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I do sympathize strongly with Olivia's wish for her life to a John Hughes movie. Mostly in that I wish this movie had been directed by John Hughes.

It wasn't bad, necessarily. It was kind of sweet in parts, kind of silly, but it was lacklustre more than anything. Olive's parents were easily the most charming characters in the movie, and resoundingly welcome, far surpassing any of the semi-loathsome teenagers Olive went to school with. If it was a Hughes movie, they would still be teenagers, who are naturally a little unpleasant, but in a fashion that you sympathized with, and recognized. Even Olive's best friend is just kind of nasty, and she turns on Olive so fast it seems contrived to create even more drama.

I...expected this movie to be more sex-positive, somehow? The moral we're given at the end is not negative, but it's more sex-neutral than anything. Even the little things were oddly slut-shamey, from Olive saying she felt like a whore because of the way her classmates treated her, to her mother having slept around because she had low self-worth before she met Olive's father. No one is actually presented as even really not minding if someone chooses to have a lot of sex. The counselor considers it a phase and Rhiannon declares it too far after her supposed second hook-up. The movie itself does a little bit of narrative shaming even though Olive's doing a pretty decent, if unconventional, thing. She's resourceful, and she says herself that she can't quite help herself from looking out for the "downtrodden". It's all weird, basically, like there's a movie underneath this one that is positive about her choices, but knew it wouldn't sell, so they layered this on top until it's uneven. It's enjoyable, but it left me unsettled in a way a witty teenage rom-com really shouldn't.

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scriptamanet

January 2012

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