Thursday, August 11, 2011

Romantic Movies

The other day I saw Friends with Benefits. The movie stars Justin Timberlake & Mila Kunis. It is very predictable and the majority of the funniest moments had already been shared through the advertisements. However, there is a surprising depth to the movie in the unmasking of Timberlake's character's family. The comedic bits are also charming and as my wife pointed out were enchanting for they were real and not slapstick silly jokes. The majority of the scenes were grounded in reality, which made me the viewer more involved.

Following the movie I began thinking of other recent romantic comedies. The past decade has been quite strong for this genre, much like the quickly approaching over-saturation point for zombie flicks. Many of these flicks have received mixed reviews, if not booed off the stage all together. I think many of the films in this genre have been too harshly reviewed and some have not received the attention that they should have.

An example of what I am talking about is Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher as a retired hit-man who falls in love with Katherine Heigl. This again is a predictable movie, but what I believe the critics miss out on is that the movie is fun. It is not an Oscar caliber movie, but it is fun with entertaining action scenes that are buffered by corny and sometimes witty dialogue. A movie such as this would have swept in the 1980's, and in the past few years of doom and gloom international news a movie such as this should be devoured by the public who yearn for something light-hearted that can transport them away from. Movies with a slightly darker tone of humor have fared much better than Killer. These movies are predominantly of the Judd Apatow creation, such as Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I would never putt Apatow in the same class as John Hughes, but he has undoubtedly been the king of the field in romantic comedies over the past decade.

Perhaps my favorite romantic comedy of the past decade is 500 Days of Summers, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in the top 5 best actors of the past 10 years) and Zooey Deschanel (huge potential and has a great voice in her popular folk band, She & Him). The movie reminds me of Annie Hall in that it is understated, filled with dry humor, has an epic scope, and features impeccable acting within an equally impeccable script. The movie is the dark horse of the past decade and one of my favorite romantic comedies ever, ranking up there with Annie Hall (of course) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 500 is also a fantastic movie because it feels real. The plot direction is erratic at times and takes the viewer in directions that they don't always want to enter but know to be true and faithful to the characters. The movie was released in 2009 and received a healthy amount of attention but I feel it deserves more. This should become a seminal movie and I wonder if it will someday be added to the list of cult favorites like Annie Hall and 16 Candles.

Okay, that's the end of my rambling.

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