Why the sudden recent spurt, for lack of a better word, of films about sperm donors and artificial
insemination? J-Lo might not have done much to stimulate her career earlier
this year with "The Back-Up Plan,"
it remains to be seen how Jennifer
Aniston fares with the upcoming "The Switch" (8/20),
but Lisa Cholodenko's "The
Kids Are All Right" seems likely to do well
at the box office and with the critics.
At any rate, aside from the perennial comic awkwardness of the turkey
baster arrangement, and the ongoing popularity of jokes involving that
particular bodily fluid ever since "There's Something About Mary,"
and, finally, the
universal appeal of mysterious parental origins since Oedipus, there's got to
be some reason why three films with the
same premise are coming out within a six month period.
Maybe it's an assault on (or a reaffirmation of) the necessity of
fathers in the nuclear family unit? If paternity can be reduced to an anonymous
donor spending a few minutes with a plastic cup and a dirty magazine, what does
that say about thousands of years of patriarchal tyranny?
Similarly, a point that is a theme in Cholodenko's film, it makes lesbian couples no less viable than the officially approved heterosexual kind
in fulfilling the basic reproductive role. Maybe even more so. Therefore, these
films, or at least Cholodenko's, serve as a kind of indirect plug for
legalizing same sex marriage.
Most likely, though, the premise reasserts that fundamental Hollywood bromide, that "family" conquers all, and
whatever that amorphous, all healing entity might be, it doesn't have a lot to
do with biology.