Monday, August 5, 2013

Where, oh, where has the romantic comedy gone?

I took the day off yesterday, only changing out of my nightgown to feed the horses. When I returned from the barn, I put my nightie back on and spent the day watching movies with Mikey and Budley. We watched Saratoga Trunk, You've Got Mail, and Roxanne.
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 Why has it been replaced by inane, slapstick comedies with no romance whatsoever, and very little intelligence or wit?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,  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. *:x lovestruck
I'm sure he could sell another movie like that one, and I hope he does it. 


  1. Chocolat--wow! Yeah, you're right romantic comedies aren't what they used to be. I miss the snappy dialogue between the two leads and watching their romance blossom. How sad that crude humor and drunken stupidity have replaced a charming romantic comedy. How do we get those back?

  2. And see I love reading romance but when it comes to movies, yeah I don't watch current movies much. I'm actually a fan of more classic movies, from the black and white era and such. I rewatched Some Like It Hot the other day and I really do miss the romance and comedy from decades past.

  3. How did I not know Saratoga Trunk existed? I have to watch it now. I've loved Gary Cooper since I was 13 and that's been a while. Those EYES. sigh.

    I loved Bridget Jones' Diary but that was probably the most recent romcom I've enjoyed. I hate crap like Fool's Gold where it's neither romantic nor funny (I mention it because it's the last romcom I dragged my husband to, not because it was so egregious).

  4. Oh, Lora. YOU MUST SEE SARATOGA TRUNK!!!!! Order it today. For any Gary Cooper fan, it is an absolute MUST!

    I'd forgotten about Bridget Jones's Diary, but it was made in 2001--pretty close to that cut-off point I mentioned. Colin Firth makes the cut in any genre!

    Crude and drunken sums it up, Nan. Grrr....

    If you like the black and white era, Saratoga Trunk is a must for you too, Ana! Truly a classic!

  5. I haven't seen Saratoga Trunk but love all the other movies you listed. When I'm down I always go to Rom Com for a pick-me-up. I also like dark comedies--"Wonder Boys" is one of my all-time favorite "that's so wrong, but it's hilarious" movies. I'll be looking for Saratoga Trunk!