Thursday, 6 June 2013

Romantic Comedies Are Rubbish

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?

It’s easy:

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?

Here goes:

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?


Mind Of Mine said...

I am sorry, I can't agree with this.

Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Bad Teacher.

All brilliant romantic comedies.

Anonymous said...

The up-side to rom/coms is that most of the time no one gets beaten, mutilated, decapitated etc. There are rarely car chases, boring boring endless car chases; no buildings or entire universes get blown up. Yes, occasionally someone dies - for some reason that is considered romantic - maybe those don't get put in the rom/com category...Anyway my 65 year old husband, a fan of Steven Seagal and chop socky movies, liked "Love, Actually" very much and bought the soundtrack..."27 Dresses" on the other hand was a waste of time - actually anything with Katherine Heigl in it is a waste of time...

drb said...

Oh Mr OM,
You totally miss the plot, again!!!!!!
Rom Com is supposed to make you laugh because of its asburdity in grand ludicrious grandeur romantic gestiures!!!
If it were to win you with its plot, the film would be a Drama! If it were to win you with its wits, the film would be a Comedy.
If it were to tug your heart string, the film will be a Romance.

Come on! Get with the program! Love Actually made you laugh didn't it??!! So, it did what it was supposed to do as a Rom Com - to make you laugh at its absurdity!

This blog is as rubbishy as you complaining that there was no meat in the vegetarian lasagna which you had ordered (not by mistake) and eaten.

H2B said...

What do you think about Bridget Jones's Diary? Plot was predictable but it was hilarious, a true Rom Com.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Ian,

That's absolutely fine. I don't expect people to agree with me.

I've been unfortunate enough to see two of the films you've listed (the other being Dirty Dancing) and they may be brilliant romantic comedies - but, as I said, in my opinion romantic comedies are rubbish - so to me they are still rubbish.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

What you say is true. However, I am a fan of car chases, horror, end of the universe type films - the more spectacular the better. That said, I am not so shallow that I don't appreciate movies that contain none of the above.

My problem with romantic comedies is that I genuinely find most of them unfunny and the romance is unrealistic.

Give me a romance movie where two people get together against the odds or a romance people movie that shows people staying together, loving each other despite all of the trauma and adversity that is happening to them and I am there thoroughly enjoying it and at times crying like a baby.

Films like Love, Actually make me cry because I wasted the fiver I spent to go to see it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I disagree - the plot was so predictable I could have written it (in fact I think I did in the post).

Romcom just doesn't make me laugh. I didn't laugh at Pretty Woman nor Four Weddings - I spent the entire duration of the films wondering why others found them even remotely funny with a look of bemusement on my face.

Love, Actually made me laugh once - in disbelief. It wasn't because I found it funny. The excerpt I posted was the most absurd sub-plot I have seen. I mean, if my best mate took photos of my wife and ONLY my wife at the wedding and THEN confessed to her at Christmas that he would "Love her forever", he wouldn't be my best friend for much longer. It would have been more interesting and certainly more believable had the husband spotted the snog outside and reacted badly. But no - too much syrup was added to the plot and Andrew Lincoln says "Enough now" as he walks away, happy in the knowledge that another man is married to the woman he loves.


I have seen romantic comedies because of the "comedy" element - and so I am totally disappointed because there is no comedy and the romance is contrived, over the top and totally ridiculous.

BTW I love vegetarian lasagne.


Thanks again for a fab comment. That's the kind of comment I love.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

Oh boy! Bridget Jones I and II. I was forced to endure both of them.

Yes - there were some slightly amusing moments but casting Colin Firth and Hugh grant together is like adding yet MORE syrup to an already oversweet product.

Mrs PM will no doubt want to see Bridget Jones III when it surfaces and I am dreading it to be honest.

I need to drag her to see a majestic man movie to compensate and wake up my brain.

BTW - Mrs PM loves romantic comedies - that's why I find myself going to see so many of them. The reason? Because I love her - now THAT'S romance.




River said...

I'm not a big fan of romantic comedies either. I enjoyed Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing because of the songs and dancing, I liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Fools Rush In too. They made me laugh. The ones I don't like are the copycat movies where you swear you've already seen this story a dozen times, but with different actors. The copycats don't get me laughing. I really do prefer action movies with as little romance as possible.
And now I know this comment is going to fail because there is no image for me to copy in the captcha window. ah, here we go, new captcha window..

jeremy north said...

I agree whole heartedly with you PM. All rom coms are utter utter rubbish.

Why are they always set in New York or London, with well heeled people, and usually at christmas time? Sickening!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I prefer action movies too but if there's romance then so be it.

You are spot on with the copycat observation. A winning formula and the same dreary old movie over and over again.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jeremy,

Exactly! Exactly! Exactly!

That's my point.

Boring, predictable, repetitive and most importantly of all - unfunny.




Pandora Behr said...

Romantic comedies are my guilty pleasure - just like you like heavy metal. Sorry, can't agree with you here. Everybody needs some soppy hope every now and then

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Fair enough - though I think I'd struggle with a romcom that had a heavy metal soundtrack.




Big D said...

> a romcom that had a heavy metal soundtrack.

Now this I'd love to see. Boy meets girl in the moshpit. They break up because he thinks Cradle of Filth are too commercial and she won't listen to Black Metal without keyboards.
He wins her back by getting Dimmu Borgir to play outside her house.

I can cope with rom-coms but truth be told, I prefer more com to rom in the mix.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

Even with that plot I'd struggle. Though I'd love to see the scene where Dimmu Borgir play outside her house - particularly if it was in a posh location.




H2B said...

Just watched Emma on TV (umpteenth times, Kate Beckinsale version, my favorite), that reminded me that Jane Austen is the inventor of Rom Com!
So, you hated Pride and Prejudice etc too?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

Mrs PM loves Jane Austen.

I have never seen Emma and I have never seen Pride and Prejudice. Nor have I read the books. If they are romcoms then they are not for me.

Classics that deserve my attention are those by H.G.Wells and Jules Verne.

Of course there is a connection between Pride and Prejudice and films like Bridget Jones and Love,Actually in that Colin Firth has starred in TV adaptations. The fuss made over Colin Firth and the Lake scene was ridiculous.

Not my cup of tea at all!

Sorry ...