Are Romantic Comedies Back?

If you’ve read my books, you might guess that I’m a fan of romantic comedy. A good chunk of Kiss and Spell (book 7 in the Enchanted, Inc. series) was designed as a spoof of romantic comedy movie tropes. And if you’ve followed my blogging over the years, you may have seen a rant or two about romantic comedy movies or lack thereof recently.

Well, apparently there’s been a resurgence. At least, Crazy Rich Asians has ruled the box office for a few weeks, and it seems that Netflix has been making some romantic comedies that are proving popular. Because in journalism, a couple of things mean it’s A Trend, there are now articles like this one about how romantic comedies are back.

I’m not quite willing to hold out hope for that, but this article does at least seem to get what the problems are. That is, they agree with my contention that the main problem with all those relatively recent movies that flopped and seemingly killed the genre was that the people making those movies had no respect for the genre or the audience. They seemed to think they could just slap something together, cast attractive people, have a good romantic montage to a pop song, and those silly idiots would eat it up. Or, as one of the people interviewed in the article put it:

They followed the formula of a rom-com on a surface level — aspirational jobs, fancy clothes, beautiful people — but they were made with a palpable contempt for both their characters and the people who enjoy watching romantic comedies. These movies didn’t care about their characters or why they should fall in love; they were just putting them through the motions. And watching them didn’t feel escapist and joyous and fun. It felt gross and slimy.

Yep, that’s exactly how I felt.

Then there was the problem that so often happens with things women enjoy. They had to try to make it something men would like, and then we got all the gross-out movies. I’m sorry, but I don’t really want bathroom humor and lots of vomiting in my romantic comedies, and the fratboy manchild is not my romantic ideal.

I’ve been sort of getting my fix via Hallmark Christmas movies, which didn’t quite scratch the itch, but at least the characters tended to act like adults and there were some lovely moments. I’ve found a few things on Amazon Prime that work. But I really miss going to the theater and spending an afternoon laughing and crying while I watch people fall in love against a pretty background.

And if they’re looking for something that would make a nice romantic comedy movie with all the tropes but with some twists, the Enchanted, Inc. series isn’t under option at the moment. It was optioned by a major studio and a script was even written, but they then let the option lapse. Maybe the time is right again.

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