Rom-coms are a funny genre. Sometimes they can be really good, but more often than not they end up being cheesy and cliché....bordering on nauseating. I've seen some great rom-coms but I've seen a lot of terrible ones. I did a bit of a "trailer-scan" this evening....of rom-coms....that are to be released in the next few months. The three I've selected pretty much rate from potential-for-disaster, to "okay but something was missing", to a very good-achieved-warm-fuzzy-feeling-and-massive-smile-on-face.
|Bill Nighy was the perfect loose-canon for this brilliant love-fest|
|Winona & Ethan made a great bohemian couple|
I think there is a certain formula that determines a successful rom-com (okay - romantic comedy for you novices). It obviously involves the right couple - you need two key actors who spark that perfect chemistry, where you can actually feel those warm-fuzzy-butterflies in your tummy when they meet and fall in love (Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke in the 90's classic Reality Bites rings a bell). It also involves a witty sense of humour, which is quick and not too dirty - something that isn't predictable (think Hugh Grant's flat mate posing in his jocks at the front doorstep to a flurry of journalists and paparazzi in Notting Hill). I think to cap off that formula you need the right setting and the right storyline - a drama or conflict that isn't overly out there, but is relate-able, something where you could see yourself in. A love-triangle that is not entirely predictable often is good to "mix things up". With all the predictable elements you need a balance of those that are unpredictable. It keeps things cool and "un-cliché". Rom-coms that I think have this formula and were thus successful (and so they became enjoyable to watch more than once without any sort of cringe-effect) were Love Actually, The Holiday, Bridget Jones Diary and The Break-Up. Rom-coms that were a massive miss because they were either too predictable or had actors that had no chemistry and an overall bad script were such disasters as, The Rebound, Sex and Death 101 and Heartbreakers.
|Jake and his Anne|
So when I saw the trailer for Love and Other Drugs, I instantly got excited. Who hasn't wanted to see a film with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in it - not to mention, those two playing romantic interests (again)?! It was one of those "finally!!!!-they are working together on something warm and fuzzy" feelings as opposed to that "depressing yet beautifully tragic" atmosphere (Broke Back Mountain, in which Jake was too busy pining over our beloved Heath to be remotely interested in his stunning Texan wife Anne). This film has potential to be very good. In the trailer it is clear that the two protagonists have a strong chemistry and that they gel together quite well, to the point where you could most certainly believe in real life that they were an item. It seems to have all the makings for a good rom-com: chemistry - tick; humour - tick; relatable drama - tick; predictability....hmmmm...........dash?! Where it has potential to fall short is really in the fault of the trailer itself. The trailer basically revealed a huge chunk of what the story is about and also the potential outcome of the main conflict (guess what you would think happen if a womanising big-shot gets together with a smart but very honest and sexy down-to-earth woman?!-it has heart break written all over it) What audiences will be hoping for, is that what we saw in the 2 1/2 minutes of "teaser" will not be an "executive summary" of the entire film. Let us hope and hope....as I truly do look forward to seeing a very gorgeous Jake woo a very stunning Anne.
....so then follows The Dilemma, on the bottom of that scale.....sliding ever slowly down the drain.....
|Hopefully we don't look this clueless by the end of the film....?!|
...well I really should give it a bit more credit....it has some very funny...very very funny actors in it - not to mention a very good conflict for the main body of the story. It centres around a best friend discovering that his mate's wife is cheating on him! So therein lies the dilemma!!! To tell or not to tell. Who are the players? Vince Vaughn - the discoverer of the hush hush secret, Winona Ryder - the cheating wife and Kevin Jones - the unsuspecting husband! I love Vince - he cracks me up every time. The only sad trend is the fact that the more Vince's waist expands, the more "unfunny" his rom-coms have become. The Break-up was his pinnacle....followed by Couples Retreat which dragged on a fair bit and Four Holidays which was so tediously predictable I wanted to scratch my eyes out. Where I see doom and gloom for this jovial affair is the fact that it has great potential to be filled with unwitty and re-used jokes. Have we seen the entirety of Vince's "funniness"???-because it is looking to be that way....
|Reece looks like she doesn't know.......|
The film that sits in between the two is How do you know. The title is nothing special and in all honesty I had judged the title immediately and felt that yep...this one was going to be another crappy pappy failure of a rom-com. How wrong was I? I thought I'd be enduring the trailer, when in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The film seems to advertise that it will be questioning the all important question of - how do you know if you are in love? It has Reece Witherspoon as the centre of the love triangle with Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd vying for her attention. It looks smart, fun and with Reece's cute girl-next-door qualities, has potential to be very enjoyable. Where it may fall short is the ending - the ending is so important. In fact....the conclusion to a film dictates whether or not I like the film as a whole - and this is not just exclusively talking about rom-coms. I am referring to all genres of film. It's no good having a fantastic story when the ending is lacklustre or abrupt. You want a resolution or at least some sort of consolidation of the two hours you've endured (or 90 minutes). Rom-coms seem to rely on the ending for the overall feel-good intent. So if the ending does not deliver, it truly disappoints. It's like being presented with a mouth-watering scrumptious looking cake only to find that once you bite into it, the pleasure is no where near comparative to the image.
So which rom-com will trump the others? Will it be the love-triangle centred around Reece? Or the young, vibrant and passionate affair between Jake and his Anne? ....or will Vince surprise me (after a very long absence) and present something that is truly gut-wrenchingly hilarious and not naff????
We will have to wait and see.....