Whatever happened to smart, witty romantic comedies? There’s always been a variety of schlock, but it used to be there lied some real gems amidst the rubble. Remember the engaging, clever dialogue in You’ve Got Mail? And the flawed but irresistible characters of Bridget Jones’ Diary? These flicks may have been a bit sappy and geared entirely toward women, but they were also really, really smart. With charismatic, developed characters in interesting, fairly complicated situations who have actual problems (more than just, “I can’t decide which gorgeous, rich guy to fall in love with!”). Even the quirky, offbeat ones like 500 Days of Summer and Zach Braff’s surprisingly heartfelt Garden State look stellar compared with the rom-com’s of late.
As someone who often falls for the romantic comedy shtick (if done well), I miss the days of the thoughtful, cleverly funny ones. The Proposal is worth watching, but only because Sandra Bullock and the lovely Ryan Reynolds had fantastic chemistry (and Betty White always gets a laugh). But mostly, we have to turn to raunchier, less romantic comedies like Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall for our fix. Even Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno warms the heart more than the vomit-inducing What Happens in Vegas.
It’s not for lack of talented, likable actresses, since Jennifer Aniston and Katherine Heigl seem to be taking almost any role offered to them. I kind of liked He’s Just Not That Into You, but I’m in the minority. I admit that I haven’t seen Love Happens, but The Bounty Hunter was miserably predictable and boring. But it isn’t Jen’s fault; she’s cute and funny and charming despite the crummy writing and stupid plots. And I want to like Katherine Heigl, really I do, but 27 Dresses was a big disappointment, The Ugly Truth even more so and The Killers looked so bad, I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it.
I miss the ones that not only made you swoon but also made you think. The characters so charming, you hated to see the movie end, who were more than just lonely chicks and dreamy guys, characters who felt real. And plots that weren’t as intricate as a CIA operation, but were believable and intriguing, to which you could actually relate. Now there’s just the stereotypical, shallow-as-the-puddle-at-the-end-of-my-driveway characters of The Ugly Truth sweeping lonely housewives off their pedicured feet.