Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fools Rush In

I remember watching the movie "Fools Rush In" in high school and really liking it, but having watched it recently in light of taking this class, I saw it a bit differently the second time.

The movie basically tells the story of how Alex (played by Matthew Perry) accidentally gets Salma Hayek's character, Isabella, pregnant - they then get married, which results in a lot of cross-cultural clashing between their parents.

One prime example of this is when Alex's parents (who are very WASPy) see Isabella for the first time, and comment, "Now that's what I call a housekeeper," presenting a very common occupational stereotype associated with Latinos. I couldn't actually tell if the inclusion of this comment was meant as a criticism of such stereotypes, but the fact that Matthew Perry's character doesn't even correct his father immediately about assuming Isabella is a maid doesn't make it seem like a very robust criticism on the director/screenwriter's part about the common association of Latinas and domestic work.

Additionally, as we have discussed multiple times in class in relation to Sofia Vergara, Hayek's role in this movie is similarly very representative of the sexy, voluptuous stereotype associated with Latinas. This is exemplified when one of Alex's friends asks him, "You married her? The one with the body?" This quite literally reduces Isabella's identity to her body and demonstrates how Latina women in the media are often identified solely based on their body image, a la Sofia Vergara.

There are also several class stereotypes present in the movie; where Alex's parents are very well-to-do and uptight, Hayek's parents are clearly portrayed as being from a lower class, because Latinos couldn't possibly be wealthy, right?

Additionally, the 'family' stereotype is present quite frequently as well. Alex comments multiple times throughout the movie that his family isn't close, he barely ever sees them or talks to them, etc., and he loves that Isabella's family is so close-knit. Isabella has many brothers, and in contrast to Alex who hardly talks to his parents, talks with hers (and her grandmother too!) very frequently.

I felt that more or less every stereotype we discussed in class was present in this movie -though some were negative, such as depiction of class differences, in some cases, these stereotypes were presented in a positive manner; for example, Alex laments that his family was never close and is clearly envious of Isabella's relationship with her parents. However these 'positive' stereotypes are still stereotypes nonetheless, and still pigeonhole Latinos into a very small category.


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  2. 1 comments:
    Suze said...
    When I saw the movie I didn't think much of the dad making the comment about Isabella being a housekeeper. They worked it well into the movie. The dad says that because Isabella is actually cleaning her house at the time of the parents' arrival so the first image they see of her. If she had not been cleaning the house at the time of their arrival and wasn't wearing her cleaning clothes, it is probable that the dad wouldn't have made that comment.

    The thing that I thought was totally exaggerated and didn't like for some reason was when Isabella decorated the house. When she was done there were saints/crosses everywhere and bright colored walls full of decorations...

    I think it's funny how this class has made me look at a lot of entertainment pieces differently -I dissect things...I kinda like it.