Dana Stevens at Slate writes "In last week’s review of Knocked Up, I made passing mention of the virtual nonexistence of abortion as a real option for Katherine Heigl‘s character, Alison Scott, in the film. I speculated that the movie’s choice to tiptoe around this issue might have been a marketing decision. As if to prove my point that merely uttering the word abortion is a perilous move, that review provoked more blog posts, Fray discussion, and reader mail than anything I’ve written in a long time." She goes on:
We have no idea from the film what the filmmaker’s personal abortion politics areâ€”I’d imagine that he votes pro-choice, whatever his reservations as an individualâ€”but for the purposes of this discussion, it doesn’t matter. Apatow‘s reticence on the subject seems to spring less from personal conviction than from the fear of offending his audience’s sensibilities. This kind of Trojan horse moralism is maddeningly common in pop-culture representations of abortion, which seem muzzled, invisibly policed, by either the pro-life lobby or the fear of it.
She points out that films weren’t always so ginger about abortions, while over at Mireya Navarro at the New York Times continues on the topic, bringing "Waitress" into the mix and writing that "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" is one of the few films in which a character has an abortion, not a conveniently timed miscarriage, and it doesn’t cause them immediate and dire medical complications. But what seems the most on-target point is made in the piece by UCLA professor Jonathan Kuntz:
Dr. Kuntz, the film historian at U.C.L.A., said there is little incentive for such stories to be told. â€œHollywood wants to entertain and make money,â€ he said.
Apatow has yet to make a public comment on the issue.
Speaking of signs of the times, Sheigh Crabtree at the LA Times surveys the rise of the "fresh-scrubbed, wholesome" tweener princesses (versus the current Lohan/Hilton high water mark), with the charge led by Emma Roberts, fresh off Nickelodeon and soon to be seen in "Nancy Drew." We admit, we’re perplexed by that film’s apparent "Brady Bunch Movie"-style reinvention of the character as hopeless square in a 50s sense â€” wasn’t Nancy supposed to be at least a little hip? Certainly not one to suggest a taffy pull, in the least?
Jonathan Padget at the Washington Post suggests that no matter how she’s portrayed, the girl detective hasn’t translated well on screen.
+ The Politics of Shmashmortion (Slate)
+ On Abortion, Hollywood Is No-Choice (NY Times)
+ It’s a green light for stand-up girls’ roles (LA Times)
+ Playing Nancy Drew: Sleuth and Consequences (Washington Post)