A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What has Hollywood got against pens?

Jackie Chan in "The Spy Next Door"
OK, this is just anecdotal, and hardly a trend, but two of the kid's movies I've watched with my daughter in the last few months seem to have a thing against . . . pens! Or, more specifically, people who sell them.

The first movie I saw this in was The Spy Next Door, with Jackie Chan. I was looking forward to the movie because I think Jackie Chan is an absolute riot. (And he did not disappoint in this movie, or in the outtakes, which were hilarious.)

Chan plays a super-spy who has a cover identity as a pen importer. From that statement and the action outtake of Chan at left, you might think, Cool, a pen importer who's a super-spy. What a great image for pen importers!

The problem, of course, is that his two identities are portrayed as polar opposites. The super-spy persona isn't meant to be a great image for pen importers. The pen importer persona is meant to be a negative image for a super-spy! That's not a huge surprise, I guess. But the kids in the movie don't like him, and are upset that their mom is dating him, because they think he's a "boring" pen importer. As if that's a bad (or at least a boring) thing. They only warm up to him once they learn he's a spy.

Now, maybe I'm a boring guy, but . . . man, would I love to be a pen importer! Some days, at least. Compared to the grind of litigation some days, pen importing sounds downright glamorous.

There was a second movie that painted a pen salesman negatively, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. Next movie I see like that, though, the studio is getting a nasty letter!



  1. You're thinking of Paul Blart : Mall Cop with Kevin James. Awful movie, but I had to laugh when I saw that the main character's nemesis was a pen salesman. And from the clues they gave in the movie, it seems like it was a pen salesman from Paradise Pens. Take that!

  2. Thanks, Tom, I think you're right. Not exactly a kids' movie, though, so I guess my memory is fading.

    Usually, I quiz my 8-years-old daughter about a movie to see if she got the right lessons, and to caution her if the movie glamorizes (or demonizes) something it should not. Such a good girl, she almost always is a step ahead of me on these things, and she knows I love pens, so she might have taken note of this herself in the Jackie Chan movie!