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Romantic comedy (portmanteaus: romedy,romcom, rom-com or lovecome) is a subgenre of comedy and slice-of-life fiction, focusing on lighthearted, humorous plot lines centered on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles.One dictionary definition is "a funny movie, play, or television program about a love story that ends happily". Another definition suggests that its "primary distinguishing feature is a love plot in which two sympathetic and well-matched lovers are united or reconciled".
Romantic comedy films are a certain genre of comedy films as well as of romance films, and may also have elements of screwball comedies. However, a romantic comedy is classified as a film with two genres, not a single new genre.Some television series can also be classified as romantic comedies.
In a typical romantic comedy the two lovers tend to be young, likeable, and seemingly meant for each other, yet they are kept apart by some complicating circumstance (e.g., class differences, parental interference, a previous girlfriend or boyfriend) until, surmounting all obstacles, they are finally reunited. A fairy-tale-style happy ending is a typical feature.
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The basic plot of a romantic comedy is that two characters meet, part ways due to an argument or other obstacle, then ultimately realize their love for one another and reunite. Sometimes the two leads meet and become involved initially, then must confront challenges to their union. Sometimes they are hesitant to become romantically involved because they believe that they do not like each other, because one of them already has a partner, or because of social pressures. However, the screenwriters leave clues that suggest that the characters are, in fact, attracted to each other and that they would be a good love match. The protagonists often separate or seek time apart to sort out their feelings or deal with the external obstacles to their being together, only to later come back together.
While the two protagonists are separated, one or both of them usually realizes that they love the other person. Then, one party makes some extravagant effort (sometimes called a grand gesture) to find the other person and declare their love. This is not always the case as sometimes there is an astonishing coincidental encounter where the two meet again. Or one plans a sweet romantic gesture to show that they still care. Then, perhaps with some comic friction or awkwardness, they declare their love for each other and the film ends on a happy note. Even though it is implied that they live a happily ever after, it does not always state what that happy ending will be. The couple does not necessarily get married, or even live together for it to be a "happily ever after". The ending of a romantic comedy is meant to affirm the primary importance of the love relationship in its protagonists' lives, even if they physically separate in the end (e.g. Shakespeare in Love , Roman Holiday ).Most of the time the ending gives the audience a sense that if it is true love, it will always prevail no matter what is thrown in the way.
There are many variations on this basic plot line. Sometimes, instead of the two lead characters ending up in each other's arms, another love match will be made between one of the principal characters and a secondary character (e.g., My Best Friend's Wedding and My Super Ex-Girlfriend ). Alternatively, the film may be a rumination on the impossibility of love, as in Woody Allen's film Annie Hall. The basic format of a romantic comedy film can be found in much earlier sources, such as Shakespeare plays like Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream .
Some comedy films, such as Knocked Up , combine themes of romantic comedies and stoner comedies, creating a new subgenre that can be more appealing to men, as it already may be to women. Often known as "bromance", such films usually use sexual elements which bring the two characters together. Films in this genre include American Pie 2 and even Wedding Crashers . Having sexual elements in the movie is starting to become more popular in romantic comedy movies. In almost all of Nicholas Spark's movies there is some type of sexual scene even though these movies are aimed more towards women. They can be considered to be aimed more towards women because of the hopeless romantic love scenes that are usually present in his works.
The convention underlying a romance book or film is there is two people, normally male and a female, who fall in love with each other. They have a good situation going on for a while, but then the couple finds a major obstacle in their way, which usually starts to pull them apart or makes one of them leave. Before they can overcome this obstacle, one (or both) realizes that they are perfect for each other and proclaims their love for the other. The films usually end with the couple either getting married, engaged, or giving some indication that they live "happily ever after".
Over the years, romantic comedies have slowly been becoming more popular to both males and females. They have begun to spread out of their conventional and traditional structure into other territory. This territory explores more subgenres and more complex topics. These films still follow the typical plot of "a light and humorous movie, play, etc., whose central plot is a happy love story"but with more complexity. These are a few ways romantic comedies are adding more subtlety and complexity into the genre. Two ways they are adding to the complexity are through the general obstacles that come between the couple and the general morals that the characters feel throughout the entire film.
