whole scene – me in my favorite PJs with a flute of The Loon, sprawled out on my overpriced but much loved Restoration Hardware linen slip-covered couch getting my rom-com on? It would have been perfect if not for the nagging voice in my head of Someone who is oft heard reminding me that, “Life, cannot be a romance movie, Laura.”
Now, I’m not being critical. Someone is obliged by strict league rules to manage expectations of the fairer gender and head off at the pass potential insurgencies that could lead to global, domino-effect demands for “grand gestures.” You know, like train station flash mobs that effectively set the stage for a heartfelt outpouring of true love. I get it. Really.
But in the interest helping advance world peace, allow me to try and explain why I think romantic comedies and dramas never lose their long-run allure. For rational adult fans, these movies aren’t really about soul mates or longing for a relationship that seems cosmically ‘meant to be.’ Neither are they about wishing to met someone with whom one can overcome superficial conflict to achieve an effortless happily-ever-after.
No…anyone who’s ever been in a relationship of any length knows better than to expect conflict-free perfection. (After all, unless you’re the only one loading the dishwasher, there’s no possible way it’s going to be done correctly every time.)
But when done well, romance movies promise something infinitely more attractive: the notion that it is possible to be with someone that gets you on a fundamental level. Someone who makes you laugh. And someone who ‘‘fits’ you in just the right enough way to make you want keep experiencing life – from the amazing to the unbearable – with them, even after 20, 30, 40 or more years.
Hey, Hope Floats, babe…and it sells a lot of tickets.
The question is, does any of that really exist? IS it possible to wake up next to a person you’ve known for a decade or more and still be genuinely glad you chose each other? What does a happy, established marriage really look like?
So here’s the part where you veterans of Domestic Blissdom get to play. For the good of Cullen-obsessed teenage girls and millions of other romantically misguided everywhere, break out your secret guide book to ‘Love in the Real World,’ and start talking. Because blogging may be no substitute for group therapy led by a qualified and licensed professional, but I’m thinking it might be one hell of a good way to crowd-source answers to some of life’s pressing questions.
Filed under: 'Me' time, Arts & Entertainment, Love and Marriage | Tagged: 'Me' time, entertainment, friends with benefits, justin timberlake, love, marriage, movies, relationships, romantic comedies | 4 Comments »