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25 February 2014 @ 11:15 am
romantic comedy, take # infinity  
And this is why I love Linda Holmes:

"Romantic comedy, like some of the activities in which it ideally culminates, is something too many people believe they can do well with little effort."

Sing it, sister. All of those "why are romantic comedies so bad these days" articles could probably be boiled down to exactly this: the people making those romantic comedies think that the genre is easy. After all, all you have to do is put two people into a contrived setup, have them argue a little bit, add a pause for meaningful glaring, then have them kiss! Then contrived obstacle, then big gesture of winning the other person back, then kissyface and jazz hands! Give it a title that's a commonplace saying or part of a song lyric, like Till There Was You, and you're done!

None of those things are bad in and of themselves (after all, any genre has its repeated conventions), but if you treat the conventions as a paint-by-numbers formula, you get insipid and lackluster movies. Sometimes you can save a film with the charm of the leads, but if you can't get your "best" talent to work in the genre because nobody respects it and comedies don't win Oscars, then even charm is often in short supply. (My favorite actors almost never do films in my favorite genre. This makes me deeply sad.)

Anyway, has anybody seen any good (relatively recent) romantic comedies lately that I should know about?
litlover12 on February 25th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
Maybe you already saw it, but I'm partial to "27 Dresses," though it seems to be widely underrated. The Katherine Heigel Hate Bandwagon is a very popular and powerful one. But I say phooey on that. :-)

The heroine is much more fleshed out and interesting than most modern romcom heroines, who generally strike me as walking collections of neuroses that are supposed to be cute and funny. And the whole story has a good level of complexity. (I like how, after the heroine has just publicly blown up her relationship with her sister, her best friend tells her she's done something terrible, and her love interest tells her she's done something great, and they both kind of have a point!)
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on February 25th, 2014 04:36 pm (UTC)
I feel like I must have seen that movie with my mother at some point, because what you're describing sounds familiar…maybe I should give it another look! I seem to remember liking the stuff with the sister, at any rate.

As someone who never actually watched Gray's Anatomy anyway, I remain mystified by all the Heigel Hate.

Edited at 2014-02-25 04:36 pm (UTC)
Enlevéenleve on April 25th, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen 27 Dresses, but I did see a Katherine Heigel movie called One For The Money, based on the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. I liked it and thought it was good. I'm not sure it fits entirely in the romantic comedy category, but you could make a case for it.
teliesin: TCteliesin on March 1st, 2014 12:07 pm (UTC)
My vote goes for "Safety Not Guaranteed" it's quirky and not they typical romantic comedy mold. It is available on Netflix.
tempestsarekind: amy eleven TARDIStempestsarekind on March 3rd, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes! I liked that movie a lot. I'll definitely add it to my mental list when I (invariably) revisit this romantic-comedy question again.
Enlevéenleve on April 26th, 2014 12:07 am (UTC)
Not very many tv shows or movies are coming to mind, aside from One For The Money, which I mentioned above. There ought to be more.

This may not be what you're looking for, but I enjoyed these relatively recent adaptations of romantic comedy classics:

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A Youtube modernized adaptation of Pride and Prejudice

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2011 production of Twelfth Night, starring some of the actors from Slings and Arrows. They did all new music for the songs. My favourite was "Hold Thy Peace" which I hadn't even realized was a song, but re-reading the text, it was there. It was a live show that had a release in cinemas and on DVD.

And these are relatively recent books, not movies:

The Far Time Incident by Neve Maslakovic.
The romantic element is there a little bit, in the subplot, but it spends most of the time being a science fiction time travel historical novel with academics. I think you would like it. I enjoyed the audiobook read by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold.
A romantic comedy, and also a caper plot, with occasional science fictional touches with bioengineering.

The Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle
This is my favourite of her romance books set on another planet with alien ruins.
tempestsarekind: the wind and the raintempestsarekind on April 30th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for these! I really ought to get around to seeing that production of Twelfth Night...