When Bad Movies Do Good

Monday, January 10, 2011

It’s nearly impossible to escape bad movies. Sometimes one is showing on the plane and you’ve finished your book and can’t fall asleep to save your life. Sometimes you get hoodwinked, tricked, blinded by the shine of big-name stars trapped in dreadful, implausible storylines.

Or sometimes—like this last weekend—you go see a movie with your lovely friend who is 7-months preggo and not interested in anything heavy or depressing. In matters such as these, pregnant ladies always win.

My friend and I agreed that when you say yes to seeing a bad movie, it’s go full cheese or don’t even bother. So (after adding another mom to the mix) the three of us headed to a mantinée for How Do You Know?

Right now you’re probably thinking: “How Do You Know What?” Here’s the movie poster to help you place things:

Yes, the movie wore the Bad Movie blazer quite comfortably. Even with one of our favorite funny guys, Paul Rudd, it was squarely so-so. One of those contrived rom-coms where you know exactly how the movie will end (guy gets girl) from the opening scene. Here’s the NYT review of the film.

I’m still happy I went. I got to see my friend’s baby belly and her glowing grin. The three of us nibbled on popcorn and caught up on each of our changing lives. It was a good time.  I also came away with something else, a quote from the flick that I think is worth sharing …

At the end of the movie, Paul Rudd’s character (that I don’t even recall their movie names should tell you what’s up) gives Reese Witherspoon (Karen? Jenny?) a can of Play-Doh as a gift for her birthday. But it’s the story that he tells behind it that makes me almost forgive him for the other 105 minutes of this thing.

He tells her that Noah McVicker created this goo to clean soot from the walls and chimneys back in the day. Then people stopped using coal to heat their homes and went to gas and electricity. No need for the goo anymore. McVicker’s sister told him that the kids really liked playing with the stuff, since it was softer than regular molding clay, and suggested that he add color to it.

And like that, Play-Doh was born.

Rudd, with sweetness filling his face, then says that he’s held on to that can of Play-Doh as proof  that “we are all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work.”

That’s a pretty solid lesson, don’t you think? Staying limber, being flexible, ready to make change and adapt to the different and new. It also sounds like a healthy perspective to adopt when it comes to parenting … because change and adjustment is practically the whole bag.

Nice one, Paul Rudd. This earns you another point back in the good books. But make your next move (and movie!) wisely, sir.