Some Reservations

So I get it that casual sex is no big deal.  At least that’s the way our culture wants us to think.  I just find it odd when this sort of mind-set is mixed with children.

We rented No Reservations the other night, the summer-flick with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart as competing chefs.  It’s a light film, so I won’t bother criticizing it on the basis of storyline or plot development or any number of other points (character development, lack of originality, etc.). 

But in the course of this movie, the two main characters sleep together.  It’s tastefully done in that this is implied rather than spread out in graphic detail for us.  But it’s implied.  So much so that, the morning after, the guy is the one to wander into the 10-year old niece’s bedroom, and ask if she wants to make pancakes with him. 

Yes, she knows him.  They’ve been chummy when she hangs out at the restaurant watching he and her aunt cook.  And yes, they all worked to cook a wonderful dinner the night before.  But there’s no surprise in her (played by Abigail Breslin).  No why are you waking me up?  No where the heck is my aunt?  The kid is very cool with a near-stranger appearing in her bedroom one morning. 

Of course, the understanding seems to be that the child understands what has happened.  She knows – at some 10-year old level – that her aunt and this guy have spent the night.  So of course it’s no surprise when he makes a big deal of kissing her aunt at breakfast the next morning.  Kudos to Zeta-Jones’ character for hesitating and suggesting it’s not appropriate.  BECAUSE IT’S NOT!!!  But of course, she’s overruled.  And it’s cool with the kid that they spend the whole day in a fast-forwarded montage of fun and togetherness.

And when the characters break up (which is a charitable description, since they haven’t really been ‘together’ up till now in the film), the child is devestated.  Well, that appears to be a reasonable description of what you might expect when you dangle paternal figures in and out of a child’s life – let alone the life of a child who has just lost her mother.  At some point though – I can’t remember exactly where – the girl offers Zeta-Jones her favorite stuffed animal to sleep with.  The implication seeming to be (at least at one level), that Zeta-Jones needs someone to sleep with, even if it’s just a stuffed animal. 

It’s another movie with a preternaturally wise child – or what our culture considers wise these days.  And, like Martian Child, it’s another film with a young child who is able to run away and navigate across town somehow on their own.  I have no idea how this happens, and I don’t happen to know many (or any) 10-year olds that – in a new city that they aren’t familiar with – could run away and figure out how to navigate public transit or taxis (and with what money!?!?!?) to get across town to their destination.  Gimme a break!

I won’t spoil the ending, though I suspect that’s practically impossible with a movie of this type.  If you don’t know how it’s going to end, you probably see even fewer movies than *I* do, and that’s pretty hard to do!  I just get irritated when Hollywood attempts to utilize children to foster the impression that casual sex is not only acceptable, it’s natural – even to a 10-year old.  Ugh.

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