Saturday, 5 December 2015

10 So-Called Unconventional Rom-Com Movies I Find Easily Tolerable

that aren't called Pretty Woman, 4 Weddings & a Funeral, Notting Hill, When Harry Met Sally 



*last updated: 28 June 2017*

As much as I enjoy watching my classic movies, - and I say classic as in 1980s, 1990s and less so 2000s, the one particular genre I am not a big fan of, or regular viewer of, is the romantic comedy or AKA the rom-com.

But that is not to say I am completely against rom-coms, or detest them completely; I have absolutely no qualms about movies that depict the story of two strangers/employees/friends turned potential lovers. It is the way the movie and narrative are depicted, how the events unfold, as well as how I feel about the movie that matters the most. If I enjoy the movie, if I feel for the couple, the star pairing of the actor/actress and sense the onscreen chemistry between the two characters, then for sure I will enjoy it. And I shall also root for them to get together in the end.  I even came up with my own romantic comedy movie concept. 

It's just that I find that most of the well-known movies tend to be cliched, over-hyped and often make me want to gag. That, or I am just not into them as much as other fans of that movie are - i.e. Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, When Harry Met Sally

It's not so much about that the narratives and movies always have to have a happy ending in contrast to our own lives (though it is still important), nor that they remind me of something that I'll probably never have. Not for me, that is. I shall never compare movies, well rom-coms to real-life because it is like comparing oranges with apples, it's all chalk- and- cheese. But for rom-coms to entertain and to put a smile on my face, a romantic comedy movie has to be a) funny &/or amusing, as well as interesting, b) have likeable characters and c) a main boy/girl star pairing who are likeable enough for us to make us want them to fall in love, and more, without coming across as being cheesy, mawkish and gag-inducing. 

Rom-coms that also try to put a different slant on the formula or mix things up by incorporating elements from other genres get a bonus point too. 

I know some of these aren't strictly categorised as rom-coms per se, but they still have elements and conventions that are taken from other romantic comedy films.  

These are my 10 chosen comedy movies: each one with an unconventional take/twist on the topic of and concept of love and romance that I find equally and easily endurable, more-so than other so-called rom-coms. 


*additional info from Amazon


Tootsie (1982) - technically speaking, Tootsie doesn't fall under the rom-com sub-genre of movies; however, one could see it as boy as girl-meets-girl story. Because that is what it is: a man (an actor by the name of Michael) lands a job by playing and disguising himself as a woman, only to fall for his co-star, Julie. There is no social message or hidden agenda, it just wants to be funny and romantic, of which the movie succeeds on both levels. The ending scene where Dustin Hoffman's Michael and Jessica Lange's Julie come face- to- face for the first time since Michael's on-camera revelation as the man posing as Dorothy is pretty endearing and sweet and not so in-yer-face it becomes a turn-off. 





Sweet Home Alabama (2002) - a tale of childhood long- lost lovers reuniting as adults, after several years apart and probably the best rom-com that deals with this particular plotline. Though it may lack the wow factor, it's the performances by Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas as well as the other fellow cast members, in addition to the old flame theme, that makes this encounter stand out from the usual rom-coms that deal with boy- meets- girl as strangers, who become lovers. 




Jack & Sarah (1995) - Jack's life comes crashing down after the death of his wife through childbirth. He later hires a waitress, Amy as Sarah's babysitter, only to fall for her! Really good performance by Richard E. Grant in particular and the relationship between Amy and Jack develops nicely, one step at a time.




Romancing The Stone (1984) - yet another unconventional rom-com, Romancing the Stone is more of an action-adventure movie in a similar vein to Indiana Jones with an interesting blend of humour, intrigue and romance. It was the launchpad for Michael Douglas's and Kathleen Turner's movie careers, and it was also the movie that helped establish themselves as stars of the big screen. But it can also be viewed as a rom-com, in the sense that romance blossoms for both Jack and Joan, who fall for one another whilst they go in search of the treasure.




Overboard (1987) - starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, a rich woman falls off a boat, loses her memory and is told she is the mother to 4 unruly, out of control boys by their father, who falls in love with rich woman. Fun, funny movie that plays out as a traditional comedy movie without coming off as sappy.




As Good As It Gets (1997) - 
one of the most peculiar rom-coms ever made, for some reason, the (odd) pairing of Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt somehow works, despite the age gap between the two actors. The movie is witty, poignant and feel-good. As Good As it Gets is an example that romantic comedy doesn't always have to be vulgar and relying on sexual scenes and references to garner audience interest but on good writing, solid acting and moments that make you smile.




One Fine Day (1996) - 2 single parents strike up an interesting relationship when their kids miss their school field trip and they end up babysitting them together and eventually fall in love. It has comedy, romance and some added drama, there is an additional subplot as well. I was actually surprised at how much depth the movie had, particularly for a rom-com. I loved Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds, and here one year on, she delivers another excellent performance. As for George Clooney, he oozes charisma as his character and this is the only film of his that I enjoyed watching, given as I'm not a huge follower of his movies. 

But overall, good camaraderie & chemistry between Michelle and George. 




It Could Happen to You (1994) - inspired by a true story, a humble cop, who along with his obnoxious (gold-digging) wife wins the lottery and he gives a huge tip to a down-to-luck waitress. Like Overboard, this is another movie about money doesn't buy happiness and true love. It Could Happen to You is a gentle love story interwoven into a tale of social consciousness. Nicolas Cage puts on one of his finest performances as Charlie and he just proves that Raising Arizona was no fluke, in terms of starring in light-hearted roles & movies, whilst Bridget Fonda's Yvonne provides that vulnerability, tenderness and warmth that compliments Cage's Charlie.




Living Out Loud (1998) - A movie that is similar to As Good As It Gets in terms of older people finding love, yet skews some of the genre conventions and still remains highly watchable from beginning to end. The Holly Hunter & Danny Devito pairing turned out to be a huge and nice surprise and in a way, I prefer this film over As Good As It Gets, as I liked Holly & Danny as a coupling moreso than Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt together. Directed by the same person who did The Fisher King, its approach is very surreal and so unlike any I've seen before in many other rom-coms, especially mainstream commercial hit rom-coms. 




Date Night (2010) - Phil and Claire Foster are a typical suburban couple when a case of mistaken identity results in a chain of events involving thieves, crooks and bent cops. Tina Fey and Steve Carell's wit and spontaneity as the lovebirds is more relatable to some - if not all married couples, who feel that real marriage is built on trust, humour, putting up with and tolerating each other's annoyances and tenderness. It plays out as a screwball comedy, without being too sentimental and clingy. Although it kind of loses its way during the last 3rd of the movie, regardless, it is still surprisingly watchable, if not remarkable. Watch out for the pole dancing scene - it made me chuckle anyway.



*other unconventional rom-com movies worth recommending by me: Coming to America, The Wedding Singer, She's All That, Boomerang, Bubble Boy, Strictly Ballroom, Breakin' All The Rules, Gorgeous (1999 Jackie Chan flick that is a fusion of martial arts with romantic comedy), America's Sweethearts

2 comments:

  1. Great selections, especially One Fine Day a film that'sall about people who have cut off romantic aspirations and ploughed ahead with what they think is best. It is also about what happens when these same people make a connection and are forced to reconsider themselves.
    It's a great movie, a gift to the heart!

    ReplyDelete
  2. one fine day is a great film and not also that these two same characters are single parents as well and how each of their kids takes to their relationship.

    ReplyDelete

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