by Chrysa Smith

Of course, they say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That’s why, I suppose that marriage is a twisted up, knotted, curvy line between ‘I do’ and uhm, ‘Till death do us part.’ Otherwise, it’d be too easy. Everyone would be doing it. And it would virtually eliminate the need for self-help gurus, therapists, alcohol distributors.

So, what exactly does a long marital road look like? Do you wake up curled in a fetal position? Or perhaps you go to bed in one? Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who has a congenial or warm and loving relationship. Or you may just be numb-trapped in a robotic series of learned patterns of behavior. Get up, make the eggs and bacon, kiss hubby goodbye and begin again when he returns from work.

If you’ve seen Hope Springs, you know what I mean. It follows the trail of long-term empty nesters, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, who share the most robotic, lack-luster series of daily tasks, bereft of any joy, intimacy, emotion. Her inner goddess arises as she realizes she wants more–she wants to shake things up and regain a relationship where they sleep in the same bed, kiss and cuddle. How are they going to get it? From Steve Carrell, as the straight man relationship guru who deals out sexercise assignments to help them regain what they long ago lost.

Interesting concept, but turned on it’s ear. Carrell as straight man? Well, ok, maybe if he’s playing against a dry-witted Streep and Jones. But no. I was hoping for some comedy—and there was a scene or two (like when she decided to ‘pleasure’ him in a movie theater), but generally, it was like watching a therapist’s training guide- ala: what to do with the seriously challenged. I was waiting for a bumbling series of events and mishaps, as in It’s Complicated. What I got instead was something that was depressing—and why go to a movie for that.?

What it of course does, is make you look inside. Do I need to shake things up a bit in my marriage? How can I keep it fresh? How do I avoid becoming that couple who sleeps in separate beds?

Does it involve stiletto heels? A French Maid apron? Or perhaps I better go to the store for some strawberries, cream and a map!