Much ado about nothing much
Friday 24 August 2001

I am a sucker for a good Romantic Comedy. I am also a sucker for a very bad Romantic Comedy (which makes me an even bigger sucker)... Gimme a woman in a floppy Diane Keaton hat working in New York who is independent and funny but who gets a crush on a guy and gets all goofy - or give me a guy who is a bit of a loser, has to pull it together for a super cute woman and then bumbles his way through 90 minutes of hilarious mishaps and misunderstandings...accompany this with a big bag of Minties, an empathetic viewing companion and I am pretty much in heaven.

romancing the night away

The film that started me on this kick way back in 1984 was Romancing the Stone... it provided a neat cross over from the adventure movies that I loved as a kid to a life long passion for the romantic and predictable.

I am definitely not very discerning when it comes to this particular genre. If any other genre dares to dish up a clichéd, old fashioned, sometimes even outright offensive ending it immediately gets assigned to the Crap Hall of Missable Movies - but if the "girl gets the boy, loses the boy and then gets the boy again" in a Romantic Comedy then that's just fine by me. Of course, all the better if the writers mix it up a bit. I quite like the "boy gets girl, boy loses girl" scenario (Harold and Maude, Roman Holiday, Shakespeare in Love, Heathers...err...Pretty loose definition of Romantic Comdey going on here) or the "girl gets girl, loses girl, gets girl" story (Go fish, Being John Malkovich - did I mention my loose definition?) or the magic realism twist - "girl gets to live two parallel lives" (Sliding Doors) "boy gets to peer inside girl's mind" (What Women Want), "boy gets three wishes" (Bedazzled) "boy likes girl and wakes up in the exact same day every single morning" (Ground Hog Day)... but it doesn't really matter what goes on. If it has John Cusak in it, all the better. If Tom Hanks is no where to be seen - great! If Woody Allen wrote the script I'll be camping out for tickets days ahead and if there's some old jazz (Ella, Frank, Louis) or Peter Gabriel on the sound track (your eyes, don't give up etc. I know, I know awful but so great in context) I will be curling my toes up in ecstasy, stuffing unnoticed popcorn into my mouth and getting all misty eyed. Even so, if it's just a couple of bumbling, pretty looking fools romancing despite the odds and the disappointing script I will still be lovin' it.

However, all that aside, I am yet to find the perfect Romantic Comedy -- I would love to see a movie that was "girl wants boy, girl gets boy - girl realises she doesn't need boy and kicks some serious ass"... Heathers was kind of like that except the ending was not due to Winona recognising that she was a strong, independent woman -- it was because Christian was a psycho (although she looked pretty tough and independent when she smoked that last cigarette which she lit on his exploding body). But then again I guess "girl realises she doesn't need boy" doesn't really rate as a romantic comedy. And I wonder if it would really satisfy whatever unthinkable, anachronistic desire it is that I have that means I crave the RomCom in the first place...

Hmm - America's Sweethearts is due out soon.... popcorn anyone?

So here's my list:
Harold and Maude
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Annie Hall
When Harry Met Sally
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Some Like it Hot
Roman Holiday
Raising Arizona
Johnny Suede
Say Anything
The Apartment
Shakespeare in love
Simple Men

As we all know there are dozens of others. Apart from the good ones there are:

Movies that are slightly embarrassing and should be watched in private (rather like porn):
Return to Me (soooo bad - I loved it!)
What Women Want
The Truth About Cats and Dogs
10 Things I Hate About You
Never Been Kissed
Any romantic comedy staring Sandra Bullock

Movies on my list to see:
The Awful Truth
Bringing Up Baby
Gregory's Girl
His Girl Friday
It Happened One Night
Defending Your Life
Philadelphia Story
Jerry Maguire

Despite all this - I would still skip on:
Sleepless in Seattle (sad and slow)
Chasing Amy (shameful conclusion)
Pretty Woman (shameful everything!)

Interesting "RomCom" links:

Writing Romantic Comedy
Romantic Comedy on Salon
Bridget Jones at Bitch

PS. Just for the record; I would rather poke my eyes out than watch any Romantic Comedy with Richard Gere in it.


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