The Alcoholic Horndog Tenured Professor Stereotype: The Squid and the Whale
Although “The Squid and the Whale” appears to be a wistful yet quirky look back at the breakup of a literary-powerhouse marriage, but I kept thinking that it was a modern take on “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” The main difference is that, instead of a young couple being stuck in the house with the drunken professor and his wife, two kids are stuck living with a couple who could rival George and Martha any day of the week. Professors should view this one as a cautionary tale.
Meet the Professors:
Bernard Berkman: A failed novelist working as a university professor who uses the word “dense” as a compliment.
Hot Pepper Rating: Zero, unless you’re into shaggy guys.
Likelihood of Having an Undergrad Piece on the Side: More likely than any other movie in the series. He offers a room to a student, and he moves in, too.
Boozing and Drugging Quotient: None on the part of the professor, although the divorce situation drives one of the kids to drink.
Mental Condition: Bernard’s narcissism disorder is even more prominent than that of the Lawrence Wetherhold character in Smart People. That is impressive.
Financial Fakery: Not too bad. Bernard’s scabby apartment shows that a single professor’s salary won’t go far in Brooklyn.
Teaching Talent: The audience never sees Berkman teach, and that might be a good thing.
Quotations: “What is it about high school? You read all the worst books by good writers.”
Conclusion: This is a good movie in that many people can probably identify with it and how their parents behaved during a divorce. It’s more of a “bad-divorce” movie than a “professor” movie, although it does perpetuate the stereotype that a professor will put a publication and a night in bed with an undergrad above all else.