The Heartbreak Kid & I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry -- Counterfeit Marriage

The Heartbreak Kid stars Ben Stiller as Eddie Cantrow, Malin Akerman as Lila (Eddie's first wife), Michelle Monaghan as Miranda (the girl who inspires Eddie to divorce his wives), Jerry Stiller as Doc (Eddie's lascivious father), Carlos Mencia as Uncle Tito and Eva Longoria Parker as Consuela (Eddie's second wife); directed by the Farrelly Brothers (they are known for making comedies).

Eddie Cantrow is 40 years old and still single. He figures that it's about time for him to get married, so he marries a girl named Lila, who he thinks is pretty. Soon after they get married, he finds out that she sings along with the radio too much, likes to have sex too much and she gets burned when she sits out in the sun too much. The last straw is the fact that she volunteers full time doing environmental research, which means that Eddie is the only one in the relationship with a steady income. At this point we (the audience) are supposed to be convinced that Eddie has married an annoying monster. After all these compelling factors we can hardly blame him for running off with Miranda, the first girl he runs into during his honeymoon. Throughout the rest of the movie we find out what a low-life Eddie Cantrow really is.

Eventually Eddie gives up his pursuit of Miranda after he discovers that she married someone else. So he goes back to Mexico and immediately marries another woman named Consuela. Don't worry though... Miranda ends up getting divorced because she is secretly in love with Eddie the whole time. This means that Eddie will get another divorce ASAP so he can get back together with Miranda. I guess this is supposed to be funny.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is yet another hilarious movie about getting married... except this time it's between two men who are not actually gay! Funny, right? Chuck (Adam Sandler) is super-macho, which he insists on reminding everyone via the usual manly clichés: his promiscuity, his mail order porno, his firefighter job and his New York accent. Chuck ends up going out of state to get married to his friend Larry (Kevin James) so they can save their pensions, etc.

The Heartbreak Kid and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry point to the general fact that Hollywood, and indeed most people in general, don't care to think much about where marriage came from. Most people these days have at least a vague respect for marriage, but why? Answer: Marriage is a meaningful tradition because God invented it as such. Marriage is sacred because God said so.

That men and women should pair off and stay paired of goes back to Adam and Eve when the God (Yahweh) said, "A man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Jesus later confirmed this, saying, "They are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matthew 19:6).

All this to say, as far as most Americans are concerned, marriage is a Judeo-Christian tradition. Since most people's idea of marriage depends on this Judeo-Christian tradition, they should also acknowledge that the Judeo-Christian God is central to this tradition.

Plain and simple: Apart from God, it is impossible to get married at all. Therefore, this new invention that some people would like to call "marriage" is not marriage. In Tyler Durden's words (main character from the movie Fight Club), "Stuffing Feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken."

Why do so many people who disregard the Judeo-Christian God insist on using the word "marriage?" Trying to get married apart from God's blessing is like traveling millions of miles to reach Mars, only to say, "Finally, I have reached planet Earth." It's a completely different planet, why not just call it something else?


California's state government recently passed new legislation allowing same sex marriage. This means that a lot of gay and lesbian Californians are now free to "get married" under the blessing of their state government. This confuses me.

The general consensus of the gay and lesbian community is "we don't need validation from anyone else." Okay, fine. So why go to all the trouble of getting the state's approval to be labeled "married?" Why is it suddenly so important to seek validation using this particular Judeo-Christian label? Why not just call it something else? How about, "going-really-super-steady," or "a really-super-special-promise-t0-each-other?"

The same-sex marriage issue is only one example of how people don't care to think about the true significance of marriage. A marriage between two gay or lesbian people is just as far off as any "straight" couple who gets married apart from God's blessing.

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he describes more of the underlying meaning of marriage, that it represents and reminds us of Christ's union with His church. The bride wears white to represent the purity that Christ restored to His church. Marriage was already sacred because God said so from the beginning, a fact that was solidified by Christ's redemptive work.

So the same question goes for everyone who's thinking about getting married: "Why?" Is your goal in getting married to honor Jesus Christ? If not, then you might as well settle for going-really-super-steady. It is socially acceptable to have sex and move in with another person long before getting married anyway, so it's not like unmarried people are missing out on anything. Why now just say, "I'm really really serious that I'm really really going to stay faithful to you?" Even after people get married, it's socially acceptable to get divorced whenever they feel like it... they might as well save themselves the trouble.

I'm not saying this is not to degrade marriage; I'm talking about practical spirituality. Let's not mislead ourselves by calling something that's not marriage, "marriage," the same way we shouldn't convince ourselves that we're living on Mars instead of Earth.


Anonymous said...

Have to agree with you about the comments on how hollywood is giving marriage a bad name.

I cannot believe that Stiller marries three women in the movie :shock: . I can understand how people are worried that they may marry the 'wrong' person but this is taking it a bit far, you work at your problems and not divorce at the first problem.

me said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog!

I notice one important thing missing from your argument here: the fact that marriage has legal ramifications in the United States (as well as other places). Availability of medical benefits, pension (as in the movie), tax exemptions, and other legal items are different whether a couple is married or not. This is a huge reason for people here to get married.

Beyond that point, there are a couple of other flaws to your argument. While gay and lesbian couples may think they don't need validation from anyone else, it comes down to an issue of discrimination and equal rights. In the U.S. all people "are created equal", correct? And we all are promised the rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", so if it makes a gay couple happy to marry, then so be it.

The other problem I see is the fact that marriage predates history. That is to say, it was around before we have any reliable recorded history. Since we have reliable recorded history from before Christianity existed and marriage predates _that_ history, then marriage cannot be assumed to only honor God or only exist because the Christian God decided it exists.

I'll grant you that most marriages in the U.S. today may be Judeo-Christian and may be entered into with the intent to honor God. But that fact does not and should not preclude other marriages from being secular.

I look forward to your responses to these comments. Let me know if there's anything I've overlooked.


Anonymous said...

Thx the input Desiree

the general point that i'm going for here is that most people in America (and most western nations) believe that marriage is sacred. But why is marriage sacred? Why would would we hold anything as sacred for that matter? Respecting something as sacred is illogical and impractical if you think about it... unless God decided that a "something" should be sacred.

More to the point of our discussion about marriage in the United States, most westerners are influenced by Judeo-Christian tradition when they think of "marriage" regardless of whether they respect God, Yahweh or Jesus.

Sure, you're free to pursue happiness and, while you're at it, call that happiness whatever you want; as you said, the Constitution gives us this right. But why (I'm speaking to you as a westerner influenced by Judeo-Christian tradition) would you stomp into the middle of a Judeo-Christian ceremony and not give credit where credit is due? It's like praying to Krishna inside of a Mosque... it's like bringing tanning oil on a visit to Antarctica. all this to say, westerners stumble into this thing they call "marriage" without stopping to think "why am i doing this?"

The purpose behind marriage is a lot bigger than either life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness... marriage has eternal significance for all those who dare to think very much about it, or even better, for those who dare to ask God about it.