Girl’s Best Friend: ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Trust me: diamonds are not a girl’s best friend. Chick flicks are. Because when she dumps you and throws those diamonds in your face, she will sidle up to her Haagen Dazs and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days so fast, you’ll get whiplash watching. If you want to be her lover, as The Spice Girls say, you gotta get with her friends. So let this be your weekly, one-stop guide to your girl’s best friend (and the inner girl in you).

It starts so simply. You nonchalantly ask, “Want to see a movie?” right before looking up Daniel Craig’s Defiance and realizing it isn’t opening anywhere near you. Now you’ve done it. She had been planning to catch up on “Top Chef” re-runs (which you love), but that’s all over. You have two options now: you can either try to convince her to road trip out of state as James Bond goes Jewish and lives in the forest with his brothers during World War II, or you can suck it up and see something else.

Your post-holiday options are slim, and if you’ve been reading around you already know Seven Pounds is looking lackluster, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is super-duper long and Marley and Me – well, you already saw Marley and Me. Day after Christmas. At the mall. Parking was not easy. With your two remaining choices, then – no offense at all to the curious case of Mr. Smith in an anti-blockbuster, but I’d advise you to go for the epic. That Ben Button is better than you think.

Why she might want to see it: Brad Pitt aging backwards? All the way back to circa-Legends of the Fall? Done.

Why you might not: You can’t compete with that.

The silver lining: For starters, this movie is getting a lot of awards buzz, and the story is pretty unique. Cate Blanchett might not be your usual shower time crush, but the chemistry she has with Pitt on screen just might make you feel something – in your heart at least.

Tips for the untrained:

  • Buckle down for the almost three hours this movie will steal from you in advance. No drinks an hour before the film. Nothing ruins the movie mood like multiple trips to the loo.
  • Benjamin Button was directed by David Fincher, the same genius behind Se7en and Fight Club, both of which also star Brad Pitt. This current installment in his oeuvre might not be as psychologically thrilling, but you can bet the visuals will draw you in – Fincher’s good with that.
  • The film takes place in Louisiana, and the story is told mostly through flashback. Since it spans decades, you’ll get a nice American history lesson, but without homework and with snacks – if you manage to smuggle some into the theater. The girlfriend’s purse is the perfect means to this end.
  • Don’t sigh in exasperation every time Brad Pitt or Cate Blanchett shows up on screen looking absolutely flawless. It’s all make-up and CGI and good lighting. Post-movie, you and the girlfriend can play with the lighting at home – set some candles, pop a cork and talk about the history of the film, the visual storytelling… might be a good time to mention if you want a motorcycle just like Brad’s. But I didn’t tell you that.

There’s a (slim) chance your girlfriend’s love of Will Smith will outweigh her Brad Pitt curiosity (is he as virile as Troy and Angelina both make him look?), and if that’s the case, just don’t be fooled: Will Smith is in Seven Pounds, but it’s not really a “Will Smith movie.” Nothing’s blowing up; no fat men are dancing; no aliens; no Charlize Theron. Blame the economy. Serious times call for serious actors. Now, if neither Brad nor Will is up her alley – first, thank your lucky stars, and then suggest a rental. For fun for everyone, I’d say Eagle Eye, which hasn’t been out too long, or Top Chef: Season 1, because you know you love it.

Good luck! Let me know how date night goes. I’ll be at home with my soy ice cream this weekend… but feel free to bring me diamonds.

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