I like really bad movies, it’s true. It’s my little secret that most everyone already guesses about me. The movies with cheesy, predictable plot lines are like a drug to me. I’m a bad movie addict. Always searching YouTube for trailers that will feed my next craving. But despite watching a ton of bad movies I always find something redeemable in all of them. Bad movie watching is almost worth it to hear one bit of dialogue that makes you pause from your intake of popcorn and go, “woah.”
I was doing my usual rounds on YouTube today when I found myself in the deep trenches where videos start appearing from years ago. I came across the trailer for the movie How Do You Know. It’s the 2010 rom com with Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon, and with a writer like James L. Brooks it seems on the surface to be a great combination. Unfortunately, it doesn’t turn out that way. I’m not a movie reviewer, but you can take my word for it and just check out it’s rotten tomatoes score, or any of the other review. But the redeemable quality that I did find comes from a story that Rudd’s character tells. It’s the origin story about Play Doh.
Play-Doh was never intended to be a child’s toy. Its original use was to get soot off wallpaper. The product came from Kutol, a Cincinnati based soap company. At the head of the ship was this guy, named Cleo McVicker. Now Kutol wasn’t very successful. In fact, in the late 1920s it was getting ready to close it’s doors when Cleo made a deal with Kroger grocery stores to make this wallpaper cleaner, which at the time was highly in demand. He had no idea how to make it but his brother Noah eventually figured it out. The brothers were saved!
Or at least they were until Cleo died in a plane crash in 1949 and the increase of oil and gas furnaces made their wallpaper cleaner obsolete. What was Noah to do? Luckily for Noah he had Kay Zufall, a kickass sister in law. She was a nursery school teacher and used the product for school decorations, but noticed how the kids liked to play with it instead of other modeling clays. With the removal of detergent and the addition of an almond scent and coloring came the birth of Play-Doh.
Now of course Paul Rudd being Paul Rudd tells this story in a much shorter and charming way as he presents Reese’s character with her own Play-Doh. He tells her that he’s been keeping that exact container because it reminds him that, “We are all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work.”
And today I really needed to be reminded of that story. As I was procrastinating on writing a blog post and feeling crappy as I filled out yet another job application I was reminded that change, real change is just an adjustment away. Once you make that first change life is already different, and then you keep making them until something better begins to emerge. So even though it might be a bad movie it had a pretty good story, and it had Paul Rudd. Everyone likes Paul Rudd.