January 31, 2011

Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places

This is exciting. My first review of screener. Does this mean I'm selling out? Oh, who cares! I don't. I welcome it. Just think. I may soon be sent screeners of Oscar hopefuls and the biggest movies to come out. That probably won't happen for... ever, so, for now, I'll just stick with what I have. Beggars can't be choosers. For my first screener, I have to tackle the question of internet dating and all the qualms it brings. Clickin' For Love seeks to answer some of the questions that plague this hobby of some, and while it does shed some light on some aspects, it's too narrow minded about the whole thing, and, as such, all we are left with is a pretty biased documentary.

So, like pretty much all docs, this one goes about it's business by sitting a bunch of people down and having them tell their stories. Said stories run the gamut of internet daters, from the California teenager who met a guy through Counter-Strike, the 40 actress looking for some European hunk, the swinger looking to make a commitment, to the guy just trying it out for the first time. Though the stories are varied, they don't really provide all that much insight into the whole medium. Pretty much everyone getting interviewed went in with a open mind, got hurt or weirded out at some point, but come out with a pretty optimistic attitude of the whole thing. There's not really anyone interviewed who views the whole internet dating thing as a bad thing. While I get that the point of the film is to paint online dating in a much better light than it is usually made out to be, the film hamstrings itself by not providing counter arguments. It makes the arguments it does make seem less genuine. That's what my english teachers tell me when they talk about formulating arguments in essays. I'm now inclined to agree.

The cast of characters lined up to provide stories is varied and lively. Many of them are just basic people looking for love, though many of them have some pretty zany stories. There was a guy who was offered $100,000 for each kid that he fathered by his current girlfriend. Needless to say he got out of there kind of fast. Those are good, but then there are some people who don't succeed quite as well. There's one guy, a single guy with three kids, who is looking for a new GF. How does he go about this? By banging pretty much everyone he goes out with. Ok, that's fine. That's his life choice, and I have no right to judge him. But many of the things he said just came off as sleazy, crass, and a little misogynistic. It made any point he might have been trying to get across null and void because I just turned off whenever he was talking because I didn't want to listen to him anymore. And I'm sorry, but the thing with Ali going to his first blind date just seemed staged.

The two most authentic people here are two women. One of them, Colleen, hasn't had much luck in the dating department, and is now living with an ex. Don't worry. It's platonic. She didn't have some weird thing about spiritual beliefs and she wasn't sleazy in any sense. Her stories resonated because they were some of the few seemed 100% real. The other one who I connected with was Judy Garland. No, not that Judy Garland. She told a story about how she met her soul mate online, and then how was unfairly stolen from her suddenly due to a heart problem. Her statement that seeing people on Match.com that she had seen many years previously was a grim sight indeed. It meant that no one was finding anyone.

Maybe I'm being unfair. This is a subject I'm already biased in. I view online dating as a perfectly viable option, but in taking part, you lose many of the things that make finding the right person such an exciting prospect. Seeing someone from across the room who interests you is a much more gratifying feeling than seeing their picture online. But, that's just me, and, like I've said many times before here, I'm young, so my opinions may very well change in the future.

Clinkin' For Love carries the tagline, "Reboot your perspective on internet dating!" My perspective wasn't rebooted. The film doesn't really provide anything new on the whole online dating thing community that comes with it. Alternate perspectives from people who, say, found their soul mate the old fashioned way, or someone who abhors the whole idea, would have been nice. It would have provided some nice counter context for the stories being told .We don't get any of that, and the result is that the film takes one side and doesn't really veer from that side. It's worth a look, is pretty entertaining in some moments, and a few of the stories do ring true. You just come away feeling empty afterwards. No new context is really provided. It's not a deconstruction of online dating. It's more like a hyper critical advertisement.

Before I leave you, a brief message to director Pablo Pappano: PLEASE DON'T HATE ME!!

For more on Clickin' For Love, be sure to check out the website here.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! I couldn't disagree more, Sebastian. You're entitled to your opinion of course and good for you for not feeling compelled to write a glowing review just because a filmmaker sent you a screener. However, I disagree with most of this. I feel it covered the whole process quite well. I'm pretty positive the last scene is not staged. I for one do not think it paints internet dating in a positive light but rather a very realistic one... and think what you want about internet dating but you're still pretty young. This is a safe and viable option for many adult professionals. Even for young guys like yourself. I met my wife thru a girl I met on the internet when I was around your age. I had some other thoughts I forgot but I did want to comment on this statement:
    "While I get that the point of the film is to paint online dating in a much better light than it is usually made out to be, the film hamstrings itself by not providing counter arguments."
    I mentioned it briefly above. You have to understand that this is a very addictive thing. And I think that the reason there is no "negative light" is that people think that perfect someone will be the next one. So they keep at it and stay excited about it. Plus, almost being raped in a trailer is pretty negative! :)