Would you like to live in a romantic comedy?1comment
Regular readers to this site know that I’m not a big fan of romantic comedies. I find most of them neither funny nor particularly romantic. As such, I was very surprised when I watched the trailer for Crazy, Stupid, Love. and found myself wanting to see it. And so, yesterday, I did.
For the most part I enjoyed it – I thought it was 75% an enjoyable movie (great cast, good chemistry on the part of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and some legitimately funny dialogue), and 25% standard romantic comedy crap. Without getting too spoilery, I was very grateful that the movie avoided many of the romantic comedy cliches that usually result in me spending half the movie sighing audible or rolling my eyes.
For example, no one in the movie worked in advertising or seemed to have an apartment or wardrobe way beyonds their means. None of the women in the film fell down for little or no reason. There was a shopping montage, but it was between Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling and involved a decent amount of face slapping.
It did, however, fall into a few unfortunate romantic comedy cliches. There were several coincidences worthy of inclusion in a Charles Dickens novel, including some cartoonish hijinks that I definitely could have lived without. There were precocious children in abundance. But most unfortunate of all, there was a giant, third-act speech of crap. What, you might ask, is a speech of crap? The speech of crap is something that categorically never exists in real life, but screen writers seems to love. It can be found in all genres but is basically when the main character takes center stage and gives a long monologue to a large group of people (often times the majority of the people listening are strangers, and yet they inexplicably are riveted by 5 pages worth of dialogue and end up applauding as the one person to whom the speech was directed stares on misty eyed). I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a person get up in the middle of a plane, restaurant, or place of business and talk loudly and emotionally for several minutes about very personal issues at the top of their voice, but it happens in movies all the damn time. I’m venturing to guess in the real world, instead of triggering spontaneous applause it would be more likely to trigger a call for security. But I guess that’s one thing that people like about movies. It’s much more dramatic than our day to day.
I can honestly say that when my relationship hits a major snag, I don’t want the resolution to come through a public declaration of intimate details to complete strangers. Similarly, the idea of a man showing up with an expensive designer dress to whisk me off somewhere fancy sounds lovely, but the reality is I have a hard enough time finding a dress that is flattering, and the odds of any guy getting both my style and size is about as likely as us arriving to this fancy place by pegasus. And I’d rather be with a guy who know he wants to be with me, and doesn’t wait until I’m halfway out the door to realize it. I don’t want anyone to complete me. But then again, I’m not a big fan of the romantic comedy, so many things that seem to make women weak in the knees trigger a strong gag reflex in me.
So given all that, what am I missing? Is there anything in the romantic comedy oeuvre that actually resonates with you? Would like like to be the recipient of a grand romantic gesture?