How To Talk To Girls Movie: Now More Agonizing Than Previously Anticipated

Illustration for article titled How To Talk To Girls Movie: Now More Agonizing Than Previously Anticipated

Everyone's favorite professionally precocious child-love-doctor, Alec Greven, and everyone's favorite self-serving, Emmy-winning comedy-writer are teaming up to share their combined life wisdom in a rom-com sure to involve man-children learning valuable life lessons from adorable smart-asses! Can we get an "oy vey?"


It's really not Alec Greven's fault. He's probably a very nice kid. At first, when his first book came out and seemed like a sweet-natured, genuine one-off, we were totally on board! And his mini-empire (three books, a film and counting) of from-the-mouths-of-babes self-helpery exists not because of his ingratiating manner or eerily erect posture - who doesn't want to please adults at 10? - but because a large team of variegated grown-ups has decided to make him a cottage industry. You gotta get a gimmick, after all, and his - or that of his handlers - is the ingenuous affect of a much younger child, a play on some half-remembered nostalgia for Our Gang-style innocence, and the dispensing of "advice" to the community of adults for whom, presumably, the "Gifts for Grads" table at Barnes and Noble is intended.

(In fact, if we have one fault to find with Alec Greven, it is that he makes us think ungenerous, mean thoughts about a child, which in turn makes us hate ourselves and deplore the slow death of our better natures. But in the cold light of day, we pity him his cash-cow existence (which at this point evokes a Dickensian setup in which he cranks out books) and the adults who enable it. And, naturally, wish him a speedy recovery.)

Ben Karlin, on the other hand, has no excuse. Karlin, the Daily Show-creator and lesson-learner whose self-regarding douchebaggery we have chronicled on these virtual pages, has pursued his path to infamy with an arrow's precision (the kind of precision that allows Robin Hood to split that guy's arrow in the tournament.) Not content to have made major, important and quality contributions to the collective consciousness, Karlin has persistently aligned himself with a sort of deceptively self-deprecating style of man-share always dispensed from the safe height of Important Lessons Already Learned.

Well, now these two giants of the modern emotional landscape are coming together! Karlin, in company with one Stu Zicherman - apparently his partner in crime on A.C.O.D. (Adult Children of Divorce) - is to turn Greven's first work, How to Talk to Girls, into a movie. All we know at this juncture is that the script is based on "Greven's extensive experience on the playa-ground" and that the producers envision a "warm-hearted comedy."


While the collaborative process itself seems ripe for a heartwarming Ryan Reynolds flick (and introducing some self-assured scamp of an L.A. scion with sun-streaked hair in the Greven role), we can't imagine the two screenwriters are actually going to be taking advantage of the author's consultant potential. Rather, as has been the case so far with the child's work, it will be quickly re-packaged to fit some adult's idea of how children exist in relationship to themselves. The whole pitiable scheme seems to lend itself almost too easily to conjecture about the nature of modern childhood, sexualization, filthy lucre, and all manner of literature of alienation. Better as usual to cite the immortal words of Stevie Smith, "it is a pity to be so silly."


Two Scribes Tapped For 'Girls' [The Hollywood Reporter]

Earlier: What Can We Learn From Men Who Claim They Have "Learned"? (Hint: "That They Need To Be Schooled" Is Not That Off)

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Erin Gloria Ryan

Are there really that few capable adult writers that now we must appeal to our children to produce literature?