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E.C. Henry

Great post, Billy,

I think your theory has a lot of merit. Like how you take what one of your students says, and check it for resonant truth across a wider body of people.

Sure, I'm all for the "newest" thing in rom-coms to be sweet mixed in with a little tart humor. Dude, I've got three of such offerings I'm trying to sell RIGHT NOW: "Cupid's Helpers," "An American Princess" and "Cupid Got Stupid," but I digress, UNLESS someday I'm invited to the table, and asked NOT to digress...

Don't count out the Judd Apatow affect just yet. I'm a HUGE believer in what he's trying to do; namely get guys to go see a hybrid of the traditional romantic comedy. Judd's shows are almoast always funny, AND have a romantic pairing THAT WORKS! The problem with most of Judd's movies is that he alienates the female audience (and some others) by a) staying in the raunch too long, b) the improv affect needs to be dampened, a lot of his scenes feel like they drag on too long. Basically Judd needs an encounter with Willian Goldman. "Get in and out of your scenes quickly.
But Judd Apatow is no dummy. Surely he's aware of such critism, and will make adjustments in the future. Did see alot of adjustments in "Funny People," and I'm sure there's more to come in the future.

Kinda suprised "Dear John" is doing that well. Story looks VERY "ho hum" on the surface, and off the TV trailiers. Amanda Seyfreid, however, looks like she's blossoming into a fine lead actress. Definately someone to keep an eye on, a force to be reckoned with in the years to come...

Rachel Hauck

I love your thoughts here. I think romance is largely what women want and we've surrendered to the male approach of sex first romance later. ;)

We need to take back "the hand" of romance first sex later.

Most woman have sex with men they are not in relationship with because they largely are looking for the edgiest of romance. The physical certainly plays a part, but women want to be wanted.

I would love a return of the more romantic bases movies. Those with the primarily sexual focus often don't resonate over time. Movies like Ugly Truth was just ugly.

Please, there has to be more to boy meets girl than him teasing her about "flicking her bean."

I didn't "feel" it between those two characters at all. When any relationship is portrayed as largely physical in nature, (Management is another example) there heart does not follow. The whole time, the viewer/reader is asking, "Why does she like him?"

That's what we want: seeing why she likes him and him wanting her! :)



I don't disagree, especially with the use of the word "tart." We're a pretty cynical society these days, and even if our movies are going to trend towards more romance, I think it's going to be romance with just a little bit of reality, or an angsty edge or however it manifests itself from writer to writer.

And on that note, I'm off to take another look at the one I'm writing.

S. Boyd

Interesting idea --- the trend to just hook up without a "date." But I'm not so certain it's across the board. My nephews are mid-20's and they date. Yes, they hook up too, but they also date. They still seem to like the chase or the dance or whatever you want to call it. I'd love to see the focus groups on this topic. I'm sure they're happening as we speak somewhere in Hollywood.

Daniel Smith

Interesting. I love your reviews and insights.

BTW, have you seen the Sandra Bullock, All About Steve, yet?


There's comedy for sure, and romance for crosswords, but not between the two iconic cast members. It's totally one-sided with Bullock discovering at the end that's she happiest being who she is.

How does this grab you / fit in / whatever?


EC: I'm not counting Apatow out (especially since his production company has like a dozen projects in development at Uni) - but suggesting that, in true cyclical form, the male POV rom-com may have peaked or at least plateau-ed... which implies that the Next Big Thing is imminent.

Rachel: You've nailed it - in my rom-com classes, I'm always stressing that while putting obstacles between the two leads is what most rom-com writers focus on, actually what's most important is getting the audience to buy into the idea that these two people are meant to - and absolutely must - get together.

Martin: Yup, by all means go tart it up.

Ms. Boyd: Focus groups, sure (shudder-shudder)... Yes, there must be varying trends throughout that vast unknown quantity (i.e. The Kids These Days), and I'd like to see some statistics.

Daniel: I read "Steve," though I haven't seen the finished picture, and it's an interesting case. I liked the idea of the Bullock character realizing she's been obsessed with a romantic fantasy and finally letting go of it - "500 Days" had a variation on this same theme - but it sounds, given the Razzie and the bad press, like the actual film (which was a black comedy/rom-com, I'd say) didn't quite work.

In terms of how "Steve" fits in with this current post, not so sure, except in the sense that it is essentially about "idealized romantic love," as opposed to raunchy macho chick flick fare.


You've always got fabulous thoughts.

Truthfully, I feel like Nicholas Sparks is actually dangerous for the psyche. Nobody's romance is a Nicholas Sparks romance. Plus, his writing makes my brain melt.

I'd love to see a romantic comedy that's hilarious and also sweet as hell.


I just saw the worst rom/com ever. "When in Rome". Run away.


J: Careful - you'll end up as a great print ad blurb - DEAR JOHN: It's "Brain melt!"

Binnie: I've already run (on many levels...).

Joanna Farnsworth

I'm with you, Billy. I think Twilight was the first big reminder that traditional Romance is in the soul, and is alive and well.

And I hope Hollywood doesn't forget, this is the first time in history the over-40's are a majority group, who have watched movies all their lives, and want to keep on doing it.

Their souls are alive and well too, and not so much different from that younger crowd's.


Great post, Mernitman! (and funny.)

Sam Wasson

Be careful what you wish for! Garry Marshall may be listening!

Great post as always, Mernitman. I'm right behind you, hoping some of that old fashioned twinkle comes back to our favorite genre.


I think you're onto something but I don't necessarily think the absence of "dating" can equate to an "absence of romance" in our personal lives. Dating is just a term that has become obsolete. It builds up way too much anticipation for something that should flow naturally. Nowadays, we just call it quality time because it should be a lot more subjective and personal than the old rigid formulas. What's not romantic about that?


Joanna: Yuh-HUH.

Barbara: Great AND funny? Now I can die happy.

Sam Wasson: More twinkle!!! That's what we need.

Sean: Good point. Quality time = fine romance, in my book. (And have a Happy V's-day, if you're like, into that.)

 Dear John ( 2010 )

Interesting. I love your reviews. "Dear John" is very good romantic movie. I enjoyed it lot. Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried are looking good together.

Taran Singh

I think you've nailed it. With 'Hooking up' being the norm and the total reversal of the traditional dating cycle, I guess the reason why a lot of Rom Com fans take shelter in the oh-so-obviously old world on screen depiction of romance is to escape back into the time when just holding someone's hand was supposed to be a big deal.


Dear John: To each his own.

Taran: Seems so. And I'm old enough to remember when "I Want to Hold Your Hand" actually sounded... kind of hot.

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