Mad WoMen

If there is one thing this Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men taught us: behind every great man is a helluva strong woman. And there’s a very good reason we stand behind our men… they don’t have eyes in the back of their head, but we have eyes in the front of ours. 😉

I know this site is called Chick Flick Critic, so I should probably stick to reviewing movies. However, I am a complete sucker for badass women and the women in Mad Men’s “Mystery Date” episode were one ball-busting set of B.A.M.Fs. I won’t review the whole episode here (which may have been one of my favorite Mad Men episodes ever) but I will take the time to applaud each mad lady for having – as Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s newest copywriter Michael Ginsburg might say – some serious chutzpah.

Let’s start with Ms. Zou Bisou Bisou herself – Megan Draper:
I admit – when Megan’s character was first introduced last season, my catty girl instincts came out and I was all ready to write her off as a French-Canadian slut who sleeps with her boss. And when Don proposed to her in last season’s finale, I was all ready to write him off as another sad, predictable man who thinks only with his penis and picked his hot, young secretary over the intelligent and elegant, but older, Dr. Faye Miller. But then Season Five came, and Megs went ahead and seduced me with that sexy French song-and-dance number of hers in the premiere episode. Then, when Don acted like a royal Dick Whitman about the rad surprise party she threw him, she tortured him by cleaning the apartment in her underwear and being all “I’m so hot but you can’t get this” (of course he’s Don Draper so he did end up getting it, but whatever). Finally, in the latest episode, they confronted the big question that has been on all of our minds since the finale: is Don a changed man or will he keep his adulterous ways? In “Mystery Date”, Megan and Don bump into Andrea, one of his previous lovers, during a very awkward elevator ride. But instead of passively aggressively letting her discomfort brew inside of her all day like ex-wife Betty, myself, and most other women would do, Megan confronted Don right at the office coffee maker. She was all, “Hey player, I know you fucked every woman up and down Madison Avenue – twice – but you’re with me now. So if I have something to worry about, I deserve to know now.” And even though I am sure she knows Don will eventually cheat on her (otherwise what kind of show would it be?), at least there is the satisfaction that she scared him so much that he had a freaking crazyass nightmare about murdering the elevator bitch.

SCDP’s number one guy’s girl, Peggy Olson, also wore her sassypants for this episode. Sick of giving Pete Campbell a high horse to ride like a rodeo clown, Roger Sterling panics when he realizes it’s Friday night, the Mohawk Airlines campaign outline is due Monday, and he was too busy with his office drinking/flirting/sleeping (in that order) to get it started. He offers Peggy a measly $10 to not only complete the whole pitch over one weekend, but to lie to Campbell by saying Roger asked her to do it last week. With her stockinged legs crisscrossed over her desk, and Bourbon in hand, she sizes his desperation up and responds: “$10 for the work. But the lie will cost more.” CHA-CHING! $10 soon becomes $410 – cash – which is a boatload of money in the 60s, especially for a woman. When he tries to argue, she threatens to take his watch too and he bolts out of her office so fast, her door doesn’t even get the chance to hit him on his way out. Peggy has another great scene in this episode, where she drunkenly bonds with Dawn, the lone black employee, confessing that it’s hard acting like a man at the office and she isn’t sure if she wants to bother trying anymore. A brief, but strong, moment of female solidarity fills the air – but it is quickly marred when Peggy goes to leave the room and both women realize that she is leaving her purse (filled with Roger’s money) with Dawn. Peggy is immediately ashamed of her momentary prejudice, and decides to leave the purse alone regardless of her suspicions. Hoes before dolla dolla bills, y’all.

