I remember watching Saratoga Trunk (1945), a Gary Cooper/Ingrid Bergman classic, as a kid. If you haven't seen it, you need to. For a movie that wasn't billed as a comedy, it's got some of the best lines I've ever heard. Ingrid Bergman is stunning, and Gary Cooper is, well...Gary Cooper.
Not wanting to spoil the mood, we watched You've Got Mail (1998) after that. During the movie, we questioned why we hadn't seen Meg Ryan in any movies recently. Mike looked it up on the Internet, and discovered that her career has suffered from the death of the romantic comedy, which was the style of film that comprises the bulk of her work.
I think that's rather sad, but it is proven by the fact that of the romantic comedies I own and enjoy, all of them were made in the year 2000 or earlier, and most were made in the 1980s. I'm sure a few have been made since then but they've been few and far between.
What happened to the romantic comedy? Why has it been replaced by inane, slapstick comedies with no romance whatsoever, and very little intelligence or wit?
I wish I knew.
Having a comedian in a leading role didn't ruin Steve Martin's chances with Darryl Hannah in Roxanne(1987)--even with an incredibly over-sized nose. Perhaps it's because the comedians today aren't what you'd call leading man material--at least, not in the romantic sense.
On the other hand, since the big box office money is in the teen market, the target audience of most filmmakers is not women over thirty. That isn't to say that women over thirty never go to the movies, but if they're like me, the only movies they get to see are animated family films and action/adventure flicks. I know that because even at the age of fifty-seven, I'm still not the one who gets to pick the movie on a night out.
Therefore, we have to get our romance from books. According to Ask.com, Romance fiction buyers span all age ranges but the largest segment is [women]between 30 and 44 years old. This is a wonderful statistic for those of us who write romance, but every once in a while, I'd like to go out to see a new romantic movie that is actually worth watching. The last one I can recall that I liked well enough to buy a copy of was Chocolat, which--you guessed it--was released in the year 2000.
Sad, but true...
Chocolat isn't technically a comedy, but it did contain some humor, and Johnny Depp is still a hottie.
I'm sure he could sell another movie like that one, and I hope he does it.