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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Seth Rogen: The Date Rape Interview*

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I rarely get letters to the editor, but I expect to attract reader indignation on two counts this week. First, for criticizing Storm Large's solo show; second, for failing to condemn a date rape scene in the new Jody Hill-directed Observe and Report.

The internet is kerfuffled about the scene, at the 2:40 mark in the clip above, which features Seth Rogan having sex with a shit-faced Anna Faris. I may lose my feminist bona fides for this one, but to condemn the movie for playing-rape-for-laughs is to miss the point of what I thought was a pretty remarkable film. Observe and Report is funny, but it's not a comedy—it's a character study. The character in question is truly deluded, probably sociopathic, and he does a lot of fucked up things over the course of the movie—take away the laughs, as Rogen observed when I interviewed him, and you're watching a movie that owes a far greater debt to Taxi Driver than to any comedies.

There are very good reasons why some women might be uncomfortable with this—I'm certainly not going to insist that anyone "learn how to take a joke," particularly considering the sexual assault stats in this country. But I do think that to dismiss the entire film as a comedy that makes rape jokes is to do a disservice to a genuinely original and interesting movie. Also: I'm generally quite intolerant of onscreen rape scenes (BSG really bummed me out on that count), but I should note that the phrase "date rape" didn't cross my mind until Rogan used it in our interview—the scene scanned to me as though he'd just noticed she's passed out during sex. Not exactly romantic; not exactly unheard of, in non date-rapey scenarios, either. That's just my perception, of course.


*too sensationalist?

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