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Hear that creak? That’s the old trend wheel cycling around, slow, steady, and predictable? Much like the oddly similar collections from opposing designers in fashion week, we often see parallel trends in film.
In 2005, we saw the Wedding trend: Wedding Crashers and The Wedding Date premier within weeks of each other. Wedding Crashers follows the adventures of two young bachelors (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) as the crash weddings to meet women. In The Wedding Date, Kat Ellis (Debra Messing) takes a male escort (Delmot Mulroney) to her sister’s wedding to pretend she is not single. Both revolve around weddings and treachery, and, with the ringing of church bells so loud, it would be of little surprise if the number of engagement rings sold that year skyrocketed.
This year, we see a similar, yet opposing trend as two new films explore the concept of ‘friends with benefits’. In the soon-to-be-released like-named film, Friends with Benefits, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis’ relationship quickly goes from friendly to complicated when they add sex to the mix. Similarly, in No Strings Attached, two childhood friends, Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, decide to take things to the next level but promise to keep emotions out of it. However, they soon find themselves falling in love, and their arrangement unravels.
What does this mean for 2011? It looks like popular culture is finally catching up with the downward marriage trend of the last few decades, embracing the disassociation with marriage that may be related to the high divorce rates of our parents’ generation. According to the Pew Research Center’s Decennial Census and American Community Survey, 72% of Americas aged 18 and over were married in 1960, compared with just 52% in 2008. On the contrary, the upward trend of those who never married increased from 15% in 1960 to 27% in 2008.
Thankfully this can be seen to mean a loosing in a cultural ideology bound in centuries of tradition where young people do not need to follow the straight in narrow, but in fact have many choices in life. After all, the French translation of the title No Strings Attached is Sex Friends, which, althoug that culture is known to be more open sexually, is a case point. Alas, vive la vie, and have fun kids! There is so much more to life than the American dream.
Please find more information about this subject below:
Wedding Crashers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeUSo8voIXM
The Wedding Date: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97EPy5Ky448
Friends with Benefits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34xfcoRceeU
No Strings Attached: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubfcfs98MBw