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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Do Romantic Comedies Have a Formula?

2 attractive and charismatic people + 2 cups of humor + 1 happy ending = Romantic Comedy

Often times romantic comedies earn a bad reputation for being formulaic or too predictable. One formula is girl meets right guy, but she is with the wrong guy, and the movie follows her realization that she must leave the wrong guy to get together with the right guy. This formula could go in reverse as well with a guy choosing between two girls. Of course, these movies might end with a wedding or at least a kiss between the two leads. Now, I don't think formula is a bad way to construct a movie at all as long as the production puts a fresh twist on it and employs believable actors. The thing with all movies is the viewer's willing suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy a movie. I don't think an action movie where the convict manages to outmaneuver the cops with his quick wits is any more believable than two strangers falling in love at first sight. You have to abandon reality for a few hours to really dive into the plot line of any movie. If you think about it, most events and decisions in our lives rely on formulas. The planning of a birthday party follows the formula of buying food, arranging decorations, and making a guest list. For someone else, a decision she/he makes may be based on the pros and cons of the consequences, thus relying on the formula of possible repercussions.
Even if most romantic comedies abide by a Hollywood formula, isn't it nice to have situations and characters end up together and happy, something we cannot always count on in reality? As long as you know a movie's projections for life remain in the theatre, I see no problem with enjoying impossibly sappy moments or cheering for the couple when they finally see how they belong together in the end.

For a list of specific elements in the recipe for concocting a romantic comedy and the common errors as well in writing one, check out this website:

http://www.screenplaylab.com/rom.com.tips.html

2 comments:

m pennell said...

Thanks for a post like this, Lisa. It's what I was referring to in my feedback to you.

Zoni Jesus said...

Thanks for posting this Liza. This formula is quite interesting; I am also having links of romantic comedy movies which you will like. Just have a look and suggest me your opinion or if you know any movie which is not in the list.