subscribe: Posts | Comments

Satirical short ‘We Have Your Wife’ sure to get a rise from female viewers


The Fort Myers Film Festival will screen Jim Ford’s We Have Your Wife on Thursday, October 22. If the crowd that viewed the film earlier this season during TGIM is any indication, the short 6-minute film should stir up its fair share of controversy among those who see the film.

The premise starts with a dark twist. A man by the name of Greg Smith is awakened from a sound sleep by an ominous call in which a muffled voice tells him “We have your wife.” A cut-away reveals a woman duct taped to a chair. Two men donning black ski masks stand in the next room. One delivers the ransom demand to the woman’s groggy sexually-frustrated husband. But his response is anything but what they expect to hear. (Hint: think Henny Youngman.)

The dialogue between the husband and the kidnappers is sharp, comedic and disconcertingly relatable. The back-and-forth possesses something of a stand-up quality that’s enhanced by snappy one-liners, but Ford nevertheless infuses the exchanges between the flummoxed kidnappers and over-it husband with gravitas through the cinematic technique of alternating wide and close-up camera angles and a musical score that belies the irony of the situation.

Jim Ford cast himself in the lead as Greg Smith, with Laura Markis playing the role of his kidnapped wife. But the true scene stealers in the film are Ed Gutierrez and Ryan Convery who portray the wild–eyed amateur kidnappers, whose machinations quickly go sideways to their chagrin and consternation.

While Ford has crafted a comedy, his film takes direct aim at the sexist assumption that if a wife/partner doesn’t put out, she’s selfish, frigid and, yes, a bitch. And at the film’s screening during TGIM earlier this season, a number of women took issue with the premise that a husband is entitled to sex whenever he feels the urge as if he had an ownership interest in his wife/partner’s vagina. They felt that vilifying the wife, duct-taping her to a chair and giving the husband the unfettered power to abandon or even condemn her to death for failing to be the fawning, sexually subservient spouse that he and society demand was a case of unapologetic bullying – an unfair and deeply flawed form of misogynist belittlement rooted in decades, if not centuries, of oppression of women.

The men in the audience seemed surprised by this reaction, a sentiment that quickly gave way to a paternalistic reproach of the female commentators for taking themselves too seriously and not having a better sense of humor.

It’s impossible to know from the film itself which view Ford intended his story to satirize. That’s for viewers to settle over an adult beverage or two. But if the mark of good filmmaking is the ability to spur conversation, then We Have Your Wife is a resounding success. But judge for yourself. The film screens at 5:30 on Thursday, October 22 during Shorts Block Three (which also includes Taboo, Bodyman and Viola).

October 13, 2020.

Comments are closed.