02/03/2013 09:41 am ET

The New Girls

Once upon a golden time, Hollywood was the greatest modeling academy of them all. It transformed beautiful nobodies into even more beautiful somebodies and lit them like goddesses, their luminous skin giving off a lunar pull. Movie stars were more than objects of contemplation; they were avatars of instruction, idols of emulation. Young women could look up to these apparitions on the big screen for tips on how to dress, talk, slouch, smoke, wisecrack, and send some pest packing. Not so much anymore. Movies today seldom hold a tinted mirror up to the beckoning skyline of the city and the bustle below, the gritty, glamorous arena where young women can most be themselves as they seek the self they want to be. The raucous Bridesmaids aside, movies have become too wish-fulfilling, luxury-padded, and peppermint-stick sweet. Products of prepackaging, typical rom-coms prettify the city into a fairy kingdom where life streams along like one continuous bridal-gown procession and catering operation.

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