One should perhaps not ask too much of fluffy, popcorn movies, except that they be suitably light and fluffy and everything turn out all right in the end. But there's one thing that annoys me about the modern version of these movies, perhaps because--to my mind--they no longer come out all right in the end.
In an older movie of this type, if you were to encounter an estranged couple, especially with children, you knew they would be back together by the end of the movie. If there was a single parent, and some adult of the opposite gender became good friends with the child, you knew that a romance with Mom or Dad was next on the agenda.
Now it seems the rule is quite opposite. If there's an estranged couple, the apparently less-cool parent will have a cool new romantic interest by the end of the movie (curiously, this is true even if the other parent seems to have realized their mistake).
And as for the single-parent movies--well, last weekend we watched The Pacifier. Watching a Navy SEAL get some discipline into some spoiled suburban kids while getting in touch with his softer side and foiling some international spies is fun. (Do the SEALs rent these guys out?) Watching the basically fatherless lieutenant learn to father the kids he's guarding is heartwarming.
So why can't he just marry their widowed mom? Why bring a totally different (and not particularly interesting) romantic interest into it?
Do not talk to me about what is realistic. This is a movie. The bad guys always lose, kids can take on international spies successfully, and people can drive like maniacs through the city and only attract police attention when it is needed. It's not about the way things are, it's about the way we want things to be.
Do we no longer want children to grow up in the same house with a mother and a father? Is it happily ever after enough to have someone promise they won't forget you?
(But I made up my own ending. He sticks around town, dates the principal for awhile, it doesn't work out, he keeps visiting the kids and falls for the mom later on. So there.)