It must be written in a screenwriter’s manual somewhere that the quickest way to make it clear your character is a loser is to make him an ad exec. This is the only reasonable conclusion one can come to—particularly after reading the (generally tepid) reviews for Derailed, starring Clive Owen as Charles-the-loser-ad-exec and Jennifer Aniston as the other woman. Says The New York Times, “An adman, Charles is one of those rumpled types sagging under the weight of work woes and an unhappy family life, complete with a snappish wife (meaning no sex) and a sick kid (money worries). Even the family dog barks at him.” It’s as if to say that as an adman, of course this is the life he’d lead. To that extent, it seems this movie is more piling on from Hollywood, dating back decades, but also somewhat more recently in movies such as Defending Your Life (Albert Brooks as a dead ad guy having trouble getting into heaven) and What Women Want (Mel Gibson as a chauvinistic ad exec who finally gets enlightened after he’s electrocuted by a hair dryer … or something). As if people in advertising didn’t have enough self-esteem issues, they find themselves starring in the long-running Revenge of the Screenwriters.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor