Screenwriting : Romantic Comedies by Christine Capone

Christine Capone

Romantic Comedies

I have another question re: romantic comedies (without action). I know that men aren't big fans of romantic comedies. So, if you had to choose one or a few, what are you favorites and why? What do you feel is missing in them? Thanks! I'd like to add that women are also welcome to comment : )

Sandeep Gupta

Real men would watch Two Weeks Notice and Notting Hill.

Anyone contests?

Chad Wellinger

Romancing the Stone, which is sort of a hybrid action adventure rom-com. But also, You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Something's Gotta Give...

Ted Westby

I adore the fictional stereotype that " aren't big fans of romantic comedies." In my humble opinion elevated men are, and I'd place The Philadelphia Story, Ball Of Fire, and Holiday at the top of my extensive list... a list I'd write here but it's, well... extensive. Oh, and for you foreign romantic film types, I'd place Girl On The Bridge, Priceless, and My Wife Is An Actress way up there.

Write On!

Erik A. Jacobson

Moonstuck, Four Weddings and a Funeral - oldie but goodies.

Dan MaxXx

I am a huge Woody Allen fan (pre Soon-Yi Previn scandal)

Robin Chappell

It depends on the RomCom. I've watched some and didn't stay for the Third Act. My Only RomCom kind of takes the genre and skews it a little. I'm not flashing on any particular ones, other than Ghost. And it wasn't s strict RomCom.

Craig D Griffiths

Continental Divide.

Most romcom (when they were formulas) made the bad choice an art form. People doing dumb things.

Barry John Terblanche

50 first dates.

Ewan Dunbar

Bridget Jones's Diary and (this may sound odd) WALL-E - Boy lives alone with his best friend (cockroach), boy meets girl of his dreams, doesn't know how to approach her, after comedy mishaps they finally connect, boy loses girl when she is taken away, boy goes to rescue girl, clash of cultures comedy ensues, boy finds courage to save her but risks himself, girl saves boy, girl and boy get together and save life on earth. All told with next to no dialogue! Classic.

Ken White

The Proposal. Sandra Bullock, Betty White (No relation, sadly) Mary Steenburgen. What's not to like? It was a bit join the dots, but it was a romcom. One doesn't watch the genre for enlightenment. It's for escapism and if there's a lump in the throat at the end because it all turns out fine, (after the dash to the airport of course) then great. Take me to that happy place...

Vyacheslav Vladimirsky

Does anyone want to work seriously on my project?

There are many people here, but very little work...

I need a partner to attract investment in the project.

CJ Walley

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Christine Capone

Ken White exactly!

Christine Capone

I shouldn't have said that men aren't fans of romantic comedy : ) But what I did notice is that the ones selected are not recent ones.

Jodi Rath

Christine Capone, I'm not a man but my husband loves romcoms. Neither of us is fans of recent but older classics like When Harry Met Sally, Frankie and Johnny, Love Actually, Sleepless in Seattle--for shows we loved The Mindy Project which is more recent, and New Girl and Girls--we like more recent when it comes to TV series. I was interested in your post b/c I recently bought a book about writing Romcoms as my current cozy mystery series has a lot of humor and that helps with scene writing-studying the movies and TV shows, reading the craft books, and studying the scripts. Best of luck in your creative pursuits and I appreciate the question!

Christine Capone

Thanks Jodi Rath !

Ken White

I've never got on with Love Actually, I have friends who are in floods of tears watching it. Big Butch Male Friends at that! ( Maybe not so butch). I wanted to like it, having been involved with Four Weddings in a small way, but I just couldn't relate to any of the characters or relationships.

Christine Capone

Ken White I know what you mean about Love Actually. I loved the story of the little boy when he knew that he found "the one". I think we just need those moments in a rom com where we feel and/or relate to something and that does it for us.

Barry John Terblanche

A bit off romcom. Christine, mentioning little boy... The movie A.I (the robot child) I shed tear buckets! Now there's a soft man for you! Guys, please don't comment on what I just said. (Lol), Only woman may :-)

Kristal Corona

This is a really cool question. I hope you get a bunch of other helpful responses!! Following this thread.

Mike Erickson

Love Actually. Hey...I love a good Rom / Com...does not make me any less of a man. And if I'm worried about shedding a tear in mixed company....well....those damn allergies...or asking "Do you have a cat?" can always throw off anyone questioning your masculinity...)

Christine Capone

Mike Erickson Definitely not! I would love to write a rom com where a man can relate to it or have some kind of emotional response.

Christine Capone

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator I do too! I once had a producer friend of mine who has worked on successful movies and tv shows read a rom com I wrote several years ago and the first thing he said to me after reading it was "This is a chick flick" I was like, so....?

Karen "Kay" Ross

The hubs likes The Holiday, Love Actually, 13 Going on 30, Pitch Perfect (thanks for the reminder, Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator!), and Stardust (yes, it totally counts). We actually named our tables at our wedding based on our favorite RomComs to avoid numbers (making some people feel "less than"), but also to make it into a fun game where you had to match the quote with the film. Princess Bride was included, but it was my pick, not his ;-)

Gilberto Villahermosa

"You've Got Mail", "When Harry Met Sally", "Sleepless in Seattle". All are great comedies - and great love stories!

Craig Prickett

I love Rom Coms and I used to be a professional boxer and have spent my entire life in very blokey alpha male dominated professions.My favourite Rom Coms are Addicted to Love (Meg Ryan,Matthew Broderick)and the Philadelphia Story(Kathryn Hepburn,Carey Grant,Jimmy Stewart) later remade as the musical High Society(Grace Kelly,Bing Crosby,Frank Sinatra).

Christine Capone

Thanks everyone! This is all so helpful!

Sandeep Gupta

Would it be ok to mention three of the four awesome questions raised in the post are unanswered? As the first one to ignore them, I start with making amends —

I don't know the why. I watched.those movies when I didn't know movies were “written,” and my sample is too small and too good.

To me those rom-coms are perfect. I have nothing to compare them to, to say why. Anyone else?

Ken mentioned he didn't relate to the movies. Any other what's missing?

Last, as Christine asks, why were most movies mentioned, older?


No fair to Love Actually and The Princess Bride I didn't vote for them. Again perfect, I saw them also before I knew plot from a graph. Someone on this thread must have an opinion on more Rom-coms and maybe it will be fair to not mention the title. Could the character arcs be better?

Do we have more structures¹ than Billy Mernit and Helen Jaycee?

Maybe Christine should repost with a title, Good Men Who Can't Stand Rom-coms, tell us why?

¹ I will share an exceptional so far hidden one if this conversation goes anywhere.

Christine Capone

Sandeep Gupta You're right! To anyone who has time, please elaborate. Thanks Sandeep!

Charles K. Frazier

I'm a male and I like Rom/Coms, but only if they're good, honest and not for the purpose of bashing males. The problem that I have with most of them, they're so cliche. I just recently took one of my favorite "drama" scripts and labeled it a rom/com . It's not written as romanctic or comedic, but the right actors and/or director could make it so. That's their job, if they intend to take our stories and credit themselves...right?

Christine Capone

I'm definitely not male bashing in mine and I agree, so many are cliche. I'm taking, what I think, is a different approach. Not sure if it will work but gonna give it a go anyway.

Sandeep Gupta

Thanks Charles, would it be ok to ask for examples?

Barry John Terblanche

Nick. Yes, Stardust!

Ken White

Hi Sandeep, It was just most of Love Actually I couldn't relate to. For instance the Martine McCutcheon and Hugh Grant just didn't work, neither Martin Freeman and Joanna Page. Then wrapping it up as a Christmas movie just underlined the contrivance of the whole film. But ultimately, I wish I'd written it!

Audrey O'Reilly

For me, the irony with Romantic comedies in the last few decades is that frequently, they have been hi-jacked rest on the man's emotional journey, usually from immaturity to some form of maturity, hence, as someone who used to love them, I've rather lost interest in them. Also, why do we need to be too pushed if they appeal to a male audience? The female audience is potentially huge. Elizabeth Gilbert talks very interestingly about how her publishers are always trying to work out ways to snare the male audience, almost as if that would give her books validation, while she's very happy with her female audience thankyou very much.

Barry John Terblanche

Audrey. WOW!

