The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States of America and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.(August 2009)
Romantic comedy (also known as romcom or rom-com) 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.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 united. A fairy-tale-style happy ending is a typical feature.
This section is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.(February 2011)
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 they do not like each other. After all, one of them already has a partner, or because of social pressures. However, the screenwriters leave clues that suggest that the characters are attracted to each other and that they would be a good love match. The characters often split or seek time apart in order to sort out their emotions or deal with external obstacles to their being together, which they eventually overcome.
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 a remarkable coincidental encounter where the two meet again. Alternatively, 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 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 conclusion 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 plotline. 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 .
Over the years, romantic comedies have slowly been becoming more popular to both men and women. 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 do not 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 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.[ citation needed ]
Comedies, rooted in the fertility rites and satyr plays of ancient Greece, have often incorporated sexual or social elements.
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."
It was not until the development of the literary tradition 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. Those adventures traditionally focused on 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 .
The contemporary romantic comedy genre was shaped by 18th-century Restoration comedy and 19th-century romantic melodrama.Restoration comedies were typically comedies of manners that relied on knowledge of the complex social rules of high society, particularly related to navigating the marriage-market, an inherent feature of the plot in many of these plays, such as William Wycherley's The Country Wife . While the melodramas of the Romantic period had little to do with comedy, they were hybrids incorporating elements of domestic and sentimental tragedies, pantomime "with an emphasis on gesture, on the body, and the thrill of the chase," and other genres of expression such as songs and folk tales.
In the 20th century, as Hollywood grew, the romantic comedy in America mirrored other aspects of society in its rapid changes, developing many subgenres through the decades, such as the screwball comedy in response to the censorship of the Hays Code in the 1920s-1930s,the career woman comedy (such as George Stevens' Woman of the Year , starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) post-WWII, and the sex comedy made popular by Rock Hudson and Doris Day in the 1950s-1960s.
In 1972 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."
There have been at least two studies conducted that examined the effect of watching romantic comedies on individuals' perceptions of romance and long-term relationships.Research by Costa Coffee also found that the majority of Brits found that Rom Coms were their‘go to’ when fixing a broken heart, and for finding the confidence to move on to something new.
A comedy film is a category of film which emphasizes on humor. These films are designed to make the audience laugh in amusement. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending. Comedy is one of the oldest genres in film and it is derived from classical comedy in theatre. Some of the earliest silent films were comedies such as slapstick comedy which often relies on visual depictions, such as sight gags and pratfalls, so they can be enjoyed without requiring sound. To provide drama and excitement to silent movies, live music was played in sync with the action on the screen, by pianos, organs, and other instruments. When sound films became more prevalent during the 1920s, comedy films grew in popularity, as laughter could result from both burlesque situations but now also from humorous dialogue.
Screwball comedy is a film subgenre of the romantic comedy genre that became popular during the Great Depression, beginning in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s, that satirizes the traditional love story. It has secondary characteristics similar to film noir, distinguished by a female character who dominates the relationship with the male central character, whose masculinity is challenged, and the two engage in a humorous battle of the sexes.
Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nora Ephron, from a screenplay she wrote with David S. Ward and Jeff Arch. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the film follows a journalist (Ryan) who, despite being newly engaged, becomes enamored with a recently widowed architect (Hanks), when the latter's son calls in to a talk radio program requesting a new partner for his grieving father. In addition to Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, and Rob Reiner, the film features an ensemble supporting cast also consisting of Rosie O'Donnell, Gaby Hoffmann, Victor Garber, Rita Wilson, Barbara Garrick, and Carey Lowell.
A hybrid genre is a literary or film genre that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres. Works in hybrid genres are also referred to as cross-genre, multi-genre, mixed genre, or fusion genre. The Dictionary of Media and Communication describes hybrid genre as "the combination of two or more genres", which may combine elements of more than one genre and/or which may "cut across categories such as fact and fiction". Some such sub-genres have acquired their own specialised names, such as comedy drama, romantic comedy ("rom-com"), horror Western, and docudrama.