Some romantic comedies have adopted extreme or strange circumstances for the main characters, as in Warm Bodies where the protagonist is a zombie who falls in love with a human girl after eating her boyfriend. The effect of their love towards each other is that it starts spreading to the other zombies and even starts to cure them. With the zombie cure, the two main characters can now be together since they don't have that barrier between them anymore.Another strange set of circumstances is in Zack and Miri Make a Porno where the two protagonists are building a relationship while trying to make a porno together. Both these films take the typical story arc and then add strange circumstances to add originality.
Other romantic comedies flip the standard conventions of the romantic comedy genre. In films like 500 Days of Summer , the two main interests do not end up together, leaving the protagonist somewhat distraught. Other films like Adam have the two main interests end up separated but still content and pursuing other goals and love interests.
Some romantic comedies use reversal of gender roles to add comedic effect.These films contain characters who possess qualities that diverge from the gender role that society has imposed upon them, as seen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall in which the male protagonist is especially in touch with his emotions, and Made of Honor in which the female bridesmaids are shown in a negative and somewhat masculine light in order to advance the likability of the male lead.
Other remakes of romantic comedies involve similar elements, but explore more adult themes such as marriage, responsibility, or even disability. Two films by Judd Apatow, This Is 40 and Knocked Up , deal with these issues. This Is 40 chronicles the mid-life crisis of a couple entering their 40s, and Knocked Up addresses unintended pregnancy and the ensuing assuming of responsibility. Silver Linings Playbook deals with mental illness and the courage to start a new relationship.
All of these go against the stereotype of what romantic comedy has become as a genre. Yet the genre of romantic comedy is simply a structure, and all of these elements do not negate the fact that these films are still romantic comedies.
One of the conventions of romantic comedy films is the entertainment factor in a contrived encounter of two potential romantic partners in unusual or comic circumstances, which film critics such as Roger Ebertor the Associated Press' Christy Lemire have called a "meet-cute" situation. During a "meet-cute", scriptwriters often create a humorous sense of awkwardness between the two potential partners by depicting an initial clash of personalities or beliefs, an embarrassing situation, or by introducing a comical misunderstanding or mistaken identity situation. Sometimes the term is used without a hyphen (a "meet cute"), or as a verb ("to meet cute").
Roger Ebert describes the "concept of a Meet Cute" as "when boy meets girl in a cute way." As an example, he cites "The Meet Cute in Lost and Found [which] has Jackson and Segal running their cars into each other in Switzerland. Once recovered, they Meet Cute again when they run into each other while on skis. Eventually,... they fall in love."
In many romantic comedies, the potential couple comprises polar opposites, two people of different temperaments, situations, social statuses, or all three ( It Happened One Night ), who would not meet or talk under normal circumstances, and the meet cute's contrived situation provides the opportunity for these two people to meet.
Certain movies are entirely driven by the meet-cute situation, and contrived circumstances throw the couple together for much of the screenplay. However, movies in which the contrived situation is the main feature, such as Some Like It Hot , rather than the romance being the main feature, are not considered "meet-cutes".
The use of the meet-cute is less marked in television series and novels, because these formats have more time to establish and develop romantic relationships. In situation comedies, relationships are static and meet-cute is not necessary, though flashbacks may recall one ( The Dick Van Dyke Show , Mad About You ) and lighter fare may require contrived romantic meetings.
The heyday of "meet cute" in films was during the Great Depression in the 1930s; screwball comedy films made a heavy use of contrived romantic "meet cutes", perhaps because the more rigid class consciousness and class divisions of this period made cross-social class romances into tantalizing fantasies.
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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms defines romantic comedy as "a general term for comedies that deal mainly with the follies and misunderstandings of young lovers, in a light‐hearted and happily concluded manner which usually avoids serious satire". This reference states that the "best‐known examples are Shakespeare's comedies of the late 1590s, A Midsummer Night's Dream , Twelfth Night , and As You Like It being the most purely romantic, while Much Ado About Nothing approaches the comedy of manners and The Merchant of Venice is closer to tragicomedy."
Comedies since ancient Greece have often incorporated sexual or social elements.
It was not until the creation of romantic love in the western European medieval period, though, that "romance" came to refer to "romantic love" situations, rather than the heroic adventures of medieval Romance. These adventures, however, often revolved about a knight's feats on behalf of a lady, and so the modern themes of love were quickly woven into them, as in Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart .
