Last night I stayed up watching Get Smart, a spy spoof (based on the 1960's series of the same name) starring Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway. It's about an analyst who after all of the field agents' identities are revealed is let out into the field with Agent 99 (played by Hathaway), who has just returned after extensive plastic surgery.
I found the film to be greatly amusing and quite clever. Steve's character Max Smart in turns gets everything wrong or gets things right by sheer dumb luck whereas Hathaway's Agent 99 is a competent field agent who often has to save Max from himself (including a feat which broke the law of Physics, but I was willing to overlook that).
Despite having only having one named female character (that I can remember), I found it to be good for female representation because Agent 99 was given as much respect as other agent on screen, if not more. That is, until towards the end of the movie. All the way through it I'd been thinking and how it was so refreshing that a man and a woman working together didn't have any unnecessary sexual tension between them.
Then, completely out of the blue, Max says that he felt the two of them had a romantic connection, citing "last night". I had to rewind to check I hadn't fallen asleep, because absolutely nothing happened between them, except for Agent 99 opening up to him about her past.
I fully expected Agent 99 to laugh in his face, but instead she squirms, apparently feeling guilty, and later kisses him and they start dating. I found this completely extraordinary because before this the only chemistry I'd felt between them had been that of friends and co-workers, not potential lovers.
The problem I have with this is it added nothing to the story. It was as if the only reason the writers could imagine a woman would fight for a man is if she was in love with him. Not because she believed in him and not because it was the right thing to do.
This does a great disservice to women, and I am quite frankly sick of Hollywood not being able to have a leading man and woman on screen together without them sucking face.