Boy meets girl. Some turn of events means they can’t be together. They overcome these circumstances and get together. The two kiss. They live happily ever after. This is basically the plot of every romantic comedy film ever made. Of course there are the occasional exceptions which mix it up or add something to the formula, but on the whole 95% of them will follow this tried and tested recipe. And why shouldn’t’ they? It’s a very good way of putting a film together and is guaranteed to leave the audience feeling warm and mushy inside, but let’s be honest here, these films are miles away from what would really happen in the real world.
Let’s start by looking at those so called ‘romantic gestures’ which fill these films. Take a look at the classic boom box scene in 1989’s Say Anything. As poor Lloyd stands out on Diane’s front lawn in the middle of the night silently holding a boom box which is playing their song, I am sure the whole cinema let out a unanimous “Ahhh” at the sight and an internal “Boo” as Diane ignores the gesture. However, let’s be honest here, if that had happened in the real world it would have gone very differently. Standing out there playing very loud music would have attracted the neighbours’ attention, who would have then either shouted at him or called the police. If it was the latter, he very well could have been charged with ‘Disturbance of the Peace’ and carted away in the back of a police car; so romantic.
Another rather romanticised gesture is seen in the 2013 film Friends with Benefits when Dylan organises a huge flash mob in the middle of Grand Central Station to surprise his love interest Jamie and confess how he feels; how sweet! Except if that had happened on a real day, it wouldn’t have gone that way. The likelihood is the dancers would have been pushed out of the way by angry commuters trying to get to their trains in time, which would probably been accompanied by a lot of swearing. Also, with how long that flash mob goes on for, security for the station would have been all over them and it probably wouldn’t have looked quite as good with bright yellow florescent jackets scattered throughout the crowd accompanied by angry grunts of “Move along, please!”
In the real world, if someone knew everything you loved straight off the bat you would probably think there was something fishy going on
Another loved cliché of the genre is the idea of a love triangle, more often than not with two guys going after the affections of one girl, with hilarity ensuing. One film which particularly showcases this is 2012’s This Means War in which two CIA agents, FDR and Tuck, both attempt to win the affections of Lauren. Both spies do incredibly thorough backgrounds checks on Lauren, which passes from romantic to creepy. In the real world, if someone knew everything you loved straight off the bat you would probably think there was something fishy going on and more than just the normal Facebook stalking. Of course these films also focus on the girl picking which guy she wants to be with and this will always leave an audience divided. In this case Lauren’s choice of FDR over Tuck left me fuming. I mean, in reality, when a guy forgives you, without comment, for shooting him in his ‘nether regions’ at close range with a paintball gun, he’s got to be a keeper, right? But, no inevitably in these situations the female lead will always pick the person you don’t like and would probably avoid in the real world.
Finally, let’s talk about the kiss. The big climactic moment when it all comes together. This has been the ending of so many romantic comedies, from Love Actually and Forgetting Sarah Marshall to classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and When Harry Met Sally, it always ends with the leads puckering up. So, it has to be asked, why can’t they kiss normally? More so in modern films, they don’t seem to kiss in a way any real couple would, it seems more like they are attempting to suck each other’s brains out through their mouths or suffocate their partner; how romantic!