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Emmys 2017
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Article

Ask Libby: Hot pursuit

Ms. G-W muses on romance vis-à-vis ”This Means War,” ”Wanderlust,” ”The Vow,” and ”Justified”

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When I watch those TV ads for antidepressants, the ones with cartoon blobs or origami birds, I sometimes wonder if they could ever help my dear friend, the once again tragically single Stacy Schiff. Stacy has now been married three times. First she was married for 24 hours, following a drunken binge, to a bicycle messenger who needed a green card; then she got married online to someone who claimed to be Jeremy Renner but who turned out to be a large woman from Minnesota with emotional problems; and most recently she got married to a cardboard cutout of Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, which she’d stolen from a cineplex lobby. For over two months she insisted that the cardboard Ryan was just very shy, and that she still loved him, even after Green Lantern underperformed at the box office, and that Scarlett Johansson, Ryan’s ex-wife, was stalking Ryan and threatening to turn him into a shoe box.

To try to cheer Stacy up, after the Ryan cutout dumped her because Safe House had a big opening weekend, I made the mistake of bringing her to see This Means War, the rom-com in which Reese Witherspoon is pursued by both Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. About halfway through the movie, Stacy stood up and started shrieking that ”Reese is hoarding all of the cute guys! And she used to be married to Ryan Phillippe!” As the movie progresses, Chris and Tom, who are both playing government agents, use their audio and video equipment to spy on every moment of Reese’s life, which I found more than a little creepy, but Stacy insisted, ”You don’t understand! I wish someone loved me enough to hide a camera in my toilet!”

In This Means War, the three stars are all gorgeous, but they’re required to behave like finger puppets, which led Stacy to ask, ”Do you think that if Chris and Tom got really bummed out, because their movie was a dud, that I could track them down, get them drunk, marry both of them, and eventually they’d thank me? And could I also pitch that idea as a sequel?” As you can see, Stacy’s concept of romance is inspired by a combination of Kathy Bates in Misery and a Kardashian wedding. ”Do you think that guys fall in love with Kim Kardashian because she’s so pretty and because she made a sex tape?” Stacy wondered. ”Or is it because she wears so much makeup that they think she’s a sheet cake?”

To try to get Stacy back on track, I took her to see Wanderlust, because it stars Paul Rudd, who’s every woman’s dream boyfriend, and Jennifer Aniston, whom every woman can pity. Like Reese and Katherine Heigl, Jen has appeared in so many rom-coms that it’s getting spooky, and I wondered why the other characters in Wanderlust didn’t ask her, ”Hey, so why didn’t it work out with Gerard Butler and Ben Stiller and Aaron Eckhart?” As usual, Jen is shimmery blond and in great shape, and she wears skimpy cutoffs and sheer ponchos, and her spray tan is so rich and luscious that she may become eligible for a Latin Grammy. I love Jen, but her acting style has become so winsome that I thought about starting a drinking game where I’d do a shot every time Jen pouted or tilted her head or looked adorably nervous; she’s turning into a set of deluxe rom-com flash cards. Then I realized that Stacy was attempting to make the same twinkly faces at the guy behind the popcorn counter, and he posted a video of her on YouTube under the title ”A Lady Who Looks Like My Mom Having a Stroke.”

Wanderlust has lots of terrific actors, but the movie is about the wacky high jinks at a rural commune, so it’s a little wheezy, as if George Carlin or Cheech & Chong are going to show up wearing embroidered headbands. In my final attempt to show Stacy a good time, we went to see The Vow, which was inspired by a true story. Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum play a young couple, and after a car accident, Rachel loses her memory of their marriage and Channing has to woo her back. It’s basically every couple’s nightmare, where both people would have to lose weight and pretend to be interested in the other person’s day all over again. It’s also one of those movies that use a catastrophic illness as a teachable moment, to help everyone learn and grow. But the movie at least gave Stacy a brilliant idea, and has helped her toward what I’m hoping, with my fingers crossed, will be true love.

Last week, Stacy began hanging out at several local hospitals, looking for attractive men with head injuries. So far, she’s told three hunks that, before their vehicles were totaled, she was married to them. At least one of the guys seems to be buying it, especially after Stacy described their wedding and their honeymoon, and showed him a picture of their daughter, Elle Fanning.

As for me, I’m happy in my marriage, by which I mean my relationship with Timothy Olyphant, who plays a roguish down-home deputy on the FX series Justified. Timothy is lanky, and he wears jeans and cowboy boots, and when he squints at a woman, it’s all over. The whole show is sensational, because the writing is smart and each episode introduces a few new backwoods morons with greasy mullets, who exist to be really funny and then get shot in the head, usually at the same time. Maybe I’m turning into Stacy, because lately I’ve been thinking about buying a burned-out trailer and cooking up some crystal meth, just so Timothy will come and arrest me. Because I would be thrilled to be his next moron, if you ask me.