Making the Grades
Dr. Jekyll doesn't hold a card to the change of persona that Whitman Crawford (Bill Pullman) undergoes in Mr. Wrong. Whitman, the rich do-nothing son of a millionaire mother, happens to discover the lonely Martha Alston (Ellen DeGeneres) in a deserted cafe. Depressed at the prospect of forever being single, Martha is overwhelmed with Whitman's sensitive nature and handsome features. After dating a few times, everything seems great, until Martha discovers that Whitman hasn't quite been himself.
Heeding Martha's request to just be natural, he takes her to a store and starts stuffing cans of beer into their jackets. "Stolen beer tastes better," he quips as they race out of the parking lot. Upset, Martha wants to call the relationship quits, but a girlfriend at work explains that, "All men are horrible in their own way, you just have to learn to accept it." So Martha tries again. After one more day, she sits Whitman down to explain it's over. Whitman is so crushed he breaks his finger to show how much he loves her.
Whitman's compulsive nature takes over for the rest of the film, as Martha is subjected to physical and verbal abuse by both Whitman and his ex-girlfriend. Finally in the end, Whitman kidnaps Martha, drugs her, and takes her to Mexico where a church full of relatives and friends await the marriage. Only a bullet is able to bring things to a halt.
The first half hour of this film seems to hold promise for a lighthearted comedy about being single in your thirties, a concept which could provide a well stocked supply of funny moments. Instead the writers chose to use far less humorous scenes of abuse and harassment. With even the police refusing to help Martha, parents may want to be especially cautious about showing this movie to young girls, as it leaves a strong impression that women can expect to be victimized. With today's concerns about violence against women, you wonder why anyone would try so hard to make it seem funny.