The fun and tricks of romantic comedies are needed now more than ever.
For years, romantic comedies have comforted viewers, defined romance and provided a pleasant way to spend a Saturday night. But while the 90s and 2000s were full of iconic canonical entries such as “Beauty,” “13 Going on 30,” and “She’s the Man,” the last decade has failed to push many notables.
Romantic comedies don’t have to be memorable or become cultural touchstones, though that’s always a plus. But something needs to be said about how few films have justified the predecessors of the 2010 genre. “About time” and “Crazy Rich Asians” are two that come to mind, but have been lacking in general over the last ten years.
Partly to blame for the growth of high-budget films and obsession with box office. Written by Scott Meslow noted as “romantic comedies have largely disappeared from the studios for the same reason that most mid-budget films began to disappear: Hollywood preferred … mass blockbusters or traditional awards, with very little happening between the two poles”.
It’s frustrating given how pleasant the genre is as follows. Romantic comedies evoke laughter, tears and escapes from reality. They allow viewers to indulge in romantic situations that are unlikely to happen in real life, and ridicule the ridiculousness of it all. For others, these films are a reminder that love really is, instills hope and joy.
More than what the franchise lacks, romantic comedies add. Unlike Marvel and Star Wars movies, rom-coms rarely require prior knowledge of the characters. Watching 10 other movies is optional to understand the new one. They are also not hoping for a recent shock price trend. Viewers understand the film even before it begins. They know that the protagonist will not die and the film will not have an unhappy ending. The main couple always ends together, allowing the audience to watch without fear and leave themselves satisfied.
Romantic comedies also take root in reality, even if some elements are a bit far-fetched. The characters usually live a normal life, even if the romantic plot itself is unrealistic. The allure of projecting yourself onto a character and imagining that your life can also turn into a fairy tale is undeniable. Romantic comedies tie everything you need to know into a beautiful one and a half hour bow, and sometimes that’s all you want.
There is also a desire to enjoy them in a certain setting. With the advent of streaming, companies like Netflix have released a series of romantic comedies that can only be watched at home. While you can always arrange an evening movie with friends or family, it’s not the same as eating popcorn with an inflated price in the dark and away from the outside world (except for the people around you who decided to spend their day in the same way). However, the success of films on these platforms – a shining example of “All the guys I loved before” – shows that this genre still has an audience.
However, if romantic comedies are going to return to the silver screens, then change must happen. As a rule, these films meet strict standards, which include direct white characters. Viewers are not tired of the formula performed by rum-comas; they are tired of who the formula excludes.
“Marry Me,” the latest film starring Jennifer Lopez, demonstrates that this shouldn’t be the case. Many say it may signal the long-awaited return of romantic comedy, and one can only hope. The film tells the story of Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez), a singer who decides to marry a stranger (Owen Wilson), who holds the caption “Marry me” at one of his concerts after her partner and musician Bastian (Maluma) betrayed her. The plot is extravagant, the soundtrack is gorgeous, full of love and warmth. It also offers a presentation of several films of this genre that have ever been performed. Valdez and Bastian speak Spanish throughout the film and refer to their culture to comfort people of the same background.
“Follow Me” also offers a refreshing contrast to the teens and millennials who have been at the heart of rum comas for the past decade. Both protagonists are over 50 and they are divorced; Owen Wilson’s character, Charlie Gilbert, even has a young daughter (Chloe Coleman). Despite the deviation from what has become the norm in this genre, the film is silly and soulful, proving that romantic comedies can exist in different ways and still be entertaining. The predominantly positive audience response for “Follow me” confirms that it is never too late to begin the revival of this favorite genre. With the appropriate changes in romantic comedies there is the potential to knock people off their feet again and bring love and laughter back to the screen.
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