Harrington’s hilarious look at the traditional male role finds him boxing Vinny Paz (who is hilarious in his own right), and taking a good knock on the head. He drinks 10 manly drinks in one night. (The secret to drinking whisky without making a funny face? You like whisky. Otherwise, you’re gonna make a funny face.) He also drives a Ferrari really fast, shaves with a straight razor and says ow a lot, and has 10 young women rate his looks and fashion sense. Luckily, he’s already married to a woman who adores him.
The movie had me and everyone else laughing out loud so many times that I lost count.
But there’s a serious side too. Harrington’s reason for asking what it means to be a man is personal. After all, that one is a man is a fact like being an American is a fact. But the question is really about something different. In an article for insideMAN I wrote that,
We ask what it means to be a man because men’s roles in modern society are shifting. Part of this is due to the diminished need for brawn. Part of it is due to a dramatic expansion of women’s options, meaning that women aren’t dependent on men as they were in the past. Part of it is that many men both want and are expected to take a greater role in child rearing. And gay and transgender men are fighting for their equality as men.
I concluded that “a man’s dignity has always been about who he is as a person, not the particular role he serves.”
And that’s why boxing and heavy drinking have nothing to teach except that Harrington is already the man he wants to be. Being a man is about striving to be the best of who Ray Harrington is.
He’s a son, a husband, a friend. And a dad. Harrington was raised without his father present and so wants to be the best father he can be. And the fact that he cares about being a good dad shows us the kind of man he is.