'The Expendables': Chick Flick in Disguise?

This weekend's box office was dubbed a "Battle of the Sexes," with the shoot-em-up rampage The Expendables opening against the romantic pick-me-up Eat Pray Love. It was testosterone (Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis) vs. estrogen (Julia Roberts, Oprah's Book Club), and after all was said and done, The Expendables—and presumably men—came out on top. But as Slate's XX blog points out, the film may not be very manly at all, particularly with how it portrays aging and insecurities about weight.

Its handling of those themes bears striking similarities to 2008's ensemble comedy The Women, starring Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, and Annette Bening, raising the question: Is The Expendables really just a chick flick in the disguise?:

Both sets of aging characters share a common worry: their weight. Mary's mother refuses to don a swimsuit at the beach; Sylvie cracks that the two most feared words in the English language are "pool party"; Mary and her friends snark at Edie about eating too much. And the men of The Expendables aren't immune to such concerns. Barney's ex-partner Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) twits Barney about having lost muscle and looking too skinny. Barney's retort: Whatever weight he's lost has found its way onto Trench. They may get shot at all the time, but these mercenaries can't afford to eat lead: It'll go straight to their hips!

Read the full story at Slate.

And for more on this weekend's Battle of the Sexes, check out this fan-made trailer for The Expendables:

Presented by

Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Entertainment

Just In