Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another Reason Not To See "The Five-Year Engagement"

The Judd Apatow produced film The Five-Year Engagement will likely have a less-than-expected first weekend run, compared to some of Apatow's previous gross-out film comedies.

Reviews seem mixed so far. I can see it lacking the box office appeal when you think about the girls out there who this scenario represents their worst nightmare, and guys who  don't want their girl friend to bring up engagements.

It's hard to tell how the pendulum will swing, but I feel like one of the least fortunate sociological changes we've seen in the decade or so past is the continual extension of the male-female courtship. When I watch old films (or talk to my grandparents or their friends) it's amazing how the time period between meeting to dating was often more like weeks. Today, it seems like the time period is years.

My wife and I dated just over five months prior to engagement, followed by an eight or so month engagement. Even this timetable sometimes get's a "shock response."

 Yet, I think that there has been little value added to the lengthening of the courtship period. Sure, I can accept some changes (such as the fact that weddings become huge events that take a little more planning than years past when the court and the minister and whoever was around made the event less "wedding plan-ish."). But the addition of steps in the dating process like we see in real life, films, and movies such as giving a significant other a key, moving in, etc. seems less than profitable to relationships.

My wife and I's dating period is probably "very traditional" (or "old school") to many, including living in separate places through dating, waiting until marriage to have sex, and so forth. But beyond the values we share that led us to make those decisions, I think the pragmatism mixed with selfishness ends up being more destructive than redeeming. And despite whatever "wrap it up" messages that this film has regarding love, marriage, and dating, anything I've seen in a preview seems to capture what I would deem destructive to my hopes that someday the pendulum would swing back and people would do dating differently.

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