The Romantic Comedy, or Rom-Com, is a chick flick staple – don’t try and fight it.  While movies like Knocked Up, Definitely, Maybe, and even Mel Gibson’s What Women Want have had success taking the guy’s point of view, there’s little danger of the rom-com becoming male territory.  Women love them because they have almost no basis in reality, and always have happy endings[1] –  their idealized view of the world is a pleasant contrast to modern divorce statistics.  Though we inevitably know what will happen, and though we are smart enough to realize the situations presented on screen are about as likely as the Cubs winning the World Series, we still can’t wait to go along for the ride.  Why?  Because the rom-com provides hope.  There’s always the chance for romance.

Knowing your rom-coms can improve your success statistics with a number of women.  Regardless of how you feel about public displays of affection, chances are your girlfriend harbors secret dreams of being swept off her feet.  It’s genetic – it’s hormonal.  That’s not to say this approach works on all women, but a strategically placed Colin Firth quote has a good shot at getting your foot in the door.

To be truly convincing, familiarize yourself with the Meg Ryan Trifecta: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.  Whatever you do, don’t confuse Billy Crystal for Tom Hanks – it’s the surest way for a chick to spot a cheat.

These three films embody the main rom-com plotlines: 1) Boy Meets Girl, Boy and Girl Become Friends, Boy and Girl Eventually Get it On, 2) Boy and Girl Meet Only Once, Boy and Girl Are Then Destined to Get it On, and 3) Boy and Girl Initially Hate Each Other, but Get Over It and Get it On.  Almost all of their fellow cinematic masterpieces fall into one of the above categories.

There are more terrible romantic comedies than any other subgenre of chick flick. They make good money regardless of plot, so the studios keep churning them out, but the true aficionado is well aware of the difference between the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn disaster The Break-Up and a classic that mothers pass down to their daughters like The Princess Bride. Rom-coms are acceptable for use in casual conversation or mild flirtation, as long as you’re prepared for the consequences.

[1] With the possible exception of My Best Friend’s Wedding.

The Princess Bride (1987)


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