Monday, October 4, 2010

10 Things I Hate About How to Lose a Guy When in Rome at My Best Friend's Wedding...

Fellow blogger, Natalie, just made a post about how she can't stand society's new "it" girls, i.e. the dumb, vapid, shallow ones who love to suck dick. I commented, and felt the rage slowly start to build within me. I love to watch romantic comedies, but they make me so pissed off. Life is not like that. But that shit sells. Would you really go see a movie that tells the truth? No. Because we like to live in "happy, rainbow, unicorn" land where that shit could really happen. So, here are 10 (over-used) cliches from romantic comedies that drive me insane:

1. Hardcore Career Woman Whose Heart Melts: Pity the loveless, career-driven shrew — that is, until the right man comes along. Best-laid plans, etc. As seen in The Proposal, No Reservations, What Happens In Vegas, Raising Helen, and New In Town, these hard-hearted women learn what really matters through a series of highly convoluted circumstances.

2. Falling In Love With The Help : It's a genre at least as old as Jane Eyre, but the last decade saw no sign of upstairs-downstairs eroticism abating. Often with the service-industry job in the title — Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner, The Nanny Diaries, even Secretary, these movies were mostly Cinderella fantasies, spiced up with power differentials. Love Actually actually managed to fit several such romances into one movie (with Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman's plotlines).

3. Quirky Girl Brings Adventure: It's good news that eighties-style makeover flicks were in short supply in the last decade. And maybe we can also be happy that in the place of the ugly duckling came the nominally indie, self-consciously quirky girl with the adventurous streak — see Natalie Portman in Garden State, (500) Days Of Summer (actually, this genre is essentially owned by Zooey Deschanel), Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, Juno, and even Serendipity and Along Came Polly.

4. Journalist On Assignment (Often Secretly): The traditional media may be in crisis, but on the silver screen, being a journalist remains glamorous, exciting, and the best way to meet a man. How else does one get into romance-ready scrapes? See: How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Rumor Has It, Down With Love, The Ugly Truth, and even wedged into dual audience comedies like Mr. Deeds (an unconvincing Winona Ryder as a tabloid reporter) and Zoolander (Christine Taylor as an investigatory journalist.)

5. The Reformed Bad Boy. This genre allows both male actors and the audience to have it both ways: first, caddish masculinity and assurance that our hero is a guy's guy, then, the right woman to come along and transform him, unwillingly, into a softy. See, for example, Wedding Crashers, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Hitch, Two Weeks Notice, About a Boy, and What Women Want. Who said you can't change a man?
6. My Best Friend's Wedding (Stretched Over Another Decade). There is a strong correlation between the ballad of the overlooked best friend (or sometimes sibling) and the frantic drama of the wedding. Maybe we can blame Julia Roberts — if her character in the 1997 hit didn't get the guy at the end, well, we've spent the oughts making up for it. Movies like Made of Honor, My Best Friend's Girl, 27 Dresses, Definitely Maybe, Just Friends, and In Her Shoes make it clear from the trailer that the buddy will come to his or her senses in 90 minutes or less.

7. Dealing With The Hardass Parents: In-law jokes are a worn genre in and of themselves, but films like Monster in Law, Meet The Parents, Guess Who, You Me & Dupree, and Just Married took it to the next level with slapstick gags about overbearing parents jealously protecting their offspring. An implicit reaction to the new overparenting?

8. Male Lead, Stammering Charm: Whether you preferred him British (Hugh Grant) or Yiddish (Ben Stiller), it was all about the klutzy je ne sais quoi. Grant in particular owned this genre, starting in the 90s and persisting throughout the oughts with the wretched Music & Lyrics, the Bridget Jones' Diary movies, and now Did You Hear About The Morgans?, among others.

9. Fish Out Of Water: Nothing's hotter than being new in town and needing to be initiated by an attractive stranger. See: Save The Last Dance, The Holiday, The Prince & Me, New In Town, and Under The Tuscan Sun.

10. Time Travel: romantic comedies are all about putting road blocks between hero and heroine. And what's a better impediment than living in different ages? In movies like Kate and Leopold, 13 going on 30, 17 Again, and The Time Traveler's Wife, love proved it could triumph over the time-space continuum.

As I'm sure you've noticed, I didn't really write these...I found them all at this site:
But I do agree with all of them.  Another thing that gets me mad are the lengths the guys will go to to win the girl back. No high-school boy is going to pay off the marching band to play "Can't Take My Eyes off of You" while singing and running away from school security guards. Sorry ladies. And no romantic kiss in the rain after you have some sort of argument...most of the time, when it rains, it's freezing. You're not going to be outside in that. And  you can also nix the whole running through the airport. With the way security is nowadays, unless you have a boarding pass, you can't even get to the shops in most airports. 

*sigh* I could go on and on, but I'm getting a little hungry and I still have a million things to do before RD's parents come over for a birthday dinner. So I'm gonna end this now. 

Oh, and tomorrow is my birthday! Yea! :-)

What do you hate most about romantic comedies?


cornflakegirl74 said...

I have a strange love/hate relationship with romantic comedies. As much as I just want to slap the main characters and yell at the TV for unrealistic plot lines, I can't help but get sucked into watching them anyway. It's funny. I work a corporate 9-5 in Manhattan in the publishing industry. All the elements are in place for a whirlwind romance to spark, but that sh*t doesn't happen in real life! But who doesn't daydream about this stuff? I blame it all on Hugh Grant and John Cusack :p They've set the bar intolerably high, LOL!

Thanks for a great post--I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

Benny said...

Have you heard the term manic pixie dream girl? Google it! It's a good one. I believe it originated with The Onion.

But what I hate seeing the most are characters like John Cusack in Say Anything. It's a better movie than many romantic comedies, but that character is damaging to many minds. I'm thankful that I didn't see that movie until I was old enough to know better.
Lloyd Dobbler characters make guys think that obsessing over a girl is cute and make girls think that overly sweet guys will turn out to be just as angelic as Lloyd... In the end, both are disappointed when they discover that in real life, it's sad to date that kind of guy and even sadder to BE that kind of guy.