The gentle, funny doofuses of date movies—Hugh Grant, Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks—fail at this level. They make mistakes and learn from them. They apologize, learn to listen and become better boyfriends and husbands. In just two hours! It's a Hollywood fantasy created for women, and we ain't buying it. These may be good guys, but they're not heroes…and if they're only going to dutifully do what society/their girlfriends require, why bother showing them larger than life?
It isn't that men aren't interested in fidelity, forgiveness, better communication, and so on. It's just not what we're looking for when we go to the movies. We don't want to heal and unite; we want to prank, ignite, destroy. Maybe it's genetic—the successful sperm outfights, outlasts, and outruns its competition. But whatever the reason, we know from the opening moments of a date movie that it's not going to end with a satisfying, carnage-affirming explosion. Four weddings, and just one funeral? No thanks.
Men treat a date movie like a sort of benign form of couples therapy. As if you're subconsciously trying to guide us to truths about your relationship. See what happens when people lie? And did you notice how Keanu helped Sandra without ASKING if she needed help?
We fear the extent to which you buy into the fantasy—that date movies, even if consumed in the company of your girlfriends, raise unrealistic expectations. We worry that the next time you storm out after a fight, you won't be satisfied unless we chase you all the way to the airport, in the rain, running across the tops of cars, with a boom-box belting out your favorite song. Read: 7 Lessons I Learned From Chick Flicks
As unrealistic as guy movies are, I know I can't kickbox Jet Li, or levitate a starship, or race across rooftops like Jason Bourne. But the clichés on which date movies are built are harder to recognize. Do women remember that in the real world, Hugh Grant is a prostitute-frequenting wife-cheater? That the soul-stirring happy ending you're misting over is, statistically, 50 percent likely to end in divorce?