...the Sex part always gets in the way. No, I didn't invent this little bit of wisdom...in fact it wasn't even stated originally in a homosexual setting...rather it was an attempt to address the paradox in male/female heterosexual friendships. The wisdom states that men and women can never be friends because the sex always gets in the way...regardless of how one feels about the other. A man always wants to sleep with a woman he finds attractive, ultimately dooming the friendship to failure. And if a man doesn't find a women friend attractive, you can probably assume that she finds him attractive. A true paradox, though the same can be applied to gay male friends....one or the other is usually attracted to the other and thus the friendship is doomed to awkwardness and failure. Who invented something that sounded so unPC, you ask? Screenwriters Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner, that's who. They attempted to explore this theme in their critically acclaimed film When Harry Met Sally... and this changed the state of romantic comedies for years to come (which was both a blessing and a curse).
For the two of you out there who haven't seen this film, it tells the story of Harry Burns and Sally Albright who happen to meet when driving from the University of Chicago to New York City (he needed a ride and she had the car). Then they meet again five years later in an airport, still not hitting it off. Then they meet another five years later and decide to become friends due to a connection over their recent lost relationships. Everyone around them can see that they are perfect for each other, but Harry and Sally deny this attraction and attempt to just be friends. In doing so, they create one of the most natural and intimate relationships of any two romantic leads ever featured on film and makes us as an audience yearn for the climactic moment when they finally get together. Also, unlike other romantic comedies since, both of the characters are delightfully flawed and feel like real people...unlike the super normal or cutely flawed caricatures that one sees nowadays. Everyone is so pretty and perfect, where as Sally and Harry are fairly average in the looks department and quirky like people you might really know (example: they break into Surrey With a Fringe on Top at a Sharper Image when Harry finds a karaoke machine...its the kind of thing me and my friends might do out in public). If all this weren't enough, there's also the winning dialogue and situations that Reiner and Ephron create that have become part of our culture ("I'm gonna be FOURTY!!"..."When?"...."....someday..." or the faking an orgasm scene). Its a wonderful movie that still holds up today, I think. And its New Year's ending makes it perfect for late December viewing. If you haven't seen it, or haven't seen it for a while, pick it up and put it on the tube tonight...you won't be disappointed.