A magical girlfriend, exotic girlfriend, monster girlfriend, nonhuman woman, or supernatural lover, 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.
Romance films involve romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theatres or on television that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate romantic involvement of the main characters. Typically their journey through dating, courtship or marriage is featured. These films make the search for romantic love the main plot focus. Occasionally, romance lovers face obstacles such as finances, physical illness, various forms of discrimination, psychological restraints or family resistance. As in all quite strong, deep and close romantic relationships, the tensions of day-to-day life, temptations, and differences in compatibility enter into the plots of romantic films.
The AFI's 100 Years… series was a series of annual lists from 1998 to 2008 by the American Film Institute—typically accompanied by CBS television specials—celebrating the century of American cinema.
The Sure Thing is a 1985 American adventure romantic comedy film written by Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts and directed by Rob Reiner. The film stars John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Viveca Lindfors, and Nicollette Sheridan. The film chronicles the cross-country journey of college students Walter Gibson (Cusack) and Alison Bradbury (Zuniga) as they make their way from New England to Los Angeles, each in an effort to meet their ideal match.
I Love Trouble is a 1994 American romantic comedy/crime film starring Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. It was written and produced by the husband-and-wife team of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer, and directed by Shyer.
In film, television, and literature, 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.
500 Days of Summer is a 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by 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.
Contemporary romance is a subgenre of romance novels, generally set contemporaneously with the time of its writing. The largest of the romance novel subgenres, contemporary romance novels usually reflect the mores of their time. Heroines in the contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those novels written after 1970 usually have, and keep, a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women's fiction has blurred.
Last Chance Harvey is a 2008 American romantic drama film written and directed by Joel Hopkins. The screenplay focuses on two lonely people who tentatively forge a relationship during two days. Dustin Hoffman plays the title character, Harvey Shine, an American television commercial jingles composer who travels to England for his estranged daughter's wedding and promptly loses his job. Emma Thompson plays an airport hospitality worker with a jaundiced view of relationships.
In film and television, drama is a category or genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. The drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular super-genre, macro-genre, or micro-genre, such as soap opera, police crime drama, political drama, legal drama, historical drama, domestic drama, teen drama, and comedy-drama (dramedy). These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject matter, or they combine a drama's otherwise serious tone with elements that encourage a broader range of moods. To these ends, a primary element in a drama is the occurrence of conflict—emotional, social, or otherwise—and its resolution in the course of the storyline.
A romantic thriller is a narrative that involves elements of the romance and thriller genres. A good thriller provides entertainment by making viewers uncomfortable with moments of suspense, or the heightened feeling of anxiety and fright. A thriller is more a familiar concept and description than a pure genre. A typical genre can vary from comedy and melodrama to adventure and romance. All thrillers are a combination of different genres. The basic thriller trait of suspense fits with some genres better than others. For example, crime, sci-fi and romance allow more scope for suspense than Screwball Comedies or musicals do.
John C. Walsh is an American independent film director and screenwriter who initially gained recognition with the debut of his film Ed's Next Move at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. He has also directed the film Pipe Dream (2002) and most recently wrote the screenplay for Dalíland (2022).
A bromantic comedy is a comedy film genre that takes the formula of the typical "romantic comedy" but focuses on close male friendships.
Western Romance literature denotes a genre subset of Romance literature, sometimes referred to as cowboy romance. Works within this category typically adhere to the characteristics of Romance but take place in a western setting, frequently the American frontier. Though often historical, the genre is not restricted to romantic works set in the period of American settlement but extends to contemporary romantic works that centre around cowboys or other tropes of the western genre.
Inspired by the biological classification system of the Linnaean taxonomy, screenwriter Eric R. Williams developed the Screenwriters Taxonomy in 2017 to create a common language of creative collaboration for filmmakers. Williams’ central thesis in The Screenwriters Taxonomy: A Roadmap to Collaborative Storytelling is that the term “genre” is used so broadly to describe films that the modern use of the word has become meaningless. The Screenwriter's Taxonomy proposes seven categories for discussing the creative process of telling cinematic stories.
She has a Meet-Cute (three, actually) with Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy)