No, this is not a scorned-woman, feminist rant about hating men and hating the portrayal of females in ROM-coms (AKA romantic comedies. Keep up with me, here). Instead, I’m going to expose how ridiculous and stupid the Hollywood ROM-com writers are for actually thinking the average American is going to buy their pukey bullshit and enjoy it. I’ve comprised a list of FIVE tired ROM-com clichés that I hate the most. Don’t worry, I used movies as examples to really drive my points home because this blog needs some solid, journalistic evidence.
FYI this is your Spoiler Alert!! (Just kidding on that! I mean, let’s be honest… we all know how it’s going to end from watching the five-second previews). Here goes! Just in time for Valentine’s Day! :
1. Time is a huge factor when it actually isn’t. OK, I want to say that in about 90 percent of ROM-coms, the male or female lead realizes that the other lead character is the one for them when it’s considered “too late” or after they somehow pissed them off. This moment of clarity comes at the most inopportune time ever. Instead of, say, staying for the rest of your own sister’s wedding reception, you decide to dump your nice boyfriend and scour the entire metropolis to find some guy and tell him that you love him. This is someone who lives ACROSS THE HALL from you. I’m talking to you, Ally Darling from What’s Your Number?. Seriously, why can’t you just wait until tomorrow? I don’t know why you decided to RUIN your bridesmaid dress, steal a car and bicycle, break into another wedding reception and interrupt a band from performing. If any woman did that in real life, the guy would think she’s psycho. This is an epic cliché ROM-com FAIL.
2. They’re super-damaged but still considered attractive. OK, Dating 101: hide your baggage at least until date 5… or 50 for Christ’s sake. Yet, in the wonderful world of ROM-coms, baggage makes you you and is somehow OK to expose when you barely know the other person. It isn’t considered to be a huge turn-off or anything. Seriously? Are you ROM-com writers just telling America to ignore all the red flags? This lighthearted movie can easily turn into an episode of Criminal Minds if it were in the real world! Hate to do this to you, Debra Messing, but Kat in The Wedding Date has NO self-esteem and is so desperate it’s cringe-worthy. Who hires (and uses) a male prostitute to go to her sister’s wedding to get some guy from 1,000 years ago jealous? Let’s move on, girlfriend.
Another example of this is Mila Kunis’ character in Friends With Benefits. She’s more emotionally unavailable than you because no one has ever been treated worse by men than her. You need to feel bad for her and sympathize with her because she has hollow, loveless sex to numb her inadequacy issues. Don’t get pissed at me here, I’m not saying this- JT laid this all down real easy in the movie.
3. They’re the wild, extreme opposites of each other. A common, annoying ROM-com cliché is when two people who are POLAR opposites butt heads and then realize that they like the other person. Hello, The Ugly Truth! She’s a hopeless romantic, and he’s a cynical, superficial womanizer. He has dark hair, she’s a blonde. The only thing they have in common is that they’re both painfully written 2-demensional characters. Yet, somehow they’re able to fall in love and live happily ever after in an assumed long-term, committed relationship.
Who could forget this throwback? She’s All That is about a jock who finds the most “unattractive girl” and tries to make her prom queen. Only, she’s not unattractive and he realizes he actually likes her. Could it ever work out between this theatre/art freak and this popular jock? Don’t worry, they end up together.
4. I hate you but I love you… I love hating you. This tired cliché goes with #3 with the whole butting-heads idea but the characters don’t necessarily have to be opposites, they just have to have an assumed abhorrence for each other. Usually it’s for no good reason. A perfect example is 27 Dresses. Jane can’t stand James until they sing Benny and the Jets together at a dive bar and have blackout sex in a car like it’s Prom night. She starts hating him again the next day when she finds out that his boss published an article about how pathetic she is. Don’t worry, James puts a giant band-aid on the situation when he buys her a Blackberry.
Same idea goes for What Happens in Vegas. Jack and Joy are forced to live together and pretend that it’s difficult to be wicked good-looking and live with someone who’s also wicked good-looking for a month or a year or something. Personally, I’d deal with disgusting pubic hair and dirty couches if it meant I could stare at Ashton Kutcher’s perfectly sculpted abs all day. Suck it up, Cameron Diaz. I’m having a hard time trying to feel bad for you.
5. Cocky man-whore meets girl with morals and eventually falls in love. Oh, what a story for the grandkids! You know, this guy sleeps with everybody because of some later-revealed commitment issue (see #2) but then realizes the error of his ways when he falls in love with a woman who finds him revolting and refuses to bang him. OK, I don’t mean to get all philosophical here but #1 people don’t change and #2 other people don’t make people change, people need to want the change on their own. (Has ANYBODY seen the show Intervention before?) In Catch and Release, Gray doesn’t understand why her late-fiance liked Fritz, whom she catches having an awkward quickie in the bathroom of his wake. She thinks he’s a whorish, womanizing douche-bag until they bang and then fall in love.
Hannah in Crazy Stupid Love refuses to hook up with Jacob when he comes on to her pretty hard at a bar. Solid rejection. The plot progresses as Jacob then has meaningless sex with every other woman in the free world before they meet again at the bar. Instead of sleeping together, they talk and joke and stare at Ryan Gosling’s abs all night and then he eventually realizes that she’s the yin to his yang and he doesn’t want to work the streets anymore.
So there’s my list of tired ROM-com clichés! I know there are millions of others I could have included, but these are the worst. Hollywood, let’s start writing better ROM-coms that don’t suck. Think of some new clichés that our kids and grandkids will bitch and blog about, assuming the whole ROM-com genre doesn’t just go away altogether.
Anything to add? Anything you disagree with? Please tell me your thoughts!!