Romantic Comedy malaise

I don't normally put my prescriptive, evaluative hat on, but since A. O. Scott laments the sad state of romantic comedies today, let me say that I'm inclined to agree with him - and I say this as someone favorably disposed to the genre. What's more, Scott is asking the quesiton I've been wondering: why has the genre not been able to find an aesthetic verve where other genre films and filmmakers find inspiration in the genre dialectic of variation and repetition? "How did this genre fall so far," he writes, "from one that reliably deployed the talents of the movie industry’s best writers, top directors and biggest stars to a source of lazy commercial fodder?" I don't fully agree with any of his answers but I'm hard pressed to offer my own.

In related inquiry, I wonder why Sex and the City seems to have spawned uninventive ripoffs, where The Sopranos and Six Feet Under got copied by shows highlighting comparable inventiveness as the basis of comparison. Is all does seem tied into gender expectations of art's relation to genre film - whether on the industry's side or the reception side.


Alex said…
While I would agree that most romantic comedies offer little more than using up two hours these days, I'd say the current hope is in indies. I would categorize Garden State, the upcoming Penelope, and maybe Two Nights in Paris as romantic comedies. So yeah, they are the minorities, but maybe indie writers will reinvigorate Hollywood - if they ever get off strike. Until then there's always Joe Versus the Volcano.

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