As we blogged about earlier, the very popular Sexy Stenographer archetype disappeared from movie screens in the 1930s. It had a final gasp in the 2003 film “Alex and Emma,” directed by Rob Reiner.
If the Sexy Stenographer wasn’t dead yet, this movie might have killed it. At least according to reviews and online comments.
The movie starred Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson. Wilson is a writer who is under pressure from his publisher to get a book out in one month. The New York Times’ review of the movie said, “… because Alex is experiencing a writer’s block that leaves his imagination colder than this picture’s, and because the enforcers have torched his computer, he hires a stenographer, the all-business Emma (Kate Hudson), in the hope that he can dictate a book to her within his allotted time.”
We’ll give you three chances to guess whether they fall in love, and the first two don’t count.
On IMDB, the discussion board of the movie is primarily about whether this is the worst movie of all time or not. (The consensus: No, not the worst of all time, but not very good, either.)
Elvis Mitchell, in the Times, said, “The picture is desperate to be a Date Night event, but it feels more like a Last Date movie. “
The movie also prompted the essay we’ve been quoting about the Sexy Stenographer. In the New York Times, Katie Bolick gives a nice rundown of the history of stenographers working with well-known novelists. including Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Henry James.
“Of course, the typical (and largely unexamined) history of novelists dictating to stenographers is hardly as romantic,” she says.