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Home / Innovative / Gender-exchanged and race-turned remakes do not live up to their potential

Gender-exchanged and race-turned remakes do not live up to their potential

In the new comedy What Men Want Taraji P. Henson plays a high-stakes sports agent who, after a slapstick mishap, gains the strength to hear the inner thoughts of men (and only the men ) close. She immediately decides to use her strength to get on with the job. The premise and title may be familiar: What Men Want is a remake of What Women Want a comedy by Nancy Meyers with Mel Gibson (2000). This is not the first story that has played a reef on a previous project by the exchange of genders or races of protagonists – the in-continuity franchise rate of 201

8 Ocean's 8 and the 2016 Separate Continuity Restart Ghostbusters are two high-profile examples – but the practice dates back at least to the 1940s, when the film was exchanged between the sexes (19459003), The Front Page as His Girl Friday or the stage of 1943 musical (and later film) Carmen Jones which gives the opera of 1875 Carmen a black cast and a contemporary touch.

What men want will not be the last protagonist exchange remake. Later this year, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson will repeat The Hustle Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (itself a remake of Bedtime Story ). At this year's Sundance Film Festival, 2006 saw the release of […] a version of After The Wedding with Julianne Moore in the role of Mads Mikkelsen. And there are still plans for a remake of the 1984 Splash by Mermaid rom-com with Channing Tatum as Merman and Jillian Bell as the woman he loves.

But remakes based on impersonation are still the cause of dismay, and not exclusively under the reactionary interventions, which were outraged that four women would try to smash spirits without their being able to hold hands. (Although this group tends to be the loudest.) Some of the people who complained about Ghostbusters of 1945 make an unseen picture, insisting that they have no objection to female occupation. They were generally angry at remakes and reboots, and the cynical idea that the audience, under the guise of gender parity, might pour into a greedy rehab instead of supporting the original films. (It's certainly possible to refuse remakes and reboots from more original films, but to do so in good faith requires a bit of care – such as finding accessible but under-scribed films such as Tully, [19659004] Widows . or Leave No Trace .)

On the opposite side, some people believe that if the audience wants to see a group of movie stars, the style-heists of Ocean style tearing down and Hollywood actually disturbs the movie, it's a long overdue positive result. These types of remakes usually offer two great options, either together or separately. You simply offer the superficial pleasures of a mainstream movie that fills major or multiple roles with members of under-represented groups. z. For example, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, and Mindy Kaling are playing against each other instead of pushing one of them into the role of girls in a male-led ensemble. This sounds like a minimum of progress, but given that few films classify women in leading roles (less than half as many as men), films with four or five main female roles targeting a general audience, looking for a good time Look revolutionary.

Photo by Barry Wetcher / Warner Bros.

At the same time, Cast-Flipped films have a unique opportunity to explore perceptions of sexual or racial roles and politics by frequently coining characters with diverse backgrounds into a familiar, male-dominated environment contexts. His Girl Friday was next to a rebirth comedy celebrating a working woman. The Ghostbusters of 1945 were more of a lie than a serious statement, but younger viewers who fucked four women in a sci-fi / fantasy adventure took it as seriously as so many young people did 1984 took. No one wants blockbuster remakes to override frivolous original stories, but memorable original stories are in jeopardy in every way, and some of the studio's best entertainment studios are able to smuggle some information and insights into a multiplex. If well-known brand names can be used to tell stories that are not just a white, straight, male point of view, this is more right than most remakes. Both the fun and serious aspects of flipped remakes give them a certain integrated creative interest, such as a meaningless repetition of Robocop .

is. What Men Want, does not feel futile. It has the opportunity to engage with gender and race politics in a weird setting, and it does not risk much indignation by tinkering with What Women Want . It is the script of a creaky, stupid comedy and not a popular classic. So when this remake stops, it's even more disappointing. The problems may have started with a behind-the-scenes exchange. Instead of a woman who directs a movie about a man who learns about women, he has a man who directs a movie about a woman who is learning … well, in the end, it's not very clear.

