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The Strangest Source Material in Movie History

Anyone questioning the dearth of original ideas in modern-day Hollywood might want to take a look at this week’s new releases, which include Battleship, a film based on a board game, and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, a film based on a pregnancy guide. Yes, friends, the movie industry in 2012 is all about brand recognition, so when they run out of sequels and remakes and reboots and adaptation of comic books and TV series and novels, they’re going to have to really start stretching. Not by trying new ideas or telling untold stories (don’t be silly), but by merely adapting things into movies that really have no business being adapted into movies. After the jump, a brief survey of some of the strangest source material in movie history.

He’s Just Not That Into You
RELEASED: 2009
ADAPTED FROM: Self-help book

If we’re going to be entirely accurate, this is technically a film inspired by a line on Sex and the City, which in turn inspired the book, which in turn inspired this insipid movie. The screenplay, by Never Been Kissed scribes Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, illustrates the book’s “insights” with a host of interrelated characters traipsing through familiar paces. There’s no spontaneity to these people; they’re all cardboard types (Desperate Single Girl, Cheating Husband, Girl Who Cheats With Husband, Impatient Girlfriend, Wise Ladies’ Man, etc.) and are written with barely one dimension, while the script shuffles around their subplots to create the illusion of a story moving forward. For a film presumably geared towards the female demographic, He’s Just Not That Into You doesn’t seem to like women very much, or at the very least, to respect them. It operates under the narrow-minded notion that all women do is obsess over men and why men aren’t calling them; the women in the film don’t think or talk about anything else. They have no exterior lives, no careers, no hobbies, no ideas — and what’s more, none of them are happy, since they presumably require the unconditional love of a perfect man in order to be happy. But nearly all of the men in the film are presented as perfectly content, at least until the women in their lives start muckety-mucking things up with all their demands. The not-so-subtle underlying message is clear: It takes a man to be happy, and to land one, you have to know all of their tricks — which you can learn, because they’re all exactly the same. This is progress? At any rate, the film grossed nearly $200 million and proved that you could, in fact, turn a self-help book into a movie, so I guess we can thank He’s Just Not that Into You for What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

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