Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

June 23, 2009

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Love is in the air, apparently

Kim Hollis: 2009 has already seen Bride Wars, Confessions of a Shopaholic and especially He's Just Not That Into You become hits. Adding the success of The Proposal, why is this year so ripe for romantic comedies?

Brandon Scott: Perhaps something to make you laugh in a rougher economic time/ more difficult world period, but I have to wonder, are these marks really out of the norm? I mean, Shopaholic really didn't make too much of a mark, and if I recall that was viewed as more disappointment than hit. None of these are watershed blockbuster comedies like Blart or Hangover, so I don't see this as any specifically "ripe" time.

Josh Spiegel: Romantic comedies are always well-received if they're done right. The Proposal had plenty of great buzz and solid enough reviews, so it did well. I'm curious to see how well next month's The Ugly Truth does, as it's also a romantic comedy (though its stars haven't been working as long as Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) that has been advertising for months. Still, the only one of those previous romantic comedies to do even marginally well as He's Just Not That Into You; The Proposal could end up being a fluke.

Scott Lumley: Intriguingly, I didn't really agree with the premise of the question, so I went and looked it up. Kim's right, it has been a bumper crop of romantic comedies this year. Last year coming into this time frame, the only things that really come close to this type of film are Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Juno, Made of Honor and Baby Mama, and two of those films have very little to do with traditional romance.

I think really this may just be a case of all things being cyclical. 2008 was the year of the superhero. 2009 is the year that cinema got in touch with its feelings.


Jason Lee: Anyone willing to buy into the "bad economy = need for escapism" theory? The idea that people are looking for simple, unadorned films that bring a little happiness into their dealing-with-this-crappy-home-equity-loan lives? Could explain some of what we're seeing from the romcoms as well as films like Blart, Hangover and Up.

Max Braden: In the past I've attributed the tone of movies to the current presidential administration; action movies in the '80s, more dramas in the '90s. I don't know if I'd yet link the light fare this year to Obama, or say that down economies drive people to the movies, but I could believe that the Keep It Simple Stupid approach is working for people under stress from the chaos in the economy.

David Mumpower: With regards to the comments by Josh and Brandon describing the successes of the films in question, you have to make comparisons relative to genre. Confessions of a Shopaholic and Bride Wars combined to make over $100 million. Are they Transformers-sized hits? Of course not. Are they savvy moneymakers for their studios? Absolutely yes. With regards to He's Just Not That Into You, its total is in the $95 million range. That's exemplary for a romantic comedy. With The Proposal apparently headed in that same direction and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past standing as another $50 million winner, this has been a banner year for the genre to date. With regards to the causality, I too fall in line with the thinking that escapism is in right now. A romcom is a much cheaper date and we're in a time of getting back to basics in this regard.

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