Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Perpetuating the lie to college students

I had high hopes for "Nanny Diaries" after about 20 minutes into the film. The story is this: a young woman graduates college with no idea what she wants to do as a career (shocking), bombs out at an interview, and by chance lands a job as a nanny for a rich family. This is a comedy so naturally the mommy is the typical white wealthy woman who lives off her workaholic husband while shopping and chatting with her friends all day.

But there were some hints of some real interesting social commentary that I had hoped would make this movie a real diamond in the rough. Sadly, I was disappointed.

We start off with the young woman lying to her mother about her new job, because as we all know if you don't get a high paying job right out of college you must be a failure, right?

So she becomes this nanny, and ends up having a pretty good time except for the stuck up mom she has to deal with. She also meets a guy in the building, and during all this we get bombarded with the idea that people who work hard in the service industry are good people that deserve respect, and that being rich isn't necessarily a good thing.

That all falls apart about half way through the film. After the scene of the "guy" always dressed casually and taking the stairs in the building (or going into a side workroom) and hanging out with buddies and taking her to a pizza joint, I assumed he was the building super. A normal guy with a normal job. And a normal girl with a normal job. Perfect match, right? Not in Hollywood. He of course turns out to be a rich trust-fund baby. And by the end of the movie, even after the woman's mom accepting her job as a nanny, uniting the kid and his mom after a divorce from her cheating husband, and falling in love with the rich trust fund boy, she naturally abandons her normal job to enter, for no apparent reason, law school.

So the entire movie degenerates into the tired message for young people: college will grant you entry into a high powered career, and if it doesn't, you are a failure. Also, the guy of your dreams will be rich. I had hoped for an ounce of reality from this movie. When you graduate college you will more than likely end up in a low paying job at the bottom of the ladder. You only climb up through hard work and determination. This is more of the "have it now" mentality. And with baby boomers delaying or even forgoing retirement, your corporate climb is going to be even slower. That's reality.

Oh, and law school? Lawyers are a dime a dozen. It is not a guaranteed path to a great job (and that is what the movie implies, because there was nothing in it that indicated she had any interest in becoming a lawyer - they just tacked on at the end "oh, by the way I'm not in a lousy job anymore I'm going to be successful!").

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