Thursday, February 9, 2012
Bad Boys -- marriage or singleness?
Director: Michael Bay, 1995. (R)
Buddy cop movies have been around for almost half a century, but Bad Boys was perhaps the first that paired two black cops. And they bring with them a new take on the genre: more jive talk, more swearing, more negro jokes, more action. Indeed, billed as an action crime comedy, it is shorter than expected on the laughs but longer on the action.
Fresh from his TV role as "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" Will Smith was cast as Mike Lowery in this film that turned him into a full-fledged movie star. From here, he went onto Independence Day (1996), Men In Black (1997) and Oscar nominations for Ali (2002) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2007). His charisma and screen presence are obvious in Bad Boys where he plays bachelor Mike Lowery.
Against Smith's playboy cop, Martin Lawrence costars as Marcus Burnett the family man. Unlike Smith's meteoric rise to fame and award-worthy films, comic Lawrence has gone on to make forgettable fodder, such as Big Momma's House and Black Knight. In this film, though, he has clever chemistry with Smith, and that is what made this a hit.
The plot is simple. The two cops are Miami vice detectives who have nailed $100 million in heroin. When this massive amount of evidence is stolen from under the police's noses, the pair are given 72 hours to recover the dope, find the thieves, or Internal Affairs will bring them and Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) down. With little to go on, they cut a break when a young woman, Julie (Tea Leoni, Tower Heist), witnesses a murder by the criminals. The catch is that Julie will only trust Lowery. But Lowery is not available, so Captain Howard persuades Burnett to become Lowery as Julie does not actually know either one. With Burnett pretending to be Lowery, Lowery has to pretend to be Burnett. The bachelor becomes the hen-pecked husband, and herein lies the laughs.
This Smith-Lawrence vehicle really focuses on the contrast of the two types of relationship. Lowery enjoys his playboy lifestyle, wearing designer clothes, driving a limited-edition Porsche and bedding numerous women. Burnett, on the other hand, drives a limited-life station wagon, sleeps with his loving wife and enjoys his three energetic kids. Which lifestyle is better?
The Bible has much to say about marriage. Even from the beginning, man and woman were united and joined in a one-flesh relationship (Gen. 2:24). And although the Old Testament is rife with polygamy, the New Testament makes it clear that monogamy is God's plan for the family (1 Tim. 3:2). In fact, marriage is a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and his Church (Eph. 5:21-33). There is one bride for one bridegroom. And it is within the marriage relationship that sexual relations should be enjoyed (Heb. 13:4).
On the other hand, the Bible also addresses the single life. The apostle Paul comments, "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried" (1 Cor. 7:8). Being single allows singleness of mind: "I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided" (1 Cor. 7:32-34). Singleness is not an excuse for playing the field, for sleeping with women, for living irresponsibly. Such a lifestyle is anathema to Jesus' teaching.
So, the right answer to the lifestyle question is dependent on the person.
But looking at Lowery and Burnett, we also see two friends comfortable with each other. Indeed, they bicker and complain to each other much like an old married couple. They know each other too well. Marriage is intended to lead to a level of intimacy that enables such knowledge. Would that we would all attain such a relationship.
Copyright©2012, Martin Baggs
at 7:00 AM