I can predict the future.
At least I can predict what will happen when Mrs PM makes me sit down and watch a romantic comedy film with her.
Here’s what will happen – and I can guarantee it.
First, I will be able to predict the plot of the entire movie.
Second, the romantic comedy will not be funny.
Third, I will spend the entire two hours of the film, tutting, moaning and whingeing about how predictably unfunny the movie is.
My final prediction is that I will have wasted two hours of my life.
How can I be so bold in my prophecies?
Romantic comedies are rubbish.
There are hundreds of them and each time I watch them, I fool myself into thinking:
“Come on, Dave – they can’t all be bad.”
But they are – almost without exception.
And just how predictable is the plot? It’s so easy that even the world’s worst astrologer could actually forecast with a probability of 95% exactly how the story will develop, resolve and conclude.
Shall I demonstrate my predictive talents?
Boy meets girl. Boy fancies girl. Boy plucks up the courage to ask girl out with an outrageous gesture. Boy messes up. Girl feels sorry for boy. Girl goes out with boy. Boy and girl getting along fine. Boy and girl declare love for each other. Boy does something stupid. Boy and girl split up. Boy realises he has made a huge mistake. Boy offers a grand, outrageous and totally unbelievable gesture to win back girl. Boy thinks he has failed and walks off in shame. Girl chases boy. Girl declares undying love for boy. Boy declares undying love for girl. Boy and girl live happily ever after.
How did I do? I’ll bet you’re impressed, aren’t you? You could also substitute “boy” for “girl” in the first paragraph for the sequel.
I can also predict what will happen to me during the film:
Plastic Mancunian vomits. Mrs PM thumps Plastic Mancunian and declares that he “hasn’t got a romantic bone in his body”. Plastic Mancunian declares that the movie didn’t have one funny moment apart from the unintentionally funny bit when the boy cried. Mrs PM thumps Plastic Mancunian again. Plastic Mancunian makes a cup of coffee for Mrs PM, buys some flowers and chocolates and Mrs PM reluctantly forgives him because he does really know how to be romantic.
I’ve been dragged to the cinema to see some absolutely dreadful romantic comedies in my life so I can regard myself as something of an expert in the field.
The first one I really remember seeing was Pretty Woman one of the most overrated wastes of celluloid ever to grace the silver screen. A wealthy businessman hires a prostitute for a week as an escort and falls in love with her?
Do me a favour.
And what about Four Weddings and a Funeral? a movie where Hugh Grant plays the same character as he does in every other film he’s ever been in?
I nearly did at one point. Hugh Grant must be laughing all the way to the bank, playing the bumbling handsome Englishman with the ability to woo a woman in any romantic comedy.
Why Four Weddings and a Funeral was such a massive hit is beyond me.
In a similar vein, I had to endure Love, Actually, again starring Hugh Grant, which is full of numerous mini-romantic comedy storylines all running in parallel and all making me feel like a dog’s dinner.
This scene in particular, while to some it may seem like perfect romance, makes me wonder how anyone can believe that any man would get away with behaviour like this on Christmas Eve by coming on to another man’s wife at their own doorstep – and why those who live the romance would actually say “AWWWWWW!! Isn’t that sweet?”.
Maybe the reason is that the guy in question is Andrew Lincoln and the girl is Keira Knightly. I actually laughed aloud in the cinema at that scene but not because I thought it was funny; I thought it was so absurd that it pushed the boundaries of credibility to the limit.
“Yes Keira – I think you’re perfect and I will love you forever. But I won’t interfere with your marriage and enough is enough. Oh – and thanks for the massive snog!!”
The scene is utterly ridiculous and covered in gallons and gallons of syrup.
I would never voluntarily go to a cinema to watch a romcom. That said, I have suffered the ignominy of being present at a screening of a vomit inducing sugary mess. I sat there with Mrs PM like an hopeless wretch, watching a movie that made my brain slowly shut down.
I didn’t plan it that way. Mrs PM and I went to the cinema to see a film we both wanted to see. Alas, fate conspired against me and that particular film was sold out. I can’t remember what the film was because I have tried to cast the memory of those hours from my mind.
“What about Serendipity?” said Mrs PM.
“What’s that about?” I asked.
“I don’t know but I think its something to do with fate and destiny. John Cusack’s in it. And Kate Beckinsale.”
My male side took over. I have a soft spot for Kate Beckinsale and I know that Mrs PM likes John Cusack.
“OK,” I said. “We’ll give it a go.”
Those words came back to haunt me. I endured the most humourless romantic load of tripe I had ever been subjected to. The plot was totally unbelievable. I didn’t laugh once (apart from maybe maniacally at the absurdity of the storyline).
I wasted my money and a couple of hours of my life.
As I left the cinema, I walked up to the box office and said “Has anybody found a will to live? I’ve just lost mine.”
As far as I am concerned, romance is fine in a movie. Comedy can be brilliant.
Problems arise when the two genres are combined.
A bit of romance in a comedy film is acceptable but when the romance takes over the movie becomes rubbish. Take A Fish Called Wanda – that is a wonderfully funny film with a hint of romance but the emphasis is definitely on the comedy.
It works and it works marvellously.
Pretty Woman, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Serendipity and Love, Actually are pathetic films, immersed and saturated in gratuitous glucose and about as funny as kick up the arse.
Before you call me a cold-hearted heathen, I actually rate some pure romance films as the best I have seen – films like Casablanca, Brief Encounter, It’s A Wonderful Life and even dodgier films like Ghost and Titanic.
It seems like somebody thought When Harry Met Sally was a success so we should flood the market with films that follow the same formula/
I’m sure quite a few people will disagree with me and, as usual, I am willing to change my stance slightly if you can persuade me, dear reader.
Over to you, dear reader.
Do you think romcoms are rubbish? If not – why not?