The number one performance of the night goes to my favorite fiery femme fatale: Joan Holloway Harris. In “Mystery Date”, Joan’s cry-baby husband, Greg, returns home from Vietnam on a 10 day leave, meeting his (but really Roger Sterling’s) son for the first time. The reunion conjures up a truly passionate welcome back kiss, causing me to momentarily forget how much I despise this man. Greg (understandably) can’t keep his hands off his Joanie, so he sends her mother on multiple beer runs with the baby so that the two of them can have sexytime. However, the reunion bliss comes to a screeching halt when Greg’s parents force him to admit to Joan that he has volunteered to go back to Vietnam for another year. Now Joan generally doesn’t take crap from anyone – which is why we love her so much – but Greg has always been the exception. Here, though, she doesn’t disappoint. After a sleepless night, she emerges from her bedroom, looks at Greg dead-on with her killer Medusa eyes, and goes, “I’m glad the Army makes you feel like a man, cause I’m sure sick of trying to do it.” Atta girl, Joanie! He responds by telling her that the army makes him feel like a good man and FINALLY, Joan says what we have been waiting three seasons for her to say: “You’re not a good man. You never were. Even before we were married.” BOOYAH. You tell that asshole! I was beginning to think she would never confront Greg about how he raped her in Don’s office in Season 2. But finally, she does and WOW was it worth the wait. Kudos to Christina Hendricks for pulling it off so powerfully! Greg storms out in his typical huffy puffy fashion, and I kind of wanted Joan to yell after him, “By the way – the baby isn’t yours. It’s obvious science, you idiot. No wonder you couldn’t get a job as a real doctor!” But whatever. The scene was still awesome the way it was.

At the core of the episode is the story of the 1966 rape-and-murders of 8 nurses in Chicago and the haunting idea that you never really know whether a prince or a dud stands on the other side of that door. For once, the “high heel” is not a symbol of sensuality… it is a symbol of vulnerability. Sure, Cinderella finds her prince… but was it really all that safe for her to be running around the castle with one shoe on at midnight? Some women (like Megan, Peggy, and Joan) are able to overcome these demons and send their “duds” right back through the door they came in: Megan sends Don home from work with his cold, Peggy sends Roger walking out of the office that he gave her back in Season 2, Joan sends her husband a-packin’ out of their apartment. Other women, like Sally Draper, end up hiding under a bed like the 9th nurse. It is a really interesting episode, particularly from a female perspective, and I would highly recommend it to any woman – whether they are a Mad Men fan or not.

Bridesmaids with Babies

Friends with Kids (2012)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ½ (3.5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ (3.5/5)
Boyfriend friendly: He’ll get a kick out of the monogamous “woe is me” males. But he’ll also probably return that engagement ring.

In a world where the divorce rate is at 50%, a baby can be conceived in a test tube, and chivalry is so dead that today – in a subway car full of men in suits – I was the one that gave up my seat to a pregnant woman, why bother with the all traditional bullshit?

In Friends with Kids, Julie Keller (Jennifer Westfeldt) and Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) are two single, thirtysomething Manhattanites who decide to fuck tradition (figuratively, but also kind of literally). Julie is perfectly content at being mediocre: she has good hair, can pull the rest together, and has a decent job with a nice boss. Jason comes from money, really enjoys his sex life, and likes to play a game where you have to pick one out of two terrible would-you-rather situations. BFFs since the college days, the two are dumbfounded when they discover their married-with-children friends (aka the entire cast of Bridesmaids – Maya Rudolph & Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig & Jon Hamm), who were once so hot and heavy they’d have quickies in restaurant bathrooms, are now resentful, spiteful and only have sex once a month (if it’s a good month). On the endless journey back from visiting the couples in Guam Brooklyn, Jason jokes that divorced people who remarry have it great: they only have to take care of a kid 50% of the time, so the other 50% can be spent intimately with the one they’re meant to be with. When Julie agrees, he takes the joke further saying that they should have a kid together and split custody. After all – not only are they best friends with nothing but platonic feelings for one another, but they live in the same apartment building. 9 months after some awkward, almost-incestuous-feeling sex – Joseph Keller-Fryman is born.

The concept behind this movie isn’t groundbreaking by any means – especially given the last few years in rom-com world (i.e. The Switch, The Back-Up Plan, Life As We Know It). But this is the first time it’s been done by someone as wickedly sharp and funny as Jennifer Westfeldt – who not only starred in this, but also wrote and directed it. With a smart script that was able to make me want both things (for the arrangement to work and for Julie & Jason to end up together), and an all-star cast that she was able to nab through the connections of her longtime, real-life lover Jon Hamm, the idea of having a kid with someone you’re not in a relationship with felt… well, genius.

