Picks and Pans Review: Breaking the Rules
The Rules—that alarming guide to landing husbands through manipulation, deceit and playing hard to get—has already been rightly parodied on Saturday Night Live and in a jokey retort, The Code, written by two single guys. Now comes this satirical trifle—subtitled "Last-ditch Tactics for Landing the Man of Your Dreams"—by two rebel women: Banks, a former stand-up comic, and Barber, a writer for the Rosie O'Donnell Show. Like many other quickie takeoffs on pop cultural phenomena (O.J.'s Legal Pad), this slender volume uses every trick to sneak past 100 pages—large type, lots of white space, blank pages—but still manages to seem too long.
While The Rules advised women to "Rarely Return His Calls" and "Don't Open Up Too Fast," Breaking offers predictable Rules riffs such as "Move Your Stuff into His Apartment As Quickly As Possible" and "Gab Until His Ears Bleed." Neediness needn't scare a man, we're told, since "calling him incessantly will give him the impression that you are complex," while dull dates, it turns out, are a cinch to squirm out of. (Just say, "It's so annoying being a carrier.")
There's a laugh or two to be had, but not nearly enough to justify breaking Rule No. 1 regarding rushed-to-print parodies: Save your money and skim through them in the bookstore. (Career, $7.99)