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July 9, 2008

Ah! Puberty! Marvelous. Who can forget those first stirrings of unknown longings and yearnings? That world-shattering, life-changing and life-affirming process of physical changes where a child’s body becomes an adult body capable of…oh, let’s not beat about the bush (hoho)…reproduction. Ah, and in a stricter sense, yes; the term puberty refers to the bodily changes of sexual maturation rather than the psychosocial and cultural aspects of adolescent development but, heck, that period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood is all mixed in too, isn’t it? You betcha.

Although there is a wide range of normal ages, on average girls begin the process of puberty about 1-2 years earlier than boys and reach completion in a shorter time. In males, testosterone is the principal sex steroid; it produces all the male changes characterized as virilization. And fuck me, what a multitude of sordidly beautiful and beautifully sordid lonely adventures that introduces. In boys, you see, testicular enlargement is the first physical manifestation of puberty and then, let’s be honest here guys, we get to exploration. God! Yes! How memorable is all that? Butterflies in the stomach, tremulous muscles, the whole sparkling learning curve in the shape of that wonderful first hands-on handsome tumescence!

Where does one go after that? Out of the bathroom, usually. But after that. After that?

Back in the bathroom about an hour later, and then again and again ad not at all nauseum.

Oh, it’s a mess – quiet at the back – but it’s a wonderful mess, and if the energy of it all is harnessed effectively and in time, it finally develops us into proper, upright – hey, steady, we’re on the growing-up curve here – young adults who might even stand a chance of tethering the raging storm of hormones, fear, excitement and happiness.

Alternatively, it could fuck you up so royally, you end up making Wanted.

Eleven and Twelve year old boys will love Wanted: the guns will look and feel reminiscent of something they have an unconscious urge to explore; the women are either airbrushed, angular, tattooed comic-book representations of their burgeoning sexual fantasies where sex is all about looking and never touching, or they’re fat shouty harridans they can with destroy without fear or compunction; the car and train stunts are acrobatically stupid and consequence-free; the morality is a foggy video-game cut-scene of misanthropy and New Age nonsense.

Wanted is filled with extraordinary images, which, if you’ve seen director Bekmambetov’s Day Watch or Night Watch, you’ll know all about, and some of them really are quite astonishing. But it has no heart and no soul, and is a violent misogynistic pile of shit from beginning to end.

(for a slo-mo shot of a keyboard smashing into someone’s face, and the flying dislodged keys spelling f – u – c – k – y – o – u as they tumble through the air)

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