The infamous trailer for the upcoming film, The Dilemma, in which star Vince Vaughn jokes that "electric cars are gay," has already triggered a wave of protests by GLAAD and others. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said that such jokes create a culture of gay harassment and, in some tragic cases, trigger teen suicides. Though Universal Pictures pulled the trailer, the movie's director Ron Howard is declining to cut the scene. In a "provocative" letter to the Los Angeles Times, the director explains his decision, saying that "it will endanger comedy" if artists are strong-armed into censoring themselves. Is he right to stand his ground?
Yes, Howard should be free to do as he likes, and moviegoers should protest at the box office: "Howard should be able to make whatever movie he wants," says Adam B. Vary in Entertainment Weekly, but neither he, nor GLAAD, has dealt with this correctly. GLAAD should have called for a boycott of the film instead of demanding it be changed, while Howard should have responded more thoughtfully, instead of appearing annoyed that his film was singled out. Pointing out that other movies have committed the same offense "doesn't suddenly absolve The Dilemma for its watered-down homophobic humor."
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Howard's statement shows he just doesn't get it: Howard says the joke reflects the "idiocy" of his character and makes him "relatable," says Mike Vilensky in New York. That doesn't explain why the joke was chosen to "open the trailer," suggesting that the filmmakers consider homophobia "hilarious and cute" and a strategic way to hook a mainstream audience. Howard needs to understand that, whatever their value as a sign of a character's flaws, such jokes are offensive.
"Ron Howard keeping The Dilemma's gay joke because removing it would 'endanger comedy'"
And, he's a lazy filmmaker: The joke in question isn't even funny, says Sean O'Neal in The Onion's A.V. Club. If anything, this flap is an "illustration that people who resort to using 'gay' as a go-to punchline are part of a lazy, unfunny, slowly dying breed that should be mocked for their lack of creativity."
"Ron Howard: 'If I'm not allowed to call electric cars gay,' it endangers comedy"