Magazine article Insight on the News

G.I. Jane

Magazine article Insight on the News

G.I. Jane

Article excerpt

Hollywood is undergoing a sex(y) change. Sylvester Stallone gained 40 pounds in the belly Hand displays passivity and masochism like a stereotypical prefeminist girl, portraying a hesitant, sensitive and somewhat squeamish small-town New Jersey sheriff in Cop Land. Demi Moore shaves her head to one-eighth of an inch from her scalp, curses like a sailor and develops biceps and broad shoulders to display upper-body strength and become a swaggering male swabbie as a Navy SEAL in G.I.Jane.

The slack Stallone character loses the only girl he ever loved to the abusive arms of a corrupt cop. He has forgotten how to fight back. Moore as a female SEAL (there's such an animal only in the celluloid navy) fights dirty, just like a man. Her commanding officer punches her around and meets her in the shower (without a curtain) and doesn't even look.

As "G.I. Jane" (sailors are never called G.I.s except in Hollywood), Moore shouts obscenities about the male anatomy and imagines the phallic imagery as her own. She's tougher than half the men around her.

Stallone as sheriff not only is paunchy and slow to act, he's deaf in one ear (heavy symbolism!) and paralyzed by love for a woman unworthy of him. He's more Hamlet than Rambo.

What's going on? Hollywood, like so much of contemporary America, is intimidated by feminism and political correctness, but in spite of itself the cop film works and the woman-in-combat film fails. You can only go so far in suspension of disbelief and defiance of universal givens. It's easier to believe that Stallone will revive his testosterone than Moore will discover hers.

Despite fine acting, it's impossible to believe a group of tough sailors will allow one of their own to beat up on a woman. But it's not so difficult to expect a sheriff played by Stallone, no matter how he has gone to seed, to become a hero when he learns what villainous bullies his cop buddies have become.

Selling a woman in an action movie is very difficult," a Disney marketing chief told Newsweek about the G.I. Jane flick. "Demi Moore [has] proven most appealing when she plays a strong woman who cries well, like she did in Ghost." The last thing a woman in a politically correct movie about the military can do is cry, even though the audience expects it. …

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