I like Drew Barrymore. I like her so much that I forgive the amount of romantic comedies she does. That’s a pass I won’t extend to very many (coughJenniferAnistoncough), and I can’t explain why I do for Barrymore, except that she is branching out into other areas. She directs now. That’s worth applauding, as was Whip It!, a film I really enjoyed.
But I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in her second foray behind the camera. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barrymore is set to helm How to Be Single, from the brilliant writers of He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day.
The plot centers on the love lives of a group of New Yorkers over the course of ten years. They live, they love, they break up, they reunite. So, kind of like Valentine’s Day, but with a dash of Blue Valentine. Perhaps it will have more than a dash of the rampant misogyny of He’s Just Not That Into You.
I hope not. I think better of Barrymore, and both Whip It! and Going the Distance suggests she prefers to dodge rom-com pitfalls whenever possible. Neither film, despite it’s feminine trappings, features anyone so desperate to have a relationship that they lose all that makes them human. Whip It! also has at least one shattered nose (belonging to Barrymore), so I feel like she’s trying to change up the female film a little bit.
But then again, she was in He’s Just Not That Into You. Sure, she didn’t have the most reprehensible storyline, but she produced the film, meaning she gave it all a pass. She’s giving them more work. I do not like this.
I hope I’m reading it wrong. Maybe it’s a truly good rom-com like Going the Distance, and it too will have weed smoking and Shawshank Redemption quoting. But for now, I’ll remain fearful that Barrymore was so burned by Whip It! doing poorly at the box office that she’s turning to the most marketable dreck of the genre.
Even so, can I really blame her for that? She tried, no one bought it, and she needs box office points if she wants financing. It’s not her fault women eat up stories of “It’s ok if he cheats on you! Stay with him, he’s paying for the bathroom tile.” (This happens in HJNTIY. And it’s not even the worst twist of that “love story.”) We get what we ask for. But this is one pathetic voice asking for better — so please, Ms. Barrymore?