Ken White

Audrey, I agree. Modern romcoms lack any kind of realism. Whoever heard of an immature man? But seriously, the emphasis is all about what is considered commercial by the big studios rather than what is going to leave an audience fulfilled after watching the feature. (ie. Let's all make a remake of the last remake of that remake that did really well.) The baby-man journey is very hackneyed. I love strong female characters, rather than the old eye candy who has to take a shower by page 35. More writing and production by women for women (and men) is needed across all genres. Viva La Revolution!

CJ Walley

Regarding modern romcoms, it's prudent to look at the market and how that's changed over the years. There was an era when a good romcom could be a blockbuster and thus they were made for a different demographic. Like the edgier and more mature side of indie film, a lot of it has moved to TV.

Christine Capone

Audrey O'Reilly I think that's why they've sucked for the past 20 years. Most of the rom coms that men have liked were made before 2000. If you just appeal to just women, there's a fine line between making it on the big screen or on Hallmark. My goal is to appeal to both with every movie that I write. Men have feelings too and I'm sure they'd like a nice escape from the usual action movie! : )

Sandeep Gupta

Thanks Ken, Audrey, and CJ, those are insights. I am also thinking, people who clicked on this question were more open to the topic so we have a great, and yet a smaller sample.

In the last twenty years, I am guessing from your answers, the pendulum swung from alpha males who apparently knew everything even when we could tell, yeah that can't happen — to the other end that seems to legit irk some?

Audrey's Gilbert thesis is valid, thanks and yes, more power to her.

My interest is to understand, when does a narrative go from recreational, deep, thought-provoking or cathartic to simply divisive or exploitative.

That might be the easier question. Tougher one, going by the national theatre, why is it not easy to spot — we might need to ask and solve in the near future, and not just apropos men and women.

Christine, thank you so much for reviving this. Could I humbly convince you to please post a question with the title, “Good Men who hate RomComs, come help us why in this discussion?”

David Evan Simpson

I definitely watch a lot more Action than Romantic Comedy, but in that genre my favorites are "French Kiss" and the classics "The Lady Eve" and "Bringing Up Baby". You know, I've never thought about why I liked them - but you know what they all have in common? The agendas of strong-willed characters where the person they fall in love with is the obstacle/foil to them getting what they want. Interesting to reflect on.

Christine Capone

I was curious about the male perspective but women are welcome to comment and they have been. But like Audrey mentioned, the female audience is already huge, and with being a woman myself, I pretty much know why we like them and why we don't : )

Anthony Mariani

My favorite gems "A little romance" every moment of that film warms my soul and the freeze frame on the last shot makes my heart skip a beat. "leap year" - such a quirky couple you root for them to get together. Father Goose - Damn funny writing and timing. "The Apartment" - how can you not fall in love with Fran Kubelik and C.C. Baxter? That ending is one of the most endearing in film history, and all from a deck of cards.

"Roman Holiday" their final kiss before she goes back, then of course his long lonely walk at the end.

Joe Thayer

I like the ones that are really funny. Like Along Came Polly, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Something About Mary, About a boy is good too. I don't think men hate romance, its the cheese factor we have a lower tolerance for. Give me something funny with some real depth in the characters, real challenges, and I'll watch it. I don't speak for the Male species, just myself.

Sandeep Gupta

Christine, I probably couldn't say I understand (all the) men's perspective, being a man because it isn't a monolith. Also, I am saying this with some perspective that men here so far, are far more open to the genre than the audience you are trying to understand.

Christine Capone

No I think this is the audience I’m trying to understand :)

Christine Capone

I never said that men hate them. I agree with you Joe that maybe there has to be some humor in them to appeal to both audiences as well as those moments that put a lump in your throat. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish here!

Jakob Vestergaard

I think there's plenty of recent good rom coms. Man up, The Lovebirds and Palm Springs to name a few. Or Knocked up and This is 40 before that. And maybe some of the Amy Schumer movies. I like a lot of comedy, straight male characters I can relate to and some high concept plot mechanism to seperate it from everything else. The lead, theme and subject matter can be female/feminim, no problem.

Christine Capone

Jakob Vestergaard I was just saying that the majority of the ones listed are prior to 2000.

Cynthia Garbutt

Think Like A Man & 2. I think both films were more of a balanced view of the rom-com genre.

Jackie Letkowski

I think both sexes would enjoy "So I Married An Axe Murderer" :)

Sandeep Gupta

Someone said unrealistic earlier? Here are a dozen takes and 50 comments, from non screenwriters.

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