Saturday, February 14, 2009

ew: rom-com clichés to retire

Because I despise Valentine's Day -- a $14.7 billion capitalist market that reminds me that we're little more than consumer-sheep -- I am posting some of romantic comedy clichés that Entertainment Weekly would like to require. There are 24 in all, but I've posted the ones that especially grate on my nerves. Also, you may have in the past picked up on the subtleties of my disdain for romantic comedies, and I'm always ready to post anything anti-rom-com related. So happy Valentine's Day. It's great to love somebody, but -- like this list notes -- it's not great to be cliché.

She's smart, she's sassy, and her mistakes can be captured in print or on film. Her job can take her anywhere, introduce her to anyone. Occasionally, she has deadlines.

EXAMPLE: In 13 Going on 30, Jenna (Jennifer Garner) is an editor at a women's magazine that needs to be redesigned, so she calls on her old friend Matty the photographer (Mark Ruffalo).

SEE ALSO: Writers in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Devil Wears Prada, Never Been Kissed, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally..., and Hitch; Talk/news-show employees in Little Black Book, Someone Like You, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Knocked Up.


EXAMPLE: We're gonna have to quote EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum here, because we weren't paid to see New in Town: ''Renee Zellweger teeters in high heels as a brittle singleton executrix who relocates to a Fargo-adjacent burg and discovers the virtues of 'square' Christian values.''

SEE ALSO: The ad exec-turned-baby applesauce maker (Diane Keaton) in Baby Boom; the home swappers (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) in The Holiday; the big-city fashion designer (Reese Witherspoon) who returns to her roots and coon dog cemetery in Sweet Home Alabama; and the movie star (Julia Roberts) who's just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her (side note: worst line EVER) in Notting Hill.

Apparently, the best/easiest way to make a woman seem vulnerable/single is to have her fall on her butt or walk face-first into something. The pratfall epidemic is truly painful.

EXAMPLE: In Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget (Renée Zellweger) slides down a firemen's pole onto her bottom (and a camera); in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, she parachutes into a pigpen and slides off the roof while spying on Mark (Colin Firth).

SEE ALSO: Jessica Alba in Good Luck Chuck; Amanda Bynes in What a Girl Wants; Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed; Monica Potter in Head Over Heels; Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You; Anna Faris in The House Bunny; Brittany Murphy in Little Black Book; and Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries.

A close cousin to the ''Fat Guy, Skinny Wife'' rule of sitcoms, this applies to movies where a superhot girl falls for a guy totally below her league because she learns what a nice guy he is. When was the last time a schlubby girl got a hot guy?

EXAMPLE: Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) wins the heart of uberbabe Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) in Knocked Up.

SEE ALSO: Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah in Roxanne; and Kevin James and Amber Valletta in Hitch.

* Of course, my male students find absolutely nothing wrong with this because, and I quote, "nobody wants to look at ugly people." Kevin James isn't exactly a Greek god...

Rom-coms and fashion go together like horror movies and blood, so it's no surprise that the majority of them include a scene in which a character tries on a series of outfits in front of giggling friends, helpful salespeople, or smitten lovers.

EXAMPLE: Jane (Katherine Heigl) shows Kevin (James Marsden) her entire wardrobe of bridesmaid dresses in 27 Dresses.

SEE ALSO: Pretty Woman and Sex and the City.

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