Romance and Comedy

There’s an interesting interview with Sandra Bullock, queen of romantic comedies, on CNN today. Among the questions asked is a request for an explanation: why is she refusing to do more romantic comedies, and why do female buddy movies like ‘Miss Congeniality 2’ instead?

I like the challenge of that a lot more than the comedy being revolved around landing the dude….

No one ever shows women watching out for one and other. We’re either scratching each other’s eyes out or stealing each other’s husbands or there’s a lead woman and there’s a best friend who usually is a better written role and has two scenes.

After Candy and I went off on the whole “sassy sidekick best friend” icon in romantic fiction, it’s interesting to see an actress pick up on the lack of strong roles for women in romance-focused movies, while the best friend is often better developed and more interesting as a character, but shafted in the screentime department. This imbalance makes me think of actresses like Janeane Garofalo or Joan Cusack, who often end up as the romance heroine’s sidekick but rarely the heroine herself.

The idea of women as their own enemies is interesting to consider when one looks at the annoying and ill-written sidekick, or the absent but fabulous best friend found in movies, contrasted with the recent surge in chick-lit and contemporary novels with groups of women as best friends. Jennifer Crusie for one has a good number of supportive groups of women friends in her novels – and as a reader I’ve liked just about all the heroine’s friends. Wonder if Hollywood will take a cue from current contemporary romance stories in novel form for future scripts.


Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Jonquil says:

    Along these lines, note that of all the women in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh Grant dates by far the dullest.  The fascinating Kristen Scott Thomas character is presented as romantically hapless.

  2. 2
    sarah says:

    True – she wasn’t particularly inspiring, was she?

  3. 3
    Candy says:

    It’s Romance Novel Commandment #18: “Thou shalt not suffer a sassy, secure, sexy sidekick to have a HEA of her own, though the more mousy sidekick may be awarded a secondary love story if thou feelest generous.”

    What I like about Crusie’s sidekicks is that the ones who don’t settle down forever are still happy with themselves. Her heroines are also never overshadowed by their sidekicks.

    And I TOTALLY wanted Fiona to be the one to get the guy, though really, the Andie MacDowell character totally deserves the Hugh Grant character because they’re both kind of lame. See how Fiona’s is the only character whose name I remember? I liked her quite a bit. Pah.

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