I can pinpoint the moment when the romantic comedy era officially ended in our household. It had been a bimonthly ritual, usually on a Friday night, that a sister and I would head to the local video store and pick up the latest offering of what is disparagingly referred to as a chick flick. "Runaway Bride" or "The Wedding Planner" or "Save the Last Dance". I always knew I was the more enthusiastic one about this type of movie, but my sister was willing to walk to the store and watch the movie with me, if I was paying. The moment that spelled doom for the companionable watching of this admittedly predictable genre of the movie, was the day we picked out "Little Black Book." The movie itself was forgettable, and I can't recall much of a plot, though it involved Brittany Murphy being angry about her boyfriend's black book of women's phone numbers, but one thing that sticks with me is its incredible suckiness. That and the fact that after watching that movie, my sister would no longer agree to watch any romantic comedies I selected and developed a taste for foreign films. Watching movies alone is not much fun, so I usually went with her counter selections. Since then I have fallen out of the habit of regularly renting movies, though I still do occasionally. I haven't seen "The Holiday" or "Made of Honour", though I did still manage to watch "27 dresses" and "The Devil Wears Prada" with my other sister who also swore off romantic comedies for a time.
So why do I still love romantic comedies?
1. They may be predictable, but you can always count on a happy ending.
2. While some have claimed romantic comedies create unrealistic expectations about real-life relationships, the lack of realism is part of their charm. Who wants escapism to be true to life?
3. The male lead is, with a few exceptions, good-looking, whatever the calibre of his acting.
4. The classic story-line: boy meets girl, boy is marrying other girl, boy and girl fall in love but can't admit it, other girl jilts boy at the altar, boy realizes who he really loves and chases after girl who is leaving town, boy and girl share passionate kiss, roll credits. Whatever the variation on the formula, you have to love the melodrama.
5. The belief in the power of love to overcome all the misunderstandings a two hour plot will allow warms the heart.
6. No matter how many times you have watched the same basic storyline, you still thrill when the two characters who are meant for each other finally ride off into the sunset.
7. The fantasy of love at first sight. For a moment you can believe anything is possible.
8. Romantic comedies usually make you laugh aloud at least once, and might even make you cry.
9. When you watch a romantic comedy, you know what you can expect. You may not be surprised by the film, but you won't be disappointed either (unless it is an exceptionally poorly done film).
10. A romantic comedy transports you to another dimension, where dreams really do come true and every woman has her perfect soul-mate.