As I mentioned, I recently saw “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. It followed a plot trend that I’ve observed over the past decade in movies: average guy gets dumped for a long-haired, flouncy-shirt-wearing musician (or music lover).
Consider these three examples. They’re slightly variations, but they amount to the same thing. I’ll use the actor’s names for the sake of brevity:
- In “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, Kirsten Bell dumps Jason Segal for Russell Brand (who steals every scene he’s in). Brand plays a foppish, tattoed, new-agey singer styled after Bono. He frequently wears tight leather trousers and see-through shirts. In an argument, Ms. Bell criticizes the cultural diversity of his tattoos.
- In “High Fidelity”, Iben Hjejle leaves John Cusack for Tim Robbins, the pony-tailed world music lover who lives upstairs. At one point Cusack imagines telling Robbins to “get your patchouli stink out of my store”.
- In “Serendipity”, John Cusack fails to score Kate Beckinsale. Subsequently, she becomes engaged to John Corbett (his character has the very musical name of “Lars Hammond”). Corbet is a famous shenai (a kind of Indian oboe) player, and prances about in his psychedelic music videos to sitar riffs and Bollywood beats.
So what does this tell us about men, women and the movies? First, that a consistent fault of average guys is that they’re insensitive. And that the tonic for this insensitivity is to find a feminine dude with long hair and a love of foreign music. The movie love interest coos over her new man “he’s so sensitive, he loves ethnic food and all these weird kinds of music”.
Also, this character type seems to satisfy a particular plot requirement: the other man needs to be somebody that females might like, but that most men would disdain. Apparently the flaky hippie dude satisfies that need.