The Best and Worst of Rom-Coms
When it comes to Romantic Comedies, it’s easy to write them off as chick-flicks" and avoid them at all costs. But with the massive success and absolute hilarity of the recently-released “Bridesmaids”, a film about a wedding with an almost exclusively female cast, maybe it’s time we took another look at the whole romantic comedy genre and gave it a second thought? Of course, there are also some movies that live up to the Rom-Com’s bad reputation and we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a few of those, too.
First off, here are three Romantic Comedies we love.
h2. 1) SAY ANYTHING
We’ll start with a classic. John Cusack is definitely the King of the Rom-Com and even though he’s done a ton of work both in and out of the genre in subsequent years, this one is practically legend. The image of Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler standing outside Diane’s (Ione Skye) window blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” from a boombox hoisted over his head doesn’t just represent the most iconic scene in the movie, it’s practically a symbol for Romantic Comedies and a certain 80s charm we actually kind of miss. Or maybe we’re just nostalgic for boomboxes.
h2. 2) (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
Nobody does Manic Pixie Dream Girl quite like Zooey Deschanel and she does a number on Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this unusual Rom-Com directed by Marc Webb. Deschanel is Summer Finn, a woman who doesn’t believe in love, and Gordon-Levitt Tom Hansen, a man who is sick with it and head-over-heels for her. The film tells a meandering story of the ups-and-downs of their 500 days together and is presented as a series of vignettes in a myriad of different styles. It’s not just a good Rom-Com, it’s a straight-up cool piece of filmmaking and it definitely gets our thumbs-up.
3) The 40 Year Old Virgin
Sure, you’ve already seen this. And you probably just consider it a Com without the Rom, but as with most of Apatow’s films, this one’s got a little something more in the romance department than, say…The Hangover. So hey, let’s just say it counts so that next time you’re accused of never wanting to watch any romantic comedies, you can pull this card out and continue quoting it at every opportunity. You can also enjoy Knocked Up for the same reasons and since Apatow produced it, you can try for a free pass on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, too. Just don’t push your luck for Pineapple Express.
Now here’s the other side of the coin. The Rom-Coms you should get paid to watch. And please, do consider it a favour that we put ourselves through this to bring you official word.
1) SEX AND THE CITY 2
There was something great about Sex and the City as a concept: strong women, frank sexuality and a big-city setting. Really, all the pieces were there and it was (and still is) rare to see all-female leads in a series scoring that kinds of ratings. Unfortunately, as time went on, it became increasingly apparent that these characters were devolving into caricatures and cash-crabs and the message the show was sending was getting skewed. Enter Sex and the City 2, which takes every negative quality from the show and amplifies it to drown out all the positives. Stir in some awkward dialogue and a visit to Abu Dhabi as offensive to Middle Easterners as it is to Americans and you’ve got a real train-wreck on your hands.
h2. 2) GIGLI
This is like the “Say Anything” of terrible Rom-Coms, the one that gets pulled out as a reference even though it’s been eight years since its release. Starring then-couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck as a pair of mobsters sent to kidnap a mentally-challenged young man (The Hangover’s Justin Bartha) to use as a bargaining chip to get a mob boss (Al Pacino. Seriously.) out of jail. Besides being the most egregious use of Al Pacino since The Godfather Part III, it’s an inexplicable mess of a romantic comedy that couldn’t get an ounce of sexual chemistry out of two people who were literally having sex at the time of filming. It’s not even “so bad it’s good”, it’s just “so bad”.
This, however, you should watch. More than just a bad Rom-Com, it’s a film so terrible you need to see it to fully understand it the depts of its awfulness. First, watch the trailer. Go ahead. We’ll wait. What you need to know is that, while they present it as a wacky romp about little people and a woman’s apparent fear and loathing toward little people, it is so much more and so much weirder than that. It takes a sudden, dark turn in the middle, becomes a serious drama for about a half hour and then ends so strangely that you’ll be left wondering how you even got there. All we can say is that casting the compulsively-watchable Gary Oldman as the little-person brother to Matthew McConaughey is truly a cherry on top of this horrible Rom-Com sundae.