In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the film’s screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna has affirmed what many of us have come to agree on years later: Nate’s (Adrian Grenier) character didn’t age well.
“I think that now, however many years later, what people focus on is that he’s trying to restrict her ambition,” McKenna said to EW. “But her ambition is going towards something that she doesn’t really believe in, so he has a point." Okay, fine...maybe Nate wasn’t the worst. He was, however, pretty flawed.
In 2006, when the film released, we were younger, more naive, and perhaps willing to lump this movie into the rom-com category, just as the film was marketed. This meant we may have paid too much attention to Nate’s favourable traits: shiny hair, unpolished good looks, and talent for making grilled cheese sandwiches at the right moment.
We ignored his incessant whining and lack of support for Andy getting her career together. Like that time our heroine missed bae's birthday after being forced to attend what looked like what the Met Gala is now. McKenna also admitted that the birthday ordeal was a bit much.
“The part that makes me giggly when I read is him being upset about his birthday," McKenna told EW. "It’s pretty whiny — but he does say later that it wasn’t what he was upset about.”
The screenwriter also admitted the Nate’s character functioned as a tables-turning antithesis to Andy’s ambitious narrative. Basically, the girlfriend was the career-focused protagonist, while the boyfriend was the one being ignored.
“That’s a part that a lot of women end up playing, the ‘why aren’t you home more,’ the naggy wife. I have to say, that character was the biggest challenge to write, and oddly, the character [director David Frankel] and I talked about the most, because we wanted to make sure he wasn’t a pain in the ass, but he is the person who is trying to say, ‘Is this who you want to be morally?'”