Saturday, 11 October 2008

RANT: The decline of the romantic comedy

It may seem unmanly to admit this but I love me some quality romantic comedy. It's one of the few genre's where character drives the story rather then plot or action, and thus when done right can be terrific to watch. So why, as all other genres and sub-genres continue to evolve and improve, has this one died a mawkish, mushy death. I'd feel safe in saying there hasn't been a truly great film of this type since Amelie and to find one in the english language one would have to go back even further. For all the stick the horror genre gets for being run of the mill and conveyor belt-esque, at least every now and again it produces something like the Blair Witch project or The Descent. Why has this genre become such a cesspool of mediocrity?

1. Lack of bite: More swearing, and more realism. I'm usually an avoid realism at all cost kind of guy, but these films exist in such a poncy, fairy tale dream world that it would be good to see one set in a more realistic context. People saying F*ck occasionally wouldn't hurt either.

2. Sentimentality: the CV of the modern romantic comedy invariably involves forgetting to be funny in the final third, forsaking for painfully fake scenes of unearned sentimentality. Stop doing this. Now. Not everyone likes the Notebook. And the people that do don't tell anyone.

3. Male characters are more important then you think: To be fair, the same criticism could leveled at action movies treatment of women, but thats not what we're talking about. Imagine When Harry met Sally without Billy Crystal. It would be half the film it is, in both literal and metaphorical senses, because of the wit and maturity he brings to the role. Stop casting vacuous pretty boys who can't deliver lines properly because there cheaper and get someone who can actually create a character. And stop casting Edward Burns.

4. Be more funny: The most obvious and most prevalent. Be funnier.

5. F*CK weddings: If I see another wedding as a plot catalyst I'm going to hunt the plural you down and make you watch this generic crap on loop until you die. It's lazy, not even that good and just generally lame. This is essentially asking you to show more originality, and not be so painfully lazy, but I think F*CK weddings is a more impactful sub-heading.

Some people may be thinking but what about 40 year old virgin and knocked up, but they've gone the other way, being hilarious but not creating credible female characters. Which although mildly sexist is still better then what the female orientated movies have been serving up. But it doesn't have to be this way.

1 comment:

Antonionioni said...

Although I can't really argue from a point of comparable knowledge, this sounds plausible. Personally, i am actually against romance anyway, so i'm against romantic films unless they suddenly explode into grisly scenes of instant and gratuitous decapitation.