Just saw Hit and Run last night. It's a wonderful illustration of political correctness.
It's about a former getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers who leaves the Witness Protection program in order to escort his girlfriend to Los Angeles, where her dream job might be waiting. The problem is, by doing so, the driver exposes himself to payback by the gang members whom he testified against.
It's supposed to be a comedy. But it's hard to laugh while being lectured.
At one point in the movie, after being asked by a big lunkish white guy about his car, the hero, played by Dax Shepard, who also wrote and directed this movie, uses the word "fags." At that point his girlfriend, played by Kristin Bell, Shepard's real life fiancee, lectures him:
"You just said 'fags'."
"But not in a homophobic way. I used it instead of 'lame'."
"It's used to marginalize gay people," Bell then explains.
Shepard replies that he wasn't using the word to describe a person, or a specific sexuality, but merely a concept.
Bell then launches into a tirade about how using "the n-word" to describe her purse wouldn't make that usage acceptable. The hero then concedes and says he will work on his vocabulary.
The entire time this exchange is taking place, you wonder if there is going to be some kind of clever payoff at the end, or if the film is somehow sending up political correctness. But no, the punchline never comes; our hero and heroine are actually proving their essential goodness with this exchange.
In a later scene, when the other gang members catch up to the hero, the chief bad guy says that one of the reasons he's mad at the hero is because he was anally raped in prison. The hero expresses his sympathy, then asks if his rapist was black. He is then lectured by the bad guy about how asking such a question is racist.
(Tough white guys who rob banks for a living generally do a lot of fretting about whether certain comments might be construed as racist.)
The hero then explains that it wouldn't have been so bad if it had been a black guy, since black guys are so much more masculine and white guys are like women compared to them. After he finds out that the rapist was a Filipino, he says that's not so bad either, since Asians are even more like women.
An important lesson here: it's not quite as disgusting to have homosexual relations with other races since it's less like homosexuality; but at the same time, one mustn't demean homosexuals. Also, it's okay to compare the masculinity of different races, but not to impugn the masculinity of homosexuals.
At one point the heroine asks the hero rather snarkily if he's noticed that his muscle car attracts the attention of the wrong kind of people, i.e., big white lunks. Another important lesson: it's okay to put down Southern white guys -- partly just because they're white -- but it's not okay to use the n-word.
At one point the hero and heroine accidentally break in on a group of naked older people in a motel room who have either just had or are about to have an orgy. We are supposed to laugh at them because they are naked and fat and old. See? That's okay too. We can't laugh at homosexuals, but it's okay to laugh at oldsters and fatties.
Gotta get your sensitivities correct.
Since laughing at peoples' appearance is okay, I guess it's okay for me to point out that Dax Shepard is downright ugly by movie star standards, a chinless wonder with a blob of a nose that points way off to one side:
And that Kristin Bell is the kind of girl who looks good from a distance, but when you get up close, is actually rather ordinary-looking:
(Imagine that face without the eye makeup, without the lipstick, with her natural eyebrows, and with her hair its natural color. Yikes!)
Ordinarily I'd feel a little insensitive criticizing Shepard's and Bell's looks so harshly. But they've taught me that it's okay to get cheap laughs on the basis of someone's appearance.
You know, as long as I don't point out that Dax looks sort of like a fag.