Where Are the Romantic Comedies?

The last romantic comedy I saw in a movie theater was To Rome With Love last summer. And I’m pretty sure it was the only new rom-com I saw in a theater last year. I waited to rent The Five-Year Engagement because it looked awful, and I was right. I finally sat through a couple excruciating hours of that movie in October last year. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. However, I absolutely loved This Means War, but it isn’t exactly a classic rom-com since it’s also a spy-thriller-action type movie. The real romantic comedy genre is practically nonexistent in film right now. Browsing through Moviefone’s list of movies coming soon, I see that there is only one romantic comedy being released this year, The Big Wedding. Only one. This is an outrage. Why do we have to suffer through countless sci-fi, thriller, vampire, and action movies, but we only get one decent romantic comedy per year? The biggest problem is that the genre as a whole has been branded as stupid. People seem to think that these movies are so formulaic and predictable that they aren’t worth anything. Well, guess what? The big blockbuster action movies are totally obvious as well. I wouldn’t exactly classify them as original. There’s a quest to conquer evil, lots of action and violence, then the good guys prevail over the bad guys. The end. So, why isn’t that stupid? Why, why, why is the romantic comedy genre the one that people love to hate the most? 

In recent years, the best romantic comedy released was The Proposal in 2009. Sandra Bullock has a knack for romantic comedies, and she’s my favorite actress. Two Weeks Notice is one of my all-time favorite movies. She gets rom-coms right. The Proposal is the type of rom-com we need more of now. It’s like the classics that came before: The Wedding Planner, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Sleepless in Seattle to name a few.  And I don’t mean similar in plot. I mean similar in how they make me feel. True fans of rom-coms know what I mean. As the credits roll, you get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside and can’t stop grinning and wishing that something funny and amazing and beautiful like what you just saw would happen in your own life.

Lately, I’ve turned to the Hallmark Channel for my romantic comedy fix. They’ve had a bunch of cute new made-for-TV rom-coms. So, maybe the answer to my question, “where are the romantic comedies?” is, “on TV.” Has this genre moved from the big screen to primarily the small screen now? People still want romantic comedies, even though the Hollywood big shots seem to think they can dictate what we want. Rom-com fans will go elsewhere to find the genre they love. Just like when the big publishers decided that people shouldn’t like chick lit anymore, declared it "dead," and stopped publishing it. We went elsewhere. We self-published. We went to indie publishers. We found a way around people telling us what to like and what not to like.  Maybe Hollywood should adapt more romantic comedy novels into movies. There are so many stories that are just waiting to be brought to life in movie form. Until then, I think I’ll watch When Harry Met Sally for the billionth time. 

What do you think about the state of romantic comedies? Leave a comment and weigh in.