Wednesday, May 12, 2010
What happened to the Romantic Comedy? Part 1
I don't even know where to start. (post is interrupted, I shall return...Wow! That was a long interruption. Am lazy when it comes to my own thoughts and opinions and writing them down, hopefully that doesn't mean others are lazy in reading them ;))
I've been pondering this post for a while. The Romantic Comedy genre is my favourite, but also the one I am most harsh against. It comes from such glorious beginnings (some like it hot, it happened one night) to a lot of crap (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Rumor has it). Somewhere along the way, the genre has lost its heart for the most part. It's now riddled with one dimensional characters (usually the female), lacks witty retorts, is infested with cliché upon cliché (I have nothing against clichés because when clichés are written with love and wit and savoir faire they become classic and memorable), overused careers (why do the characters always have to work at an AD agency or at a Magazine, or be a fashion designer?), the list of drawn out and hacked out plot devices have taken this once high and mighty genre into the gutter of scorn and ridicule. And that's just my introduction.
What Happened to the Romantic Comedy? PART 1
There are a number of actors I hold responsible:
Matthew McCaughnaney (and I don't freaking care to look up the proper spelling of his name because he deserves to be misspelled)
Jennifer Aniston (acting with the hair is NOT acting. Grow a freaking mullet and maybe I'll take you seriously)
Luke Wilson (once a romantic comedy actor with potential who is now starring in straight to dvd films with Jessica Simpson!)
Kate Hudson (you come from acting royalty. Ask Goldie for HELP asap on how to ACT in a romcom, but better yet how to choose the right romcom, Overboard is an 80's classic. Watch it. Study it. Live it.)
Ashton Kutcher (he's too pretty and too self-involved with his "empire")
Katherine Heigl(i couldn't stand you as a teen actor in my father the hero then I loved you on Grey's Anatomy (until the writing turned to shit) and then you showed up in the insultingly bad 27 Dresses)
Sarah Jessica Parker (you've gone from Carrie to Scary as the big screen is not kind to you)
Those actors are just a few of the many who sully the good name of the genre. Well, I mean it doesn't have a good name now, but that's beside the point.
RomComs starring the above mentioned actors (and others I haven't bothered with) are so insulting towards the audience that I have a physical reaction towards them. Whenever I hear a new romcom is coming out with any of these actors I cringe, knowing full well it'll suck. And when a film stars a combo deal, I run! An example is the upcoming film, The Killers, starring Kutcher and Heigl. Ugh! Do I cringe because I am a spinster and not the soccer mom crowd that these kind of movies are apparently geared towards? Are these one note actors the only source of talent left for this genre? I'm a snob and I want the likes of Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton to recreate this genre. I would add Kate Winslet but she made the rather drab Holiday, which I forgive only because she rocks.
RomComs rely heavily on casting nowadays. Chemistry is half the battle, which I think has created the mentality for lazy writing and character development. Who cares what the protagonist learns or if she's one dimensional! Just put Cameron Diaz in the lead and the audience will follow. Who cares if the male is rather drab and boring, get Matthew to take off his shirt in a few scenes and voila! Women will moist at the very thought! But I want to get weak in the knees with a story that captures human nature between the sexes. It really is a battle out there and I'm sick of watching lightweights act with their pecks and hair.
One of the most perfectly casted Romantic Comedies in the last decade was Bridget Jones' Diary. When I first heard Renee Zelwegger was going to play Bridget, I did indeed cringe and roll my eyes, but she was able to pull something out of her craft and create the perfect BJ (haha) on screen. Renee was Bridget. And along with the cad Hugh Grant and the gentleman Colin Firth, the chemistry was brilliant. Not only did Renee have chemistry with her two leading men, the two leading men had chemistry with one another! But all of this only came together due to a very well written script that balanced humor and romance with wit and charm. However, I am saddened that the last decade, Renee's RomCom choices have been less than stellar (including the BJ sequel), as have Hugh Grant (Did you hear about the Morgans? Nobody at the box office did, that's for sure!) Even the delightfully handsome and brilliant thespian Colin Firth couldnt' escape the RomCom curse (anyone seen the direct to dvd film, The Accidental Husband? Don't bother. It's beyond terrible) So yes, the RomCom relies much too much on an Actor's box office potential rather than their ability or who is right for the character. But I understand the draw. There are some actors who just sparkle in a certain genre (Meg Ryan in the 90's was the RomCom Queen, then Julia Roberts, then Sandra Bullock then Reese Witherspoon). I just hope that the likes of Megan Fox and Jessica Biel stick to what they do best, boobs and butt acting in Action flicks.
Actors who I'd like to see do more Romantic Comedies:
Next up. What Happened to the Romantic Comedy Part 2: Where's the Comedy?