I can’t think of a single time I have ever chatted with you guys about a romantic comedy. Not once. Why? Because they are the epitome of what I despise about standard Hollywood fare. The rules that guide them are more restrictive and the least forgiving of all screenplay genres. And if a movie attempts to step outside these extraordinarily constrictive rules they are flattened by the general movie going audience at the box office. For some odd reason, the viewing audience is happily content to watch the same movie over and over again, and reward the Xerox copy nature of this segment of the movie-making industry.
Here is how a portmanteaus romedy – or romantic comedy – or romcom is generally laid out. See if you can recognize literally every romcom you have ever watched in this flow:
- Two characters meet.
- But, due to some argument, or maybe an external obstacle, they part ways.
- Most of the time, the two leads believe that they don’t like each other because of another partner or family complications.
- But, because of various hints and tips, the audience knows that the two actually like the other.
- And generally, our star-crossed lovers invariably separate in order to figure out how they really feel.
- While separated one of the two has an epiphany, usually involving birds tweeting around their head, that makes them realize they are actually, desperately, in love with that other person.
- And, through something called the Grand Gesture, one of the two attempts to overcome the barriers piled up throughout the film by the film’s screenwriters, in order to declare their love for the other.
- Then, having leapt the high boundaries set before them, they ultimately overcome these external or internal pressures and ultimately come back together.
- Sometimes marriage is involved, or just happily walking off into the literal sunset together.
The basic formula can even be condensed even further. Two people meet, and awkwardly spark, even in spite of an embarrassing situation. Moments later, it’s revealed that the two are actually mortal enemies and the two must fight the other to the death, come what may. In an epiphanic moment, (usually the male) realizes he has had his priorities upside down and ditches the moral high ground in order to chase down the love of his life. Complicating this, will be a misunderstanding, that is the final hurdle in order before the two are able to avow their undying love for each other.
Let’s try it ourselves right here – let’s write –
A man and a woman are pulling into the last spot in a parking lot of the best coffee shop in town, and crash into one another. After swearing and cursing, they realize that the person they just crashed into was undyingly handsome/beautiful, etc. Getting past this, he steals the last coffee in the joint that she obviously wanted. But he gives it up, igniting a spark between the two. But! Moments later, she learns that he is the rival internet startup creator of the latest IT app. And her IT app is desperate to close her final round of funding before going public. The two do anything to wine and dine the one VC in town interested in investing in their IT apps…constantly undercutting one another. It’s a battle to the death. But with each parry and thrust, the two wonder if they are doing the right thing. Ultimately though, he realizes this little IT app isn’t worth it, throws the game, and she wins the funding. He begins courting her, and she has everything she ever wanted. The public app, the gorgeous boyfriend…until it comes out in the trade rags that he threw the game. She is angry and denies the VC funding. Now she is alone, without her app, and without her gloriously handsome beau…and did I mention that it’s raining? But then, out of nowhere, anonymous funding comes through, the app is back on track, and her boyfriend is back at the balcony, avowing his love for her. But who gave the anonymous funding? Well, her boyfriend, of course. And when she finds out, she is play mad, but they vow to make her app the best app across the land…together. Oh, and they get married during the credits. Because, why not?
Is that about right? I literally wrote that without thinking, just one constant stream of consciousness. Well, yesterday, which was Valentine’s day, I took my wife to go see a random movie for her birthday. (Yes, they are one in the same.) It happened to be a movie that I had never heard of before – which, seeing as though I’m a little bit of a movie buff – this is a fairly tricky thing to do. But I walked in blind to this movie – and I absolutely adored it. WHY?
I am so glad you asked Mr/Mrs. Random Web Denizen.
Because the movie “Isn’t It Romantic” pillories all of the standard romcom tropes…all while remaining a romcom. “How is that even possible?!?” I hear you asking…and that is such a great question person 43235. Basically the entirety of the movie announces the standard romcom motifs, pillories them, and then embraces them. And it does this over and over again. It mocks the über gay side kick, the über handsome initial love feint, the shopping montage matched to peppy music, the flawed bumbling cute protagonist with the propensity to trip and fall at all the wrong times…and on and on it goes. I was fairly shocked that Rebel Wilson (the lead) didn’t actually look down the barrel and just break the 4th wall entirely like a move straight out of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (That is totally a movie list I need to do here – movies that break the fourth wall! So good. Wonder how many I could come up with right now without even thinking about it…Well, obviously: 1) Ferris (probably my favorite comedy of all time); 2) Deadpool; 3) Spaceballs; 4) Airplane (Which 90% of you don’t even know anything about I’m sure.); 5) The Big Short; 6) I, Tonya; 7) Fight Club, of course; 8) The Wolf of Wall Street….record scratch. Stop for the love of all. Different post, different day.)
And yet it was still a funny, light-hearted romantic comedy, which is all my wife and I wanted, to celebrate her Valentine’s Day birthday. So yeah, don’t expect any time traveling. Or any Groundhog’s Day mechanics. But if you want a cute comedy that is so self aware as to mock itself throughout, then this is the movie for you. I personally loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough. Here, have a trailer – and then I’m off to review something extraordinarily mindjoby to make up for this horrible romcom failure! I’ve tainted this poor site forever. Alack and alas!
Edited by, CY