There lies a deep analytical and critical chasm between romance and humour, and for years cinema has been building bridges between these two genres, and with each bridge grows a vast footpath of nonsense that misconstrues the lines between what is critically acclaimed and what is good entertainment. The films that jump that chasm make a bold stand against all that is critically cinematic and bold as it may be it is not what we would consider in reality to be a genuine film. What I mean to say is that many critics and cinema goers alike seem to have a misconception that films have to reach certain requirements, to enable themselves a certain chic that distinguishes them for all the others. This constitutes towards cult status, Academy or BAFTA nomination, or even independent identification.
Generally I feel strongly about the also ran’s, the nearly films that do what they set out to do but don’t quite gain recognition for being what they are. See, they are just that; films. It is that simple, they amuse us and allow us to divulge into a world that is not quite living, but far from dead, we drift bewilderedly between scenes along a river of dialogue that allows us to feel if only briefly, amused. Rom-Com’s play a huge part in this bracket of nearly films; they are the fish in a barrel, the easy targets, the pathetic young sister of the classic Romantic-Comedy. But not all Rom-Com’s are this ‘chick-flick’ conception that seems to be the norm of romantic cinema in our modern era. It’s a shame to think that most (but not all) of the reviews for these films never really seem to get the point, they don’t tell me what it is at face value, they try to find a deeper lying meaning that is perhaps waiting for them, perhaps sat swinging its legs on the fence of critique and pretentiousness.
Why so? Why do we find it so easy to criticise a romantic-comedy, is it too difficult to talk about it honestly; for the love of all that is cinematic, do these critics actually believe that film-makers such as the late and great Nora Ephron are genuinely trying to create films that are art-house, artistically pretentious and vague. Surely they must know that ‘Rom-Com’s’ are just a means of entertainment, much in the same way as you would watch a soap opera or read a novel, I mean how on earth would young couples spend their evenings if not “watching” romantic-comedies on their parents new chesterfield trying there hardest to not make the leather squeak, its either that or a streetlife serenade (and not the Billy Joel kind). So, naturally I feel genuinely upset for these films, I can think of nothing more relaxing than watching When Harry Met Sally (1989) and just forgetting about the real world for an hour and a half.
Although, I would be foolish to ignore the possibility that a Rom-Com could be an awful watch and yes there are many bad romantic-comedies. But when you know, pre-viewing, that the film you are about the watch is not going to be all of the thrills-and-spills that it blurbs on the cover, then it does somewhat loosen you up to the prospect of watching it with a completely guilt free conscience and a critically inept sense of what makes film. Because, isn’t that what is beautiful about film? That we have the means to be able to let it wash over us in a distant warm wave of forgetfulness, film is not always about the awards and the star studded casts and the crews and critically acclaimed reviews, it’s about being able to clock out and enjoy the little things, you wouldn’t want to put your feet up with your partner after a hard day at the office, open a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and drift in and out of watching A Clockwork Orange (1972). Lest we forget the deep chasm which we would be bound, if not for the blend of romance and comedy and the many bridges that cinema build each day between these two genres, so for the sake of all that is entertaining, watch a ‘Rom-Com’ and drift in and out of mildly pleasurable consciousness, if not that at least as a tip of hat and a raise of your glass for the magnificent Nora Ephron (1941-2012).