Of course, as it turns out, life with a kid isn’t all that much sexier just because you’re single. Little Joe can have a diarrhea attack at any moment, and he won’t hold it back just because Megan Fox is in the next room waiting to bang your brains out. And, as Ben (Hamm) points out in a drunken tirade that is spot-on though spurned from jealousy, what do you tell Joe when he’s older and finds out Mommy and Daddy never loved each other? Jason and Julie think they have all the answers, but soon Joe is close to 2 and throwing a heartbreaking tantrum because he wants Daddy to stay the night.

Friends with Kids is a great romantic comedy (with the perfect combination of both) and I highly recommend it, as it acts like an unofficial, more mature sequel to Bridesmaids. It skips all the conventional “honeymoon bliss” and cuts right to the core of a relationship. When there’s not enough time to have shower sex every morning, what else is there to hold it together? Friends with Kids will never be a classic because it is just slightly too familiar, slightly too smart, and slightly too painfully honest at times. The 3.5 rating comes mostly from the last five minutes of the film, which tries to be edgy with an indelicate “I Love You” speech by Jason that uses my favorite four letter word when it just isn’t appropriate. Westfeldt does give us the happy ending though, and in some twisted way it seems that their crazy idea inevitably worked out. Baby first, love story after.

And now I leave you with a link to Chick Flick Critic’s Jason-Fryman-Inspired “Would You Rather” Quiz. Have fun!

Celebrity Freebie List

For anyone not familiar – the almighty Celebrity Freebie List is a special liberty bestowed upon all couples by the writers of “Friends” giving each partner in a relationship the right to choose a maximum of 5 celebrities that they are allowed to sleep with, without being penalized, should the situation present itself. Since I mentioned in my review of Wanderlust that Paul Rudd made my cut, and since both Rudd and Aniston were major characters on Friends, I decided to make my list official by posting it here.

DISCLAIMER: My list is extremely unconventional, and even more impractical than others because of it. But I have my reasonings and you can’t fake true feelings…

Drumroll please

1) Neil Patrick Harris
2) John Krasinski
3) Paul Rudd
4) Joseph Gordon-Levitt
5) Jimmy Fallon

Yes, I am serious. Yes, I am aware the likelihood of any of the above are zilch because my list includes 1 gay man, 1 rumored-to-be gay man, and 3 married men. But to be honest, I feel like I have just as good a shot as getting NPH to sleep with me as I do Ryan Gosling. So I’d rather give the spot to a really awesome gay man than a really beautifully pretty man. Because pretty men make me feel so… not pretty.

Not too long ago, this list would’ve been completely different (i.e. Derek Jeter, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Andrew Garfield, Jon Hamm). And sure, it’d be awesome to tell people I slept with the captain of the Yankees or Don Draper or Spiderman, but what would the experience actually be like? Answer: Me not even enjoying it because I’m totally uncomfortable, sucking in my tummy and wishing I had done a few more squats that week to tighten up the ass cellulite. With this current list? I’d be laughing so much at their jokes that I wouldn’t have the chance to stress. I’m also pretty confident that My Five would be just as mind-blowing in the bedroom as the more hunky Hollywood hunks. Even NPH should know how to pleasure a lady… he is Barney Legen-Fucking-Dary Stinson!!

Realistically, I should probably find it in my heart to cross off NPH and put Jason Segel on there somewhere, since he’s both straight and single (because those are definitely the only two things stopping me from NPH). He’s super cute in a doofy way, the Muppet fetish is kinky, and thanks to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I know he’s got the full package if ya know what I mean. But there is nothing realistic about this list so, for now, NPH stays.

SIDENOTE: My boyfriend apparently doesn’t care about the whole “sleeping with someone prettier than you” thing. His list: Jennifer Aniston, Mila Kunis, Brooklyn Decker, Jessica Alba, Bar Refaeli. WTF is he smoking, right?

What’s your list?! Tell me below!