Monday, June 28, 2010

Worst Movie Ever

The other night I caught SWITCH (1991) on HBO (by Blake Edwards, writer/producer of Victor/Victoria, among others), and I thought at first I might enjoy it. The idea is that a womanizer is murdered and comes back as a hot woman who has been tasked (by a dual-sexed "God" -- never seen, just a man's and woman's voice finishing each other's sentences like an old married couple) to find ONE woman in the world who could love the man she used to be. The funny part is that no matter how far and wide s/he looks every woman who's ever met him has nothing but obscenities for him. Also, the only person that knows that s/he is the deceased dickhead is the woman who murdered him. (Who will subsequently go on to frame him/er for the murder).

At first I thought this might be a cute and surprisingly progressive gender-bender from 1991. I could not have been more wrong. I entered the movie where s/he was seducing a lesbian CEO to get her company's advertising account. I thought: here's a situation that's got some interesting possibilities! For example, a man in a woman's body, especially a misogynistic one, would find himself completely unprepared for, and bad at, lesbian sex. But even if it didn't get that far, a man, especially a misogynistic one, might find the interplay between women challenging. After all, women relate to one another differently from how they relate to men, or how men relate to each other. But no: the way this was handled was utterly without thought or interest. The lesbian CEO admired the hero/ine for "being a man," they were completely confused by who should "lead" when they go dancing at a lesbian club, and the relationship is portrayed as failing because they can't decide "who's the aggressor," as though a relationship without a man in it can't succeed without a one person "acting like" a man, and the other "acting like" a (submissive) woman. As for the sex? Oh, they had it, right away, but the movie skipped it almost entirely. Still, the CEO seemed strangely satisfied and kept coming back for more -- must be because she could sense that deep internal mannishness, and, of course, that's what she "really" wanted all along /sarcasm.

But wait, it gets worse: the hero/ine's best friend (from when s/he was a man) has sex with him/er while she is unconscious. She accuses him of date rape, but then gets pregnant, and so they get married. When she first gets pregnant, the date-rapist/husband says that he knows s/he can't REALLY be his old guy friend reincarnated as a hot woman, because his old guy friend would have had an abortion. This is followed by a sappy speech about how s/he has a precious life inside him/er and this is all God's plan.

THEN, the doctors tell him/er s/he has life-threatening medical issues. If s/he decides to keep the baby, s/he may die. S/he decides to go through with it, and dies in childbirth, with a big smile on his/er face. Remember that the man-woman-married-couple "God" said at least one woman had to love the guy for him/er to go to Heaven? Well, it's a girl. And apparently, upon its moment of birth, it "loved" him/er, which I guess is close enough to loving the dickish misogynist guy for the dual-sex "God."

Who raises the daughter? The date-rapist, of course. It's a happy ending.

In the end, the message of the movie seemed to be that it doesn't matter HOW you feel on the inside, if your outsides look female, you can only find happiness in the role of a heterosexual female; further, the movie argues that women who ARE lesbians are sad creatures who just REALLY need a man, and that relationships that don't use traditional gender roles can't even get off the ground. FURTHER, reproduction is the only real point to life, and if you die while trying to reproduce, you will die happy and fulfilled and go to heaven, and it's okay that a date-rapist is raising the child who killed you, because it's a man's prerogative to stick his penis into unprotected vag, and that just makes him more of a man, and therefore more desirable, in the end.

It may be the single most offensive movie I've ever seen -- at least in the genre of movies that are not actually trying to be offensive, which are actually trying to be heart-warming. It's almost hard to believe it was even made.

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