I promise I haven’t abandoned you, friends! Let me explain briefly what’s happening and why I’ve been neglectful.
But first, an amendment to the list. I happened to review THIS MEANS WAR for Philadelphia City Paper. It was (to put it mildly) a total stinker that featured most of Hollywood’s worst romantic comedy cliches. Reese Witherspoon plays a girl who, despite being gorgeous as hell, works too hard to find love. Chris Pine is a manchild who needs a woman to finally grow up. And, picking up on a common screwball comedy thread (A Philadelphia Story uses this to great effect—more on that coming), Tom Hardy stars as a divorcee whose appalling sexual interludes are okay because, really, he’s sensitive deep down. And he has a kid, so how bad can he be?
I mention that because it reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place. Romantic comedies as a genre have become such watered down, predictable fare. They weren’t always this way, though, and it’s interesting to trace that development. Personally, I blame the neoconservative Ephron fare of the ’80s and ’90s, but that’s just me.