Is There Any Way To Save The Romantic Comedy?


Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon brings our attention to this poster for The Ugly Truth, noting that the poster is further proof of her theory that “romantic comedies are backsliding into record lows of reactionary bullshit.”

The poster, Marcotte writes, is “the classic modern attempt to mollify women about vicious gender stereotyping by phony flattery through insulting men—-men are such dogs, amiriteladeez?!” The string of craptacular romantic comedies to prove this point over the past few years is hard to deny; for some reason, a genre that once thrived on clever lines and honest depictions of the awkwardness and excitement of romance has been boiled down to a simple formula: men are sex-crazed pigs and women have to straighten them out to win their hearts.

Marcotte also points out that the films seem to thrive on the idea that women are wedding obsessed, and that sex is just something that seems to be an obligation in order for them to get the ceremony/dress/life of their dreams. And even the most “professional” women fall into this category: “Women are obsessed with irrational things like weddings and getting flowers, and they lose their minds over this. (Men are compelled by their supposed out of this world horniness, but rarely are they depicted as losing control of themselves to the point where they lose their dignity.) This is why men have the upper hand, because women are too crazy to hang onto it,” Marcotte writes, “It’s certainly not that this is a male-dominated society, no siree, and to make that abundantly clear, female rom com characters now usually have a lot of professional power.”

A reader sent in a trailer of an upcoming Matthew McConaughey film, The Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, that she seemed “the biggest pile of sexist crap” she’s ever seen. In the clip, McConaughey and co-star Jennifer Garner hit on several of Marcotte’s points: McConaughey, the sexist, obnoxious horndog, goes through life treating women like objects that he can collect, though his “true love”, Jennifer Garner, seems to have a pull over him, as she’s the one who really knows how to get to his heart, even though she shouldn’t bother, because the dude is clearly an ass.

The trailer sums up this line of Marcotte’s perfectly: "The nasty dog who breaks women’s hearts for fun will eventually realize he loves this one, and she’ll get with him, despite the fact that he gave her plenty of upfront warning that he doesn’t respect women. But he does now, because she bowled him over that much. It’s a fantasy for women who don’t feel like they get much respect in their own lives."

So how can Hollywood fix the romantic comedy? Is it even worth fixing at this point?

Romantic Comedies Slipping Into Caveman Territory [Pandagon]

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