Monday, October 12, 2009

Love + Humor = Happily Ever After: The Romantic Comedy Formula

“Chick Flick” or “Romantic Comedy.” Whatever you call it, it is a genre that is so formulaic that you don’t even have to see the movie to know how it ends.


It starts as classic story of “boy meets girl” where one or both is either unavailable or uninterested. After setting up this scene, insert obstacle. The plot quickly introduces a problem between the two characters where the boy or girl is only interested in the other to accomplish a career goal (a la “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”) or to win some sort of bet (remember “She’s All That”?). This issue places the audience on the edge of its seat wondering whether or not it’s going to work out (although not really because we ALL know what’s going to happen). From here, separation occurs where one of the characters decides to leave the other based on newfound knowledge (insert sappy music). However, don’t fear, because after “days” of moping around and looking depressed, the fleeting character decides to return (usually with the help of friends, thank you Jennifer Hudson from “Sex and the City: The Movie”). From there, a dramatic scene, usually involving running or an “airport hug” is portrayed (get out the Kleenexes) and the characters live, “Happily Ever After.”


In addition to its formulaic love plot, the romantic comedy successfully sprinkles humorous situations where a character is either injured or embarrassed. All of these characteristics make the romantic comedy a genre that we can depend on. The romantic comedy offers us stability when our lives are so unpredictable.


  1. oh how i love this always works for me!

  2. While I'm all for originality, an irritating trend that has clouded the independent film circuit as of a late centers around dismantling this formula, which in theory is interested but almost always falls short in practice. This willfully deconstructionist methodology has been used to justify some of the most pretentious and least thoughtful films of the last few years.

  3. Actually, even though 500 Days of Summer doesn't end like a normal romantic comedy, I still think it is one.. maybe?