Many movies require a suspension of disbelief. They create a world, establish rules for that world and, if they do it well, we buy into it. Some films, however, create a world that is exactly like this world, with coffee and cabs and women desperately trying to find a mate before their late twenties, except for one little detail that they ask us to simply accept. One of the characters in the film has a job that not only doesn’t exist in real life, but is also ridiculous.
The fact that entire plots of movies are then based on these faux careers is insulting enough. Casting Dane Cook on top of that is just salt in the wound. Here’s a look at five movies that relied on bizarre fake jobs to help their two leads find love.
5. My Best Friend’s Girl
The Job: Asshole for hire. Men pay Dane Cook’s character to take their ex-girlfriends out on dates and behave so badly that it drives these women back into the arms of their manipulative exes.
The Most WTF-iest Part of the Job: Honestly, the big WTF is that Alec Baldwin agreed to be in this train wreck. But as far as the job goes, it’s the idea that women, having gone on a single date with a jerk, would instantly settle for the man who came before and ignore whatever problems caused them to end that relationship. Dane Cook’s success is based on the idea that women can’t imagine there being more than two potential mates in the world. If you break up with a guy and the next one sucks…well, you’ve used up all your guys. Better get back with the first one.
4. The Break-Up Artist
The Job: Break-up artist. Seriously. Amanda Crew plays a woman who is paid to end strangers’ relationships.
The WTF-iest Part of the Job: There are a few. 1) Afterwards, she gives the dumpee her card, even though that person obviously doesn’t have a relationship to end. That’s just bad marketing. 2) There are so many different technologies out there, if you don’t have the chutzpah to break up with someone to their face, you still have at least five ways to do it. And as Sprint’s advertising points out, most of those are free. 3) In the movie, the lead is almost put out of business by ANOTHER BREAK-UP COMPANY. What? How many passive aggressive rich people in bad relationships are there?
3. Failure to Launch
The Job: Life coach/…prostitute? Sarah Jessica Parker helps men who refuse to move out of their parents’ house gain confidence by dating them.
The WTF-iest Part of the Job: My biggest problem with this premise is that it’s based on the idea that all men are attracted to Sarah Jessica Parker. Having spoken with my male friends about this on several occasions, I have found the reverse to be true.
And even if all men did want to date SJP, grown men who live with their parents due to low self-esteem and whose parents have the financial resources to pay a life coach is a very small niche on which to base your entire career.
2. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
The Job: Magazine columnist and advertising executive. Both of those jobs are real, but there is no way either job is anything like its representation here. Kate Hudson is a columnist who writes a “How to” article for a Cosmo-like magazine. She decides to write an article about all the things women do wrong in relationships and frame it as “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” But then she goes out and seriously attempts to do it. Like, meets a guy at a bar, acts crazy around him and tries to get him to dump her because she needs her one-page column that will run opposite a Proactive ad to be real.
And Matthew McConaughey won’t dump her, despite how crazy and emotional she’s acting, because he needs to get a woman to fall in love with him so he can win a job marketing diamonds. Because, as his boss says, getting a woman to buy diamonds is the same as getting her to fall in love. Huh? No it isn’t. Getting a woman to buy diamonds is based on extensive marketing research and targeted advertising. Getting a woman to fall in love with you is based on sending her on a bad date with Dane Cook. DUH.
The WTF-iest Part of the Job: Oh God, for these two, all of it. Like, Kate Hudson’s character wants to be a real journalist and write “How to” articles about establishing a lasting peace in the Middle East. She’s constantly annoyed by her editor who refuses to run that stuff. Of course, they’re not going to run that stuff, the magazine is aimed at women who are just trying to figure out which jeans are right for their body. How are you going to be a journalist if you don’t even understand the difference between a women’s magazine and the New York Times? And Matthew McConaughey wins his job with the slogan “Frost Yourself,” which is weird and terrible and wouldn’t even get chosen for a marketing campaign for baked goods, where at least it would make a little sense.
1. Anger Management (Spoiler Alert, but if you care so much about not having movies ruined for you maybe you shouldn’t wait a decade before you see them)
The Job: Anger management counselor/Role play specialist. Jack Nicholson plays Buddy, an anger management counselor who gets Adam Sandler to open up and express his emotions by basically ruining his life.
The WTF-iest Part of the Job: Throughout the course of the movie, Adam Sandler is arrested on an airplane, sentenced to anger management counseling, punches his boss in the face and almost loses his fiancée. It turns out, at the end, that this was all the work of therapist/psycho/mastermind Buddy. Even the scene on the plane when Adam got arrested. EVEN THE COURTROOM. It’s explained quickly (as it would have to be) that the judge, the flight attendant and his fiancée were all in on it. And success! Adam can now express his emotions in a healthy and…wait, what? Judges will hold fake court cases to help their friends teach an emotionally stunted man a lesson? And once Adam finds out it was all a set-up, arranged by his fiancée, he’s…cool with it? Yup. Totally cool with it. Good set-up, everyone!