He's a kind of man-child - he wants to stay in arrested development. He's 40 years old but he hasn't gotten serious before this point, so he's sort of deliberately undermining himself. He's not going to ask those questions. He wants to believe this fantasy.
Yeah. It all goes back to, like, what is he waiting for? You know, the movie opens with him sitting at the kids' table at his ex-fiancée's wedding. She's marrying somebody else, and he's sitting there and he's got obvious misgivings. Should he have married her? And why didn't he marry her? We don't know enough about her, but what is he waiting for? Well, he then runs into this absolutely stunning woman and quickly decides, "Yeah, I better marry her or I'm never going to get married." And ultimately it goes back to something we've had in a couple of our movies - Shallow Hal and even Something About Mary, to a point - which is, when you end up with somebody, you're going to be with them for a long time. They're not going to look at the end the way they look at the beginning, so you'd better like what's inside them more than what's outside them. Because the outside's going to change; the inside's going to remain.
You can see that in Fever Pitch, too.
Yeah, we have a lot of that. In Mary, the guys are obviously rooting for the Ben Stiller character to get Cameron Diaz. But the reason I think that movie works is because the women are rooting for it, too, because when Matt Dillon returns from investigating Mary, and of course has fallen in love with her, he reports that she's put on a couple hundred pounds and is on unemployment and has got kids and all sorts of stuff. But Ben says, "Well, give me her phone number. I got to get in touch." Dillon says, "Why?" And he says, "Well, I can't just turn it off. I still feel something for her." Well, then he deserves her. And that's the point of a lot of our things. I guess the message here is, Ben's character Eddie is looking for the wrong thing, and he will probably never find the right thing.
I think one moment that made some people queasy was when he goes to his "true" love's house in Mississippi, and her aunt, who is like the wisest voice in the movie, says, "Leave her alone. Let her have a chance to be happy." You think for a moment he might actually reconcile himself to that. But then you realize he's completely obsessed when he pops up in her bedroom in the next shot. He's gone well beyond taking anybody's feelings into consideration.
He might be nuts at that point.
He says, "OK, yeah, I will leave her alone," and then boom. He's selfish. And he's insane. I mean, he's got a screw loose, and it becomes apparent. And there's a lot of humor that comes out of seeing this nut case. But ultimately, yeah, it's not the traditional happy ending.
A couple of quick questions about filmmaking. For comedy directors like Keaton and Chaplin, it was all about making stuff happen in front of the camera and they cared less about the editing. And you and Bobby seem to come from that tradition. You don't seem to be thinking, "Gee, we need to get these 15 shots and put them together before we've got something." Do you see what I'm getting at?
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