What happened to the romantic comedy genre?

20 Feb

old movie poster boy meets girlThe staple of Hollywood movies was often the romance comedy. This has been part of the entertainment film industry’s method to break open new opportunities to either show off new talent or present another side to an actors CV. The past decade or so has seen a visible decline that others have commented on as well.

“The meet-cute is dead,” agrees Seeking a Friend for the End of the World producer and manager Joy Gorman. “The only ones that have a chance are ones with a very fresh take.” ~ Hollywood Reporter

I have to step in and offer my two cents on this as well. The most obvious reason I see is the financial need to turn out blockbuster movies. A film is considered a dud if it doesn’t make huge returns from the box office.

girl meets boy movie posterMaking films of quality is an expensive proposition and the accountant side of the equation influences what gets made. The big block busters for now seem to revolve around comic book or science fiction and some action/adventure repeats. We see these typically in at least trilogy format. There just doesn’t seem to be those sort of coat tails for romance comedy.

I believe it goes further than this as much of what works in the American cinema doesn’t necessarily work that well for European and Asian markets. Romance Comedy often relies on cultural verbal or visual gags or reference to some current event. These don’t always translate well. Hollywood now looks to foreign markets for more than 50% of the gross.

Cute isn’t all of what it was once considered as refreshing. Now pessimism and snark is in and clever lines with flirty behavior just doesn’t seem to have the sizzle. We’ve gone past innuendo or oblique references. The thing to do is make your lines reach out and deliver punch not warmth or intelligence.

Jimmy Stewart Harvey

Jimmy Stewart in Harvey – comedy

Will the romantic comedy find its way back into the movie house? I’m sure the repeated comic book hero genre will eventually wear out its welcome and the entertainment industry will once again resurrect the genre in order to find a marketable vehicle. It may come in the form of something with a twist such as a homosexual theme or transgender. Things are changing all over, Hollywood moves with the times.

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Posted by on 20/02/2014 in Comedy, Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Popular Culture, Rom-com, Romance, Stories, Writing


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