Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day

“The Watch”


The WatchWhat could be better than a goofy comedy/alien invasion?

I know what you’re thinking. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You just can’t improve on the ridiculousness of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn,  and co. beyond adding evil aliens.

But wait–what if they throw in a character dealing with infertility?

Early in the movie we see Evan’s (Ben Stiller’s) wife with an OPK. Intriguing.

And later, after continual pestering from Bob (Vince Vaughn) about when he’ll have kids, Evan confesses to him that he’s shooting blanks. The conversation is lighthearted, and the movie certainly doesn’t present a serious view on infertility (and, irritatingly, it makes adoption look like an easy option), but it was kind of nice. (And better, in my opinion, than the more serious but grossly inaccurate portrayal in W./E., which I may write about later.)

Really, the movie is pretty bad, though DH enjoyed it (I’d say it’s a guy movie). The language is terrible, and there are a lot of sexual jokes and comments, so I wouldn’t call it wholesome. But, though many of the reviews of the film complain that the infertility subplot is “uninteresting” and “boring,” I found it nice to see infertility–and male factor infertility at that–portrayed in a comedy. It makes what we’re going through seem more everyday. More culturally relevant.

The normalization of infertility in our culture could really do good things for those of us in the trenches. It would be nice if infertility were something people looked at like other medical conditions instead of something to feel embarrassed or secretive about. It would be nice if more people recognized the difficulty of infertility (even if they haven’t experienced it) and could better sympathize with those of us going through it.

And I think cultural references, even in silly movies, are a great place to start.

5 thoughts on ““The Watch”

  1. I roll my eyes at the way infertility is portrayed in most movies/tv shows, but I agree with you that the more it’s out there, the more normal it will seem. I also wish celebrities, who you *know* have gone through fertility treatments, would be more open about it.

  2. I totally agree. Its hard to se it portrayed as less than it is, but I do appreciate it being spoken of at all. Thanks for this, i will not be seeing this movie! 🙂

  3. I appreciate your post, and I totally agree that the normalization of infertility would serve us infertiles in “coming out of our closets.” But I wonder if movies that rather crassly and briefly address infertility really will really help bring about this normalization. I feel like these movies will only drive us further into our seclusion. Our fertile friends, who already cannot comprehend the pain of inferitlity, will see these films and “learn” that fertility really isn’t a big deal. This will only promote insensitive reactions in real life, especially among men. Believe me, I have experienced my own fair share of “shooting blanks” nonsense. This definitely does not help me be more open and honest about my reality. It does not make me feel culturally relevant.

    • All good points. But while the movie is crass, I really think it does a good job of not trivializing infertility. It shows how comments like “when are you going to have children?” are painful for people with infertility. It addresses how infertility can really affect marital intimacy, and it shows how “shooting blanks” makes Evan feel like less of a man, and worse, how he feels he let his wife down by not being able to give her the one thing she wants most. It was done in a way that DH appreciated and relayed to (he says the infertiloty subplot was the best part of the movie). The reaction from his friend is heartfelt. The language is crass and there are lines for comedic relief, but the sentiment is real. And, when he tells his wife, it shows a positive reaction from her. That she loves him, and that they will get through it together. The only part I didn’t like was that at the end of the movie they just miraculously have a little girl (clearly adopted). As if adoption were straight forward or easy. But really, though it’s not a good movie, I’d give it a good rating for it’s treatment of infertility. I don’t think I made that clear in the post. Now, will that help those of us dealing with infertility? Just one movie won’t. But maybe it is a tiny step in the right direction.

  4. I agree that it’s great to see infertility pop up in movies and books to help normalize our experience. I feel like I’ve been seeing more of it lately, although I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m hyper-aware of everything infertility-related now!

    The movie “Up” beautifully (but briefly) showed the sadness of infertility. That movie is a tear-jerker, but very cute and inspiring, too. Downton Abbey also recently had an infertility storyline, but I was disappointed at how quickly and easily it was resolved. Lame.

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