I don't know why there's been such a tizzy about the messages that the Twilight films pass along to their young, female viewers. Or rather, I understand the tizzy; I just don't know why the people at the center of it are treating Twilight as if it's in any way anomalous instead of a mere intensification of an industry-wide process. At the same time that more and more energy and talent are being poured into romantic comedies for and about men (which seem to invariably treat women as killjoy moms whose job it is to force the man-child lead to grow up), the ones Hollywood produces for women just keep getting more toxic. In the last year alone, we had films whose messages can best be summed up as 'women! Isn't it hilarious how they desperately want a man and yet no one will ever love them!,' 'if only you file away every last bit of your personality, wants and desires, you too can land an obnoxious misogynist!,' and 'a WOMAN? Proposing to a MAN? Who ever heard of such a thing?'.
And now we have The Bounty Hunter, in which, according to the trailer, Gerard Butler kidnaps his ex-wife, played by Jennifer Aniston, stuffs her in the trunk of his car, laughs when she tearfully begs him to let her go, block-tackles her when she tries to run away from him, handcuffs her to a hotel room bed, threatens her with his gun, and talks about wanting to kill her. The only thing you'd have to do to turn this trailer into one for a woman-in-peril film would be to change the background music.
No wonder that romantic comedies like (500) Days of Summer, which 'only' reduces its female lead to a personality-free, over-romanticized blank, are treated like a brave, intelligent alternative.