Love triangles have for the most part, been a staple of the romantic comedy or romantic drama. For this narrative to succeed, the screenwriter(s) have to make this very basic and predictable story their own.
The 1999 movie Three to Tango stars three 1990’s television stars in the lead roles. Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott) is a businessman who asks Oscar Novak (Matthew Perry) to be a companion of sorts for his mistress, Amy Post (Neve Campbell). Charles thinks that Oscar is gay. But Oscar is straight. As Oscar spends more time with Amy, he begins to fall in love with her.
As rom-coms go, there is almost nothing revolutionary about this film. Charles is a dick, Oscar is a nice guy, and Amy is the woman in between them. I certainly appreciate that it is a small step in the direction of a realistic portrayal of LGBTQ characters. But in 2021 terms, its not exactly the ground breaking moment it could have been. My major issue is that Amy has no agency or life other than being a figure of romantic and sexual attraction. Granted, this movie is twenty two years old, but it has not aged well in my opinion.
When we pictures our wedding day, we picture a happily married couple, ready to spend their lives together. The image that does not come to mind is the bride leaving her groom at the altar.
In the 1999 film, Runaway Bride, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is engaged for the 4th time. Having dumped her previous fiancés on the day they were supposed to say “I do”, she is now engaged to local high school coach Bob Kelly (Chris Meloni). Ike Graham (Richard Gere) is a reporter from New York who has heard about this supposed “runaway bride” from a colleague. Smelling a potential story, Ike decides to visit the small town in Maryland that Maggie calls home.
Using charm and writers intuition, Ike is able to get the scoop on his latest subject before she can convince her friends and family to keep their mouths shut. Along the way, Ike falls for Maggie and she begins to develop feelings for him. The impending question is, will she go through with the wedding and if she does not, how does Ike play a role in her 4th avoidance of the big day?
As romantic comedies go, this movie is pretty standard. But what makes it stand out is the re-pairing of Gere and Roberts. Almost a decade after Pretty Woman was released, it is their chemistry and on screen compatibility that slightly elevates it above others in the genre.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
For two centuries, writers have tried to capture the magic in Jane Austen‘s novels. She is one of those authors whose writing seems easy to replicate. But, upon further inspection, the discovery often is that it is much more difficult than it seems to be.
Yesterday, the trailer for Modern Persuasionwas released. It is basically the modern rom-com version of Persuasion. Playing the 21st century Anne Elliott and Captain Frederick Wentworth are Alicia Witt and Shane McRae.
I’m willing to give this movie a shot. However, two things immediately come to mind. The first is that the title feels incredibly lazy. It’s as if it was the working title for the first draft of the screenplay that the writers didn’t bother changing. It is possible to create a modern Jane Austen adaptation and be creative with the title.
The second is that based strictly on the trailer, it feels like the standard romantic comedy. Granted, the trailer is not the move in its entirety. But, the only initial connection so far that the film is based on an Austen novel is the mention of the Laconia (scroll down to the bottom of the page in the link for the reference).
Only time will tell if the film is a success or a failure. Either way, it will be a point of contention for the Janeite community for years to come.
From the time we are very young, we are told that we must always tell the truth. But the truth is sometimes hard to hear.
Back in 2009, The Invention of Lying hit theaters. The movie told the story of Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), a writer whose is about to lose his job. Living in a world in which lies don’t exist, everything changes when tells his first fib. Soon he has everything he has ever wanted, except for the love of his longtime crush, Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner).
If I was being generous, I would give this movie an A for effort. It genuinely tries to entertain the audience. But the reality is that it is bad. The problem is that it relies too heavily on the clichés of the romantic comedy genre. It’s one thing to use the clichés of any genre. But it is another thing to use them as a crutch and not as a narrative skeleton to build up the story and characters.
There are romantic comedies and then there are romantic comedies. The first type of romantic comedy is semi-memorable, but when it comes down to it, the audience does not think of the film after they have the left the theater. The second second type of romantic comedy has legs long after the film has left the theater. It remains a favorite of audiences and critics and is celebrated as a hallmark of the genre.
When Harry Met Sallyis one of these films. This month is the 30th anniversary of the film’s release.
Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) meet just after they both graduate from the University of Chicago. She offers him a ride from Chicago to New York. They become friends, but come together and drift apart as life changes. After a series of failed relationships on both their parts, Harry and Sally reconnect. The question that defines their relationship is as follows: can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way?
Directed Rob Reiner, this film is an out and out classics. It has all of the hallmarks of the romantic comedy genre without stretching the patience of the audience. Ryan and Crystal have amazing chemistry and just work as the friends who might or might be something more.
It has one of the iconic scenes and one of the most iconic lines in movie history set in one of the best restaurants in New York City, the 2nd Ave Deli.