There’s a certain aesthetic that I associate with decent to middling romantic comedies of the early millennium, usually starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, or Reese Witherspoon. This aesthetic surrounds a lovelorn heroine who is a clean-cut but slightly funky blonde, a little bit frenetic but also warm. She’s pretty for the guys and aspirational for the ladies, and utterly devoid of any real personality, grit, or distinctive cultural background. She’s a blank slate, made to reflect the projections of viewers, just as the big windows and gleaming surfaces of her home reflect her pretty face.
When the first trailer hit for the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara vehicle Hot Pursuit a couple months back, the universal reaction seemed a widespread, “But… why?” For Vergara, it’s almost understandable — an above-title studio starring role for a charismatic performer who’s usually stuck in supporting roles. But why on earth was Reese Witherspoon — an Oscar winner and recent nominee, one of our savviest and smartest actor/producers — wasting her time with an aggressively stupid buddy-cop throwaway? Did she owe somebody a favor? (Like, a serious, fine-you-saved-my-life-so-I’ll-star-in-your-terrible-movie favor?)
If Hollywood had its way, it’d just be summer all damn year around — which is why one of the most anticipated franchise movies of the season opened on April 4, and why Vulture is doing a big “summer movie preview” this week, when it was literally snowing in their home base of New York City like a week and a half ago. Anyway, said preview includes a rather hopeful look at “a Summer Movie Season for Women,” showcasing a handful of movies made with, for, and even (in a couple of cases) by women. Is this finally the Bridesmaids revolution we were promised, um, four years ago?
Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s film version of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, and is well worth your time — both on its own merits and as part of the fascinating and ongoing history of the female road movie. While tales of the open road often focus on male buddies (Easy Rider) or lovers on the run (Badlands, True Romance, Natural Born Killers), some of our favorite road movies track the physical and psychological journeys of women. Here are a few …Read More