The subhead of "Mr. Big Gets Downsized" reads: "What happens when the breadwinner is toast? Chris Noth plays Mr. Mom, while Milla Jovovich leaves him with the crumbs." And so begins a role-reversal-ish photo shoot, in which the man is left at home to watch the rugrats while the woman is all business. Just like in The Hangover, it's supposedly instant comedy to see a man with a baby, as though men never parent and are as comfortable with kids as they are with, say, fainting goats.
It's so strange that this story is tied to the recession, downsizing and the economy. What if this were a non-fiction photo essay about some laid-off Bank Of America exec, and the poor dad looked as swamped as he does and that mom looked as distracted as she does and that little girl looked as sad as she does? Would you be like, wow, nice skirt, how much is that? Well, it's $695. Okay?
Don't get me wrong: Milla looks fierce. She is clearly taking calls about killing zombies and is saying stuff like, "I'm overbooked, but I can squeeze you in."
And what's this? Is the downsized dad flirting? Or just getting pre-school tips? And while it's great that Milla's training her mini-me to be a future CEO, shouldn't someone see what that little boy is crying about?
How many movies or TV shows have you seen where the dad makes a big stink (heh) about changing diapers?
Here's the thing: If this photoshoot were running, say, during the time when Mad Men is set — as a true, controversial role-reversal, then it would be one thing. But right now, when people are actually out of work; when women do struggle to balance career and kids — it's hard to decide if it's playful and funny or dark and depressing to see a distracted, possibly neglectful mom and a drowning, overwhelmed dad. Then again, maybe we're not meant to look too deeply into the set up. It's just a fashion shoot, right? This story is followed by an article on "investment pieces," featuring $10,300 handbags and $1,090 shoes. Priorities!