Shakespearean comedy and Restoration comedy remain influential. The creation of huge economic social strata in the Gilded Age [ citation needed ], combined with the heightened openness about sex after the Victorian era [ citation needed ] and the celebration of Sigmund Freud's theories, and the birth of the film industry in the early twentieth century, gave birth to the screwball comedy.[ citation needed ] As class consciousness declined and World War II unified various social orders, the savage screwball comedies of the twenties and thirties, proceeding through Rock Hudson–Doris Day-style comedies, gave way to more innocuous comedies.[ citation needed ] In the 1970s What's Up, Doc? was a success, although the film follows the conventions of the screwball comedy, as its tagline confirms: "A Screwball Comedy. Remember them?". The more sexually charged When Harry Met Sally had a successful box office run in 1989, paving the way for a rebirth for the Hollywood romantic comedy in the mid-1990s.
The French film industry went in a completely different direction, with less inhibitions about sex.[ citation needed ] Virginia Woolf, tired of stories that ended in 'happily ever after' at the beginning of a serious relationship, called Middlemarch by George Eliot, with its portrayal of a difficult marriage, "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people."
With the increase of romantic comedy movies, there has been an apparent change in the way society views romance. Researchersare asking whether the romances projected in romantic comedies are preventing true love in real life. The increase in use of technology has also led the society to spend a great amount of time engaging in mediated reality and less time with each other. Even though researchers have only started to explore the impact of romantic comedy films on human romance, the few studies conducted have already shown correlation between romantic comedies and the love delusion. Romantic comedies are very popular. They depict relationships that some scholars think affect how people view relationships outside of this virtual world.
In the past, love has not always been the real reason for people coming together. In some cultures,arranged marriages were common to adhere to and propagate caste systems or to join kingdoms. Today, love is the root of all romance, and it is over-emphasized through these films. It tells viewers that love conquers all and will ultimately bring a never-ending happiness that is rarely affected by any conflict. When people do not experience the romance portrayed in these movies, they often wonder what they are doing wrong. Although people should be able to tell between an overly romanticized love and realistic love, they are often caught up in constantly trying to echo the stories they see on screen. While most know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some perceptions of love are heavily influenced by media portrayals.
A study was conducted at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh to understand this phenomenon. They studied 40 top box-office films released between 1995 and 2005 to establish common themes. Then they asked hundreds of people to complete a questionnaire to describe their beliefs and expectations in romantic relationships. Researchers found that people who enjoyed movies such as You’ve Got Mail, The Wedding Planner, and While You Were Sleeping often failed to communicate with their partners effectively. They also believe that if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know your needs without you telling them. Although this study is just one of a handful, it shows a correlation of how people's expectations are distorted through watching romantic comedies.
A comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humor. These films are designed to make the audience laugh through amusement and most often work by exaggerating characteristics for humorous effect. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending. One of the oldest genres in film – and derived from the classical comedy in theatre –, some of the very first silent movies were comedies, as slapstick comedy often relies on visual depictions, without requiring sound. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films took another swing, as laughter could result from burlesque situations but also dialogue.
Screwball comedy is a subgenre of the romantic comedy genre that became popular during the Great Depression, originating in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s. It is widely known for satirizing the traditional love story. Many secondary characteristics of this genre are similar to film noir, but it distinguishes itself for being characterized by a female that dominates the relationship with the male central character, whose masculinity is challenged. The two engage in a humorous battle of the sexes, which was a new theme for Hollywood and audiences at the time. What sets the screwball comedy apart from the generic romantic comedy is that "screwball comedy puts its emphasis on a funny spoofing of love, while the more traditional romantic ultimately accents love." Other elements of the screwball comedy include fast-paced, overlapping repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, physical battle of the sexes, disguise and masquerade, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage. Screwball comedies often depict social classes in conflict, as in It Happened One Night (1934) and My Man Godfrey (1936). Some comic plays are also described as screwball comedies.
Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and written by John Patrick Shanley. It is about a widowed, 37-year-old, Italian-American woman who falls in love with her fiancé's estranged, hot-tempered younger brother.
