Shouldn't What's Best for Your Uterus Really Be Left to a Man to Decide?

Of course it should! And so much the better if hilarity—and dare I guess romance?!—ensue:
Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman have signed on to star in the fertility-themed comedy "The Baster" for Mandate Pictures.

Will Speck and Josh Gordon, who previously teamed for the comedy "Blades of Glory," will helm "The Baster" from a screenplay by Allan Loeb ("21"). Film is based on Jeffrey Eugenides' short story "Baster," which was first published in The New Yorker.

"The Baster" centers on a neurotic and insecure man (Bateman) who finds out his best friend (Aniston) wants to have a child through artificial insemination. He surreptitiously replaces her donor's semen with his own and is then forced to live with the secret that he is the child's real father.
Poor guy—having to live with such a terrible secret. Well, at least he isn't burdened by having committed a criminal betrayal of his best friend's trust, treating her like a child, deciding he knows better than she what's best for her, violating her body, and lying to her about it.

Because that would be sad for him.

I'm frankly shocked that Eugenides, who wrote Middlesex with such grace, would have authored something that appears so deeply anti-feminist, but indeed he did.* Still, I'm sure the material will be treated with a delicate touch, directed by the people who brought us the emotionally intricate Will Ferrell vehicle Blades of Glory. Surely the flagrant violation of a woman's trust and body won't be played for laughs—despite the film being a comedy and all.

Hopefully, if The Baster is a success, the same team can get the rights to the Eluana Englaro story. That's a zany romp just begging for a big-screen treatment…with Roberto Benigni as the kooky impregnating prime minister!

I despair for the world some days. I really do.


* I tried purchasing the archive to read the story, so I could find out what attempt was made, if any, to justify the loathsome sperm-switcharoo—e.g. "she knew all along!" which actually would still be deeply problematic for various reasons—but the site was giving me guff and, after several attempts, I gave up. If anyone's got a subscription to The New Yorker and can send me a copy, I'd be ever so obliged. And I'll happily admit I was wrong if there is some acceptable rationale, which I cannot begin to imagine, for a story centered around a man attempting to impregnate a woman without her explicit consent.

UPDATE: Well, I've just read it.

A friend who works in a library was kind enough to send me a copy of the story. It's even more dismal than I imagined: The story itself is…difficult. It's written from the first-person perspective of the sperm-switcher, who draws the picture of the woman using every horrible cliché about older women and/or women who are desperate to get pregnant (e.g. "Everyone knows that men objectify women. But none of our sizing up of breasts and legs can compare with the cold-blooded calculation of a woman in the market for semen."). The narrator is a horrible person, who does a horrible thing. It is a dark story; it ends merely with his satisfaction that he impregnated her—and the only remorse he feels is that he will not know his child.

The story itself is problematic on two fronts: It has a bit of the Deathbed Confession Cinema problem, in that we are meant to laugh at the caricature of the desperate wannabe-mama, until we are, suddenly, brutally sorrowful that she has been hoodwinked without her knowledge. It also has a bit of the "Stop Rape. Say Yes" problem, in that the story could be read as an MRA manifesto without a trace of irony, the narrator's grim and desperate act seen as just retribution—a man's triumph over the unwitting bitch who aborted his child years before.

I found the story quite triggering, to be frank. And I cannot begin to imagine how it could be made into a romantic comedy, or any kind of comedy at all.

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