At approximately 24 minutes into the film, while Jason Bateman’s PR whiz works to rehabilitate the superhero’s tarnished image, he shows Hancock three comic book images in an effort to inspire him. But Hancock rejects the traditional image of costumed superheroes as he responds to each one: “Homo. Homo in red. Norwegian homo.”
The audience is prompted to laugh and there is no response to or retribution for Hancock’s remarks. Bateman’s character, the father of a young son, could have easily spoken up instead of giving Hancock a pass.
Rated PG-13, Hancock is being marketed to families, teens and young adults. This film certainly presents an opportunity for parents to explain to their kids that the usually entertaining character of Hancock is not modeling good behavior. But let’s get real: Hancock’s use of the slur sends a problematic message that it’s okay to discriminate using such hateful words.
But, wait, isn’t the point that Hancock’s being a repulsive prick? Isn’t, as GLAAD admits, the superhero showing kids exactly what not to do? If so, isn’t that praise worthy?