Romantic comedy film

Romantic comedy film

Romantic comedy films, colloquially known as romcom, are movies with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered around romantic ideals such as a true love able to surmount most obstacles. Romantic comedy films are a sub-genre of comedy films as well as of romance films. Because of their appeal to women, romantic comedies are sometimes called "chick flicks".


The basic plot of a romantic comedy is that two protagonists, usually a man and a woman, meet, part ways due to an argument or other contrived obstacle, then ultimately reunite. Sometimes the two protagonists meet and become involved initially, then must confront challenges to their union. Sometimes the two protagonists are hesitant to become romantically involved because they believe that they do not like each other, because one of them already has a partner, or because of social pressures. However, the screenwriters leave clues that suggest that the characters are, in fact, attracted to each other and that they would be a good love match. The protagonists often separate or seek time apart to sort out their feelings or deal with the external obstacles to their being together.

While the two protagonists are separated, one or both of them usually realizes that they are ideal for each other, or that they are in love with each other. Then, after one of the two makes some spectacular effort to find the other person and declare their love, (this is sometimes called the "grand gesture"), or due to an astonishing coincidental encounter, the two meet again. Then, perhaps with some comic friction or awkwardness, they declare their love for each other and the film ends happily. The couple does not, however, have to marry, or live together "happily ever after." The ending of a romantic comedy is meant to affirm the primary importance of the love relationship in its protagonists' lives, even if they physically separate in the end (e.g. "Shakespeare in Love, Roman Holiday") [ Billy Mernit, "Writing the Romantic Comedy" (2000, Harper/Collins)] . There are many variations on this basic plotline. Sometimes, instead of the two lead characters ending up in each other's arms, another love match will be made between one of the principal characters and a secondary character (e.g., "My Best Friend's Wedding and My Super Ex-Girlfriend"). Alternatively, the film may be a rumination on the impossibility of love, as in Woody Allen's film "Annie Hall." The basic format of a romantic comedy film can be found in much earlier sources, such as Shakespeare plays like "Much Ado About Nothing" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream".


Romantic Comedy series are now more usual with networks ABC and Lifetime making them mostly.

List of Romantic Comedy TV shows:
*Sex & The City (1998-2004) (HBO)
*Will & Grace (1998-2006) (NBC)
*Desperate Housewives (2004-) (ABC)
*Ally McBeal (1997-2002) (FOX)
*Men In Trees (2006-2008) (ABC)
*Cashmere Mafia (2008) (ABC)
*Lipstick Jungle (2008-) (NBC)
*Army Wives (2006-) (Lifetime)
*Pepper Dennis (2006) (The WB)
*Mistresses (2008-) (BBC)
*Lost In Austen (2008) (ITV)
*The Starter Wife (TV Miniseries,2007) (TV Series 2008-) (USA Network)
*Emily's Reasons Why Not (2006) (ABC)
*Hot Properties (2006) (ABC)
*The Ex-List (2008-) (CBS)
*Grey's Anatomy (2005-) (ABC)
*Private Practice (2008-) (ABC)


Comedies since ancient Greece have often incorporated sexual or social elements.

It was not until the creation of romantic love in the western European medieval period, though, that "romance" came to refer to "romantic love" situations, rather than the heroice adventures of medieval Romance. These adventures, however, often revolved about a knight's feats on behalf of a lady, and so the modern themes of love were quickly woven into them, as in Chrétien de Troyes's "Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart". [C.S Lewis, "The Allegory of Love", p 19 ISBN 0-19-281220-3]

Shakespearean comedy and Restoration comedy remain influential. The creation of huge economic social strata in the Gilded AgeFact|date=June 2007, combined with the heightened openness about sex after the Victorian AgeFact|date=June 2007 and the celebration of Freud's theories, and the birth of the film industry in the early twentieth century, gave birth to the screwball comedy.Fact|date=June 2007 As class consciousness declined and World War II unified various social orders, the savage screwball comedies of the twenties and thirties, proceeding through Rock HudsonDoris Day-style comedies, gave way to more innocuous comedies.Fact|date=June 2007

The French film industry went in a completely different direction,Fact|date=June 2007 with less inhibitions about sex.Fact|date=June 2007 Virginia Woolf, tired of stories that ended in 'happily ever after' at the beginning of a serious relationship, called "Middlemarch" by George Elliot with its portrayal of a difficult marriage 'One of the few English novels written for grown-up people.'


Examples of romantic comedy films include:

Early Romantic Comedies

* "Adam's Rib" (1949)
* "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944) (filmed in 1941 but held up until the Broadway play finished its run)
* "The Awful Truth" (1937)
* "Born Yesterday" (1950)
* "Bringing Up Baby" (1938)
* "His Girl Friday" (1940)
* "It Happened One Night" (1934)
* "The Philadelphia Story" (1940)
* "The Lady Eve" (1941)
* "My Man Godfrey" (1936)
* "Ninotchka" (1939)
* "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940)
* "Trouble in Paradise" (1932)

Later Romantic Comedies

* "10 Things I Hate About You" (1999)
* "27 Dresses" (2008)
* "Beautiful Girls" (1996)
* "Bridget Jones's Diary" (2001)
* "Carry On Loving" (1970)
* "The Cutting Edge" (1992)
* "French Kiss" (1995)
* "The Holiday" (2006)
* "Kate & Leopold" (2001)
* "Love, Actually" (2003)
* "The Fighting Temptations" (2003)
* "Monster-in-Law" (2005)
* "Moonstruck" (1987)
* "Music and Lyrics" (2007)
* "My Sassy Girl" (2001)
* "Never Been Kissed" (1999)
* "Notting Hill" (1999)
* "Pride and Prejudice" (2005)
* "Romancing the Stone" (1984)
* "Saving Face" (2004)
* "Serendipity" (2001)
* "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993)
* "Something's Gotta Give" (2003)
* "The Sweetest Thing" (2003)
* "Sweet Home Alabama" (2002)
* "The Wedding Date" (2005)
* "The Wedding Planner" (2001)
* "The Wedding Singer" (1998)
* "When Harry Met Sally" (1989)
* "You've Got Mail" (1998)
* "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003)

Top grossing romantic comedies (by year)

* "Tootsie" (1982)
* "Pretty Woman" (1990)
* "Jerry Maguire" (1996)
* "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997)
* "There's Something about Mary" (1998)
* "The Fighting Temptations" (2003)
* "" (2008)


See also

* Screwball comedy, which often features a romantic subplot
* Comedy of remarriage

External links

* [ Romantic Comedy Movies] - from 1940s to future releases, with box office performance The Numbers
* [ Market Performance of Romantic Comedies in United States] - year-by-year analysis of box office performance of romantic comedies The Numbers
* [ Romantic Comedy Movies] - Top 290 (1978-present) by Box Office Mojo
* [ Top 10 Romantic Comedies] by Billy Mernit
* [ Top Rated Romantic Comedies] by IMDB

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