Crazy, Stupid Movie Makes Light of Sexual
Stupid, Love. is a movie currently playing in a theater near you. It's rated
PG-13, but for the 13-year-old depicted in this movie, it's more like an R-rated
main focus is on an adult man in the throws of a midlife crisis. His wife has
had an affair and his reaction is to head to the local singles bar. There he
meets a smooth talking ladies man who teaches him the fine art of picking up
women. Nine one-night-stands later, the guy finally is ready to have the talk
with his wife that should have happened ten minutes into the movie.
the type of story you would embrace as a family movie, but what's worse is a
secondary plot line involving two teens. The midlife crisis guy mentioned
earlier has two kids -- a 13-year-old boy and a younger daughter. He hires their
regular babysitter, a 17-year-old girl who is the daughter of some of their
friends. In this male fantasy movie, the babysitter has a secret crush on the
forty-something father, but the 13-year-old constantly fantasizes over the
babysitter. In one scene, she walks into his bedroom and finds him masturbating.
Later he boldly explains to her that she is the only woman he thinks of when
he's doing such things.
the movie this "joke" continues, but it's not until the end that my hair stood
up on end. In the midst of this romantic comedy the teen girl takes naked photos
of herself after seeking advice from another high school girl on how to attract
an older man. After a chain of events, the photos never make their way to the
father (after all, that would move the script into an area of child pornography
involving an adult). Yet, in the closing moments, this young lady hands her
collection of naked pictures to the 13-year-old boy with a comment that makes a
veiled reference to giving him something to think about while he's enjoying his
you're feeling slimy all over by this point. I can't help but recall a favorite
quote from Roger Ebert: "Teenagers used to go to the movies to watch adults
having sex. Now adults go to the movies to watch teenagers having sex.")
situation should be anything but funny -- especially in light of yet another
story in the "real" world that released today that tells of a 20-year-old
Connecticut woman who has been accused of assaulting a 14-year-old boy she was
ABC News story documenting the accusation also makes reference to other
recent events where adult women have been accused of sexually assaulting younger
boys they have been responsible for.
some of these stories, a theme keeps returning about the double standard that
exists in these crimes and, in my opinion, is perpetrated by the media in movies
like Crazy, Stupid, Love. Young teen boys are constantly seen as sexual
animals in many media products. Yet in the aforementioned ABC News story, family
therapist Terry Real says, "I think the idea that all boys are ready to have sex
at all times with their hot babysitters doesn't really take into account the
sensitivity of a young boy."
Furthermore, would the media dare switch the genders in this example? How would
audiences react to a male who is on the brink of adulthood handing naked photos
of himself to a 13-year-old girl?
must recall the many stories I have read and written about covering the dangers
of "sexting" and teens passing nude photographs of themselves onto others. Did
the creators of this movie miss all those news items? Did they never hear about
accounts of young people having their lives ruined after naked photos rapidly
propagate across the Internet, causing serious mental anguish and both civil and
criminal legal issues?
filmmakers simply don't have enough parenting experience to understand why this
supposedly innocuous, liberal idea of having your teen daughter hand images of
her naked body to a 13-year-old boy isn't a funny event at the end of a
happily-ever-after story. Once again the film industry shows what they really
think about America's children.
Besides writing this column for the Parents Television Council, Rod Gustafson authors Parent Previews® - a newspaper and Internet column (published in association with movies.com) that reviews movies from a parent's perspective. He's also the film critic for a major Canadian TV station, various radio stations and serves on the executive of the Alberta Association for Media Awareness. Finally, his most important role is being the father to four wonderful children and husband to his beautiful wife (and co-worker) Donna.
and the Media by Rod Gustafson
Television Council -
Click here to comment on this column