CATEGORIES Movie NewsRecently two essays on the dearth and death of romantic comedies produced since 2000 appeared titled,"Are Romantic Comedies Dead?" and "Why Are Romantic Comedies so Bad?". A romantic comedy doesn't explore the hardcore reality of grief, prostitution, mental illness, cultural pressure, familial relationships, class warfare, and racial and economic inequality.
Methinks the essays missed the point that the genre is all about heighten reality where true love sweeps aside obstacles for the couple to live happily ever after. The 2012 Best Picture Oscar nominee Silver Linings Playbook was mentioned as a successful example of the genre in both pieces. Personally I love the movie but Bradley Cooper and Best Actress Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence must be the two hottest people in Philly. If Bradley and Chris Tucker are typical mental patients, ladies go over to the nearest psychiatric hospital and sign out a guy today. That's why the film is so engaging and you root for the couple to come together despite their mental health challenges and relationship history. Why more romantic comedies aren't green lit by studios is a good question.
All the films mentioned below performed well at the box office and some picked up major film awards. Contemporary films have been produced that can stand the test of time based on the same classic romantic comedy plot formulas (How to Marry a Millionaire, The Lady Eve, Roman Holiday, It Happened One Night, That Touch of Mink, Some Like It Hot, The Duchess and The Dirtwater Fox, Heaven Can Wait, Marriage Italian Style, For Pete's Sake). The best RomCom plots are the most ludicrous -- just like in real-life. As time goes by, it's the same old (great) story of hooker/gold-digger transformed by true love (Priceless), career girl falls for unlikely guy (No Reservations, The Proposal, The Artist, Leap Year), Con artist falls for mark (Intolerable Cruelty), in love with a commoner (Maid in Manhattan, The Princess Diaries, Notting Hill), true love triumphs over family drama (Caramel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Saving Face), commitment phobic player meets match (Something's Got to Give, A Good Year, Think Like a Man), bad girl gone good (I Can Do Bad all By Myself, Raising Helen), never too late for love (The Exotic Marigold Hotel, Beginners) and time travel for soul mates (The Lake House, Kate & Leopold) Could the essays have focused on films and actors on the right track instead of calling out creative lovely talented actors and actresses that coulda, woulda , shoulda?
Heavy is the Cary Grant mantle for George Clooney. Actor and director, producer of 2012 Best Picture Oscar Argo, humanitarian (A Journey to Darfur, Not on our Watch, Hope for Haiti Now) George is profoundly busy. Sigh. Darling we will wait for you. Let's not give the genre a post mortem yet. As long as there is date night, audiences will continue to go to the Cineplex to see romantic comedies. I'll be there with my big gulp soda, popcorn and Snowcaps. See ya at the movies.