Jonah Hill has a lot of winning qualities: he's funny, smart and may be one of the best comedic actors working in film today. What he's not is conventionally "hot." In fact, in 21 Jump Street and its just-released sequel, 22 Jump Street, one of the central jokes is the odd-couple pairing of his schlubby everyman with hunk du jour Channing Tatum.
Hill -- who also memorably wooed Emma Stone in Superbad -- is hardly the only one to punch above his weight when it comes to on-screen relationships. Seth Rogen, another decidedly normal-looking guy, has been with the decidedly unnormal-looking Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up and Rose Byrne in the new Neighbors. Jason Segel was in a love triangle with Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and in the upcoming Sex Tape gets frisky -- lucky duck! -- with Cameron Diaz.
And then, of course, there's Woody Allen, who's filmography is more-than-rife with plots about much younger, gorgeous women fawning over his smarts and humor, from Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite to (ick) a 17-year-old Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan.
Not surprisingly, these men have been involved in writing and/or producing and/or directing many of these films, giving them the power to fulfill their hot-chick-bedding fantasies on the silver screen.
To be fair, there's nothing -- ostensibly -- wrong with movies depicting relationships where hotness levels aren't equal. In many of these films, the guys win over more attractive women by boasting great personalities, which is legitimate and even commendable. But by depicting this dynamic every time, "normal" looking women who would serve as more realistic love interests get shut out of roles and exposure, which is deeply unfair.
Moreover, and perhaps more annoyingly, you almost never see the opposite scenario: an average-looking woman bedding a hot dude. I can think of exactly one example of this: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which -- surprise! -- was written by its star, Nia Vardalos. (I'd also argue that the attraction gap in this film wasn't actually that egregious.)
This dynamic undeniably reinforces a precarious and preposterous message: guys can get whatever girl they want so long as they have a winning personality, but women won't be desirable unless they're both interesting and hot.
In 22 Jump Street, how cool would it have been for Channing Tatum to fall for the female equivalent of Jonah Hill: a normal-looking women with smarts, wit and kindness? How powerful would that message be for girls who don't look like a model, but who do have a lot to offer in relationships?
It's high time Hollywood paved the way for more Nia Vardoleses to fulfill their own fantasies on screen. In other words: Hollywood, can you please green-light my script in which I effortlessly bed Channing Tatum?
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