Friday, August 26, 2011

“Due Date”, 2010. Few Random Thoughts.

Due Date”, 2010. Directed by Todd Phillips. Co-written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, and Adam Sztykiel.

A guy has to be on time for the birth of his first child. It's a planned c-section. He's having lots of troubles and adventures on the way. The ex-boyfriend of his wife asks him doesn't it bothers him to have a c-section "on that flawless body" of his wife. He is not so close to home, the wife's waters brake. She's having a spontaneous birth. He manages somehow to come in the hospital just in time to see her sitting on the birthing chair all covered up with male obstetrician in front of her about to catch the baby. Our guy passes out and misses the birth. His friend, a prick, cuts the cord and keeps a piece of it. The two boys are watching the newborn baby, who's a girl instead of being a boy they expected, laying quietly in her cradle among other babies in the nursery.

So, it's official. It is perfectly normal to have a planned c-section, even movies bring it up casually. It's kind of cool. For no apparent reason. Just because. It's the way it is, and even movie script writers don't find it necessary to give it a cause.

The only thing that might interfere is the "imperfection" afterwards. Yeah, right, like if the post-partum woman is going to be exactly the same as she was in her twenties, with or without scars. Well, she might get close; sure it takes a considerable effort and some time. Is it so important to have a “flawless” body? What is perfect? An adolescent? A woman that doesn't show any sign of fertility? Before and after. As if nothing happened. She became a mother, but she's not supposed to show it. And about the scar - hey dude, in that fancy clinic they make such masterpieces that you won't be able to find any trace of scalpel even if you have a sexual intercourse under a neon light. But then, you might see all the cellulites, the stretch marks (the ones from puberty if not from birth), the fact that one nipple is not quite the same as the other, but also the eyes look somehow asymmetric, and that hair that was left behind in the otherwise perfectly hairless pubic zone (we are talking pre-puberty now), and lots of other disturbing views. What kind of sex do you have anyway, if you're there looking for "imperfections" instead of enjoying your time? If you get laid when you're completely wasted (that was suggested in the movie), are you telling me you're able to see the flawlessness of any kind? Was this the only argument screenplay writers could find against (planned) c-section?

In the movie, we are prepared for a c-section, we accept it even if we find disturbing the fact that nobody is giving us any justification. But, then, coup de scene, the woman is having a normal birth. There must be something wrong - she's having a normal birth! OMG, is she going to be OK?

Then you see the woman sitting on that chair that is not at all a lay down position, it's almost squatting, it's, you know, almost alternative birth techniques. Well, why shouldn't she prepare to that kind of birth before? Was she afraid of pain? Was she concerned about her flawless body as well? The interruption of the flawlessness is mentioned only on the man side, nobody asked the female character if she was concerned about it. Maybe the couple made that decision because of their working agendas? We can only guess. The baby actually decides to come exactly on the planned date. I suppose the script writers didn’t bother anymore, there was no more mental space for other divergences – the movie is packed with surprises that changing the due date would be too much. Besides, the title of the movie speaks by itself. There is one certainty: the hero will succeed in getting on time for the due date no matter what. Even the baby knows that, so she comes when expected though not quite as expected.

The baby decides to come out old school. The overly mannish father faints due to his heroic mishaps. In that way he misses not only the birth of his child, but also the natural birth of his child. Nothing has changed in years. Modern fathers are not supposed to be present at birth. They might be around, but they will not watch and have the disturbing experience of their woman losing control, being similar to a wild animal. They will miss the view of her (his?) vagina being obnoxiously deformed and their child getting out from the same hole of delight they are getting in. Our hero is saved by his own bravery. His friend, an effeminate-but-not-gay boneless wanker (clearly shown in the movie), took his place. There is no competitive threat. Even though the obstetrician is a male, he is obviously not a man man, he’s on duty, he’s in a sterile shapeless uniform that leaves no room for doubt. Nonetheless, if there was still any doubt, the woman in labor is so covered up that not an inch of her (flawless?) body can be seen, she’s sealed and formless. We are not stepping out of our comfort zone, here. Are we? Would the sensuality of birth put us out of our comfort zone, instead?

Now, if we came to the point where it seems birth is not for men, why then the ob-gyn is not female? I don’t have the statistics handy, but I bet there are more female ob-gyns than male. It would be plausible to see a female obstetrician delivering the hero’s baby. What, men don’t want to see the filthy business, but they can’t either accept to leave it entirely to women? Would it be too feminist to put a woman in sterile suit and catch the baby in the movies? It happens in reality, why wouldn’t it in fiction? It might seem as a meaningless choice, but I haven’t seen a single movie where there is a woman instead of a man catching the baby in the hospital. Is Medical Guild somehow connected to Hollywood? The theory of conspiracy starts tickling my mind.

After all is done, the two guys watch the cradle in the nursery. The hero then discovers it’s a girl. The prick gave her a name, but at that point the hero doesn’t mind. Why, because he was so exhausted that nothing matters anymore but to be safe and with his family, or because it’s a girl? He was so picky for the boy’s name that he obviously had some issues with names and genders. Besides, are babies still kept in the nursery instead of being close to their mothers nowadays? What, are we still there trying to raise ruthless soldiers? No human with a little heart left could do that to a newly born creature, not after all the scientific evidence that all mammal babies need mothers or anyone taking loving care of them, closely, personally, individually, full time, right from the start, possibly breastfeeding.

The friend also cuts the cord of the hero’s child. Well, I’m not quite sure it is an honorable and propitious gesture for the fathers to be physically and symbolically the ones who separate the child from his or her mother at such an early stage. However, our hero was denied this newly acquired right that was taken by his despicable friend (who even took a souvenir). That is an offence but also a relief. When in doubt, leave it out. The cord is part of the messy birth business anyway.

Due Date” is obviously targeting men’s audience, following The Hangover trend. Yet, it deals with parenting and birth that are not usually boys’ stuff. But even the wildest boys are growing up and becoming fathers, you can’t leave them out. They need mirrors where to recognize themselves during sleepless nights without drugs and alcohol. And Hollywood is there ready to fill the void. I just discovered the screenwriters like parenting topics. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out there is an exclusive boys’ club behind all the babies related movies that are churned out at wild hard core parties where all the boys are getting drunk and wasted making fun of their deepest fears. They don’t remember how, but the screenplay was there after they woke up, and the cheesy greasy sleazy producers just loved it. Again me, making up stories behind stories. Can’t help it. However, the movie made me write 1.441 words, it must be worth seeing.

No comments:

Post a Comment