A love triangle is usually a romantic relationship involving three or more people. While it can refer to two people independently romantically linked with a third, it usually implies that each of the three people has some kind of relationship to the other two. The 1994 book Beliefs, Reasoning, and Decision Making states, "Although the romantic love triangle is formally identical to the friendship triad, as many have noted their actual implications are quite different....Romantic love is typically viewed as an exclusive relationship, whereas friendship is not." Statistics suggest that, in Western society, "willingly or not, most adults have been involved in a love triangle".
Although the genre is very old, the romance novel or romantic novel discussed in this article is the mass-market version. Novels of this type of genre fiction place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
A magical girlfriend, exotic girlfriend, supernatural lover, monster girlfriend, or nonhuman woman, is a female stock character often associated with romantic comedy anime and manga series, and is sometimes considered a genre of its own, or as the leading lady of the "fantastic romance" genre, which combines the fantasy and romance genres.
Harem is a subgenre of Japanese light novels, manga, anime, and video games focused on polygynous/polyandrous relationships, where a protagonist is surrounded by three or more love interests or sexual partners. A male-heterosexual or yuri harem series is informally referred to as a female harem or seraglios, while a female-heterosexual or yaoi harem series is informally referred to as a male harem, reverse harem, or gyaku hāremu (逆ハーレム).
Romance films or romance movies are romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theaters and on TV that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate romantic involvement of the main characters and the journey that their love takes them through dating, courtship or marriage. Romance films make the romantic love story or the search for strong and pure love and romance the main plot focus. Occasionally, romance lovers face obstacles such as finances, physical illness, various forms of discrimination, psychological restraints or family that threaten to break their union of love. As in all quite strong, deep, and close romantic relationships, tensions of day-to-day life, temptations, and differences in compatibility enter into the plots of romantic films.
The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy is a 2000 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Greg Berlanti. It follows the lives of a group of gay friends in West Hollywood, centered on a restaurant owned by the fatherly Jack and the softball team he sponsors. The friends rely on each other for friendship and support as they search for love, deal with loss, and discover themselves.
A Lot Like Love is a 2005 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nigel Cole and starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. The screenplay by Colin Patrick Lynch focuses on two individuals whose relationship slowly evolves from lust to friendship to romance over the course of seven years.
In film and television, a meet cute is a scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or "cute" circumstances.
Something New is a 2006 American romantic comedy drama film directed by Sanaa Hamri. The screenplay by Kriss Turner focuses on interracial relationships and traditional African American family values and social customs.
Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a national non-profit genre writers association. It provides networking and support to individuals seriously pursuing a career in romance fiction and supports top authors such as Nora Roberts and Judith McNaught.
Lost and Found is a 1979 film co-written and directed by Melvin Frank and starring George Segal and Glenda Jackson.
500 Days of Summer is a 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film by first-time director Marc Webb from a screenplay written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and produced by Mark Waters. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, and employs a nonlinear narrative structure, with the story based upon its male protagonist and his memories of a failed relationship.
Last Chance Harvey is a 2008 British-American romantic drama film written and directed by Joel Hopkins. The screenplay focuses on two lonely people who tentatively forge a relationship over the course of three days. Dustin Hoffman plays an American composer who loses his job and his position of father of the bride in the course of a single day overseas while Emma Thompson plays an airport worker with a jaundiced view of relationships.
A Romantic thriller or a romance thriller is a narrative that involves romance and thriller. Etymology of the word thrill comes from English root meaning “to pierce”. A thrill is a sharp sensation.
The woman's film is a film genre which includes women-centered narratives, female protagonists and is designed to appeal to a female audience. Woman's films usually portray "women's concerns" such as problems revolving around domestic life, the family, motherhood, self-sacrifice, and romance. These films were produced from the silent era through the 1950s and early 1960s, but were most popular in the 1930s and 1940s, reaching their zenith during World War II. Although Hollywood continued to make films characterized by some of the elements of the traditional woman's film in the second half of the 20th century, the term itself disappeared in the 1960s. The work of directors George Cukor, Douglas Sirk, Max Ophüls, and Josef von Sternberg has been associated with the woman's film genre. Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Barbara Stanwyck were some of the genre's most prolific stars.
A bromantic comedy is a comedy film genre that takes the formula of the typical "romantic comedy" but focuses on close male friendships.
She has a Meet-Cute (three, actually) with Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy)