We watched ‘The Switch’ with Jason Bateman & Jennifer Anniston last night. Zuko ran into the DVD-store while the kids and I waited in the car. She didn’t feel like browsing through thousands of movies, so she asked the guy behind the counter: ‘hey, we feel like a comedy tonight, what is funny, not ha-ha funny, really grab your stomach and laugh till tears stream down your face funny?’ The guy didn’t miss a beat. ‘The Switch’, he said, ‘it is hilarious, best movie I’ve seen this year.’ So she takes it & we go home looking forwards to a movie wich will switch our mood in an instant.
Needless to say, we’re not going to ask that particular DVD-store attendant for a recommendation on a comedy again.
Not that it was a bad movie. It deals with the issue of artificial insemination, single motherhood and growing up without a father. Or as the review blurb says, its about ‘an unmarried 40-year-old woman who turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant. Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend, who has been living with a secret: he replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own.’
Sounds like there could be something funny, somewhere in there. Should be a scenario from which to solicit at least a laugh or two.
Not at all.
I do believe the topics chosen for popular movies are a comment on the issues we need to make sense of and that script writers and directors choose stories for their relevance. That is what makes them popular. Because people can relate to the situation or at least to a character somewhere inside the story.
‘The Switch’ offers more than enough for us to relate too. Not just in seeking meaning, or being tired of hoping ‘mr right’ will magically appear, or taking our own destiny in our own hands, or quietly and fearfully hoping she would see that the friendship is deep & meaningful and more valuable than looks or image, or being a little boy who makes up stories about a father and grandfather and uncle he never knew, and will never know, but wants – it speaks of people surrounded by people who live immersed in loneliness who are utterly unable to really connect and find friendship or emotional intimacy.
I walked away from the movie sad.
Perhaps because it reminds me of my own inability to connect.
In one part of my life I’m well connected. Zuko and I share hearts which have become one in a decade and a half and which will fuse even more in decades to come. We are friends. Deep and honest friends. And our three children, I would hope we are emotionally connected. I think we are. And we have wonderful friends around us. These relationships are not superficial. They’re real. And I am grateful for them.
But then there is my parents, my brothers and my sister with whom I’ve not spoken in years. My family who have chosen to ostracize me because I did not follow the path they wanted me to follow.
Perhaps it is this hole which awakens the great sadness inside of me.
Perhaps it is the darkness I see as I work amongst other beings who in the end cannot be honest about who they are and cannot reach out to touch.
Perhaps it is my own darkness.
My own dishonesty.
My own inability to reach out and touch.
Whatever it may be, Josh Gordon and Will Speck got this one right, as far as I am concerned.
It is not a comedy.
It is a tragedy.
It veiled me in the heavy cloak of the great sadness for myself and my kind as we stumble through this existence called life.
And I wonder as I wipe the tears of my soul – I wonder what can be done to lift this black cloth?
Perhaps a bit of lexotan or other chemical numbing agent?
Perhaps a drink?
Perhaps a laugh till my tummy aches comedy would help?
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