Henson's character Ali has a relevant relationship dilemma at the beginning of the film: She is a woman who works in a male-dominated area and often because of her gender from the "locker room talk" (the film draws several phrases from recent national news with a wink) She is also verbally abused because she is too much like one of the boys. Their newfound psychic abilities allowed them to penetrate the office space and directly appeal to the wishes of hot potential client Jamal (Shane Paul McGhie) and his mercurial dad manager (Tracy Morgan). Despite her skills as an agent, she literally has to read minds to compete with her male counterparts.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

But the gender politics of the reconfigured film are mixed up, even more than the source material. Ali's powers allow a few humorous revelations about boys jumping through their heads with thoughtless melodies or ridiculous questions. But above all, she "learns" what she already knew: many men regard her privately and unjustly as ball-bats. It also means that she should not care so much about what men think.

Apart from the film, it is clear that men influence their possibilities at work, whether they care about their thoughts or not. Moreover, their stereotypical "male" aggression does not seem like a front that drops them to be more authentic. It seems to be part of their personality, but the movie still implies that it needs repairing. Although she learns to be kinder to a good-natured bartender / love interest and to her loyal assistant, these changes do not provide any insights into gender or the question of how to cope with sexism and the glass ceiling. What Men Want is a mild lip-syndication for Ali being not just a woman in a male-dominated space, but a black woman in a room where white men compete for a string of black customers. It just never dug into this racial dynamic.

That's a shame, because Henson is obviously a game for both righteous rage over inequality and playing around with the bedroom idiot. What Men Want has clever moments with masculine fronts: There is a running gag in which the male characters look laconic and cooling, while their thoughts reveal that they are secretly more childlike Joy explode over it. say, to meet their athletic heroes. But the movie often lets the boys go casual, delivering a good-natured guy whom Ali misjudged and only briefly comes up with the idea that the clarity of a white guy is called "bold" while a black woman with the same qualities is tagged as "angry". This material is always kept toothless on the edge of the film. But why should one create a really significant social problem in a satire and then refuse to engage with it?

Photo by Hopper Stone / SMPSP

Undoubtedly, there are a variety of filmmakers who could have pulled a man and a woman through a delicate comedy between gender expectations, conscious and unconscious discrimination, and workplace policies. However, director Adam Shankman of Bringing Down the House and several inappropriately staged musicals do not have the comic-chops to reinvent this material. He and his writing team seem to expect that it will be brilliantly comedic to divert enough details from the original premise. But, intentionally or not, they often just follow the original script.

The filmmakers behind [8] [8] [8] and [Ghostbusters] were also content to fling the work of their predecessors rather than re-contextualize them. But these films had at least a touch of female camaraderie and a lot of star chemistry. The conceptual laziness that unsettled some viewers also allowed these films to fit comfortably alongside their predecessors. Paul Feig has a different comic approach than the original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, and Gary Ross can not meet the style of Ocean's trilogy director Steven Soderbergh, but she continue their respective series The tradition of creating crazy hangout films disguised as large budget missions.

So far, the contemporary practice of remakes or sequels with identical identities has produced more disposable fun films than great or even memorable films. It would probably help if more of these films were directed by women and black people instead of just playing them. People who have actually experienced racism and sexism may be more courageous when it comes to addressing them in fiction, and are less inclined to play them for easy, light one-way gags. However, it is still fair to say that a remake or sequel to Ghostbusters (including the version directed by Jason Reitman) is unlikely to fully recapture the magic of the original film and a gendered outline . Dirty Rotten Scoundrels sounds more fun than revelation. As a rule, the remake and sequelizing business will always be the following: one company.

The remake business will not disappear soon, no matter if gender changes or not. The fourth version of A Star is Born was also used outside the world of big-budget franchise models to honor the big box-office and numerous Oscar nominations. (Would not it have been interesting, at least, to reverse the naive dynamics of Starlet / Industrial veterans in all four iterations?) The friendly mediocrity of What Men Want is mostly disappointing because of an inverse, racially-adapted version of What Women Want has much more satirical and observant potential than another crack at Total Recall or The Terminator . It could serve as a correction for anything awkward and old-fashioned in its source material, or at least surpass it on a simple pool level. Surely women and color people deserve more than endless remakes, but they also deserve to play with the popcorn movies in which white guys have been starring for decades.

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