I'm writing my seventh romantic comedy at the moment and have recently had my first foray into the UK bestseller list with my new paperback, Wickham Hall and over the past four years I hope I have learned a little about the elements necessary to write a successful romantic comedy. Firstly, the genre is romantic comedy, not pure comedy. The humour element needs to feel natural, not forced, and although I do love a bit of situational comedy, most of my comedy comes from the things my characters say.
The setting is very important to me. Sometimes the setting is based on a real place; for example, Wickham Hall is loosely based on Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire and sometimes it is purely in my imagination, such as my current work in progress.
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Once I know where I'm going to set my book, I begin to develop a premise. For example, with Wickham Hall it started out as this: a girl gets her dream job as an events organiser in a stately home but away from work, her challenging home life is far more difficult to organise…. Getting my main characters right is the thing which I spend most time on the the planning stage.
At this point, it doesn't matter to me what they look like - that can come later - but they absolutely must be compelling and interesting, even if not entirely likeable. In the skin of a very competent romantic comedy, it is slickly directed by Chu, whose strength in making champagne on a beer budget lies not in the objects on display in and of themselves, but in the color correcting and cinematography by Vanja Cernjul. Overboard Director: Garry Marshall. Hawn and Russell make it work, and that alone is enough to make this version as opposed to the film starring Anna Farris worth a spot on this list.
Tootsie Director: Sydney Pollack. Can you imagine how audiences and critics might react to Tootsie if it came out in theaters today?
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You can just picture this film getting lambasted today for making a joke out of homophobia and for having the gall to ask viewers to sympathize with the plight of an actor who has to dress as a woman to find work. Lara Jean and Peter get together because of a lie, sure, but their intentions toward each other are never anything but pure, and their reactions when trouble hits, never vicious. This sweetness works because, like Johnson et al. Desk Set Director: Walter Lang. Of the nine movies Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made together, Desk Set may not be the most well-known, but the romantic comedy was almost shockingly ahead of its time.
Ricky is a town beauty, known for her outspokenness, wit, fashion sense and being trans.
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The connection begins as a simple and effortless friendship, but both girls find their mutual interests and understandings quickly morph into something more. We tend to unconsciously politicize transgender films, but Boy Meets Girl dodges that bullet entirely. Love, Simon Director: Greg Berlanti. Love, Simon was not the first queer teen movie though it was being touted as if it was , and it was not even the first queer film to explore digital identities, but the film is nonetheless of interest because of the way that it uses digital spaces to project who Simon wants to be and and what Simon wants gay desire to look like.
Love, Simon is one of a few very recent queer films that has its protagonist use the internet to imagine who they could be, or who they think they should be. Their mutual point of magnetism: They both like fiction books. Nevertheless, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi was one of the first Hindi films to focus on a madcap comedy and romance angle, with the drama and action taking more than a backseat in the meandering plot. The story involves three brothers Brijmohan, Jagmohan and Manmohan who run an auto repair shop, played by three brothers in real life: Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar.
After being jilted in love, Brijmohan counsels his younger brothers never to trust women. Enter damsel-in-distress Renu, played by the luminous Madhubala, whose car breaks down one stormy night. Manmohan fixes her car, and the pair fall in love. Fortunately, Manmohan and his brothers intervene, and after a bout of boxing, the three brothers are united with their loves. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi features classic songs that are hummed to this day, slapstick comedy and brilliant chemistry between the lead actors. Backward, and wearing high heels.
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Or in this case, saddle shoes. Obvious Child Director: Gillian Robespierre. Above all else, Obvious Child is a compassionate film. That might strike pro-life viewers as odd, even offensive, to say since this romantic comedy-drama features a main character getting ready to have an abortion. That the movie also manages to be funny and incredibly sweet is a small marvel. In fact, as the film opens, she walks off stage from a small Brooklyn club to discover that her boyfriend is leaving her for her friend.
Thrown into depression, Donna alternates between stalking her ex and trying to turn her misery into standup material. Obvious Child seeks to rethink the typical twenty-something romantic comedy. The setup is almost a parody of the scenario usually visited upon a sad-sack protagonist: Not only does Donna lose her boyfriend, she also discovers her job is ending, leaving her in a state of total limbo.
Touching on a red-hot issue, Obvious Child is agreeably gentle, and even wise. Beginners Director: Mike Mills. Christopher Plummer is absolutely smashing as Hal, a man coming out late in life after the death of his wife, Georgia Mary Page Keller. Told in flashbacks from the s up to , Beginners demands total concentration from the viewer. For Hal, this means coming out as both a gay man and as a bit of a partier; for Oliver, this means finally growing out of an extended adolescence and understanding how to love someone else even when loving is painful. For queer people, many of whom end up experiencing both of these realities, the film will particularly hit home.
Beginners deserves to be recognized as a classic of queer cinema. Scott Pilgrim vs. Shaun of the Dead just happens to have zombies and Hot Fuzz just happens to have two males as its romantic leads. In this way, Scott Pilgrim vs. Just as in a musical, where characters start singing when emotions run too high, Scott Pilgrim dishes out videogame-style duels whenever emotional conflict comes into play. As heightened as Scott Pilgrim may seem at times, its undertones are all too relatable. Priceless Director: Pierre Salvadori. Her best-laid plans begin to go awry as she develops feelings for a man of average means.
She is, as usual, sincere in her delivery—even when she is delivering a sincerely superficial character. She also plays an amazingly convincing drunk, which some of the best actresses of our day ahem, Kate Winslet , ahem have been unable to accomplish. One of the best films to come out of this new wave was this heartfelt and sweetly funny film, co-written by its stars Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen.
Bull Durham Director: Ron Shelton.
And yes, I too believe there should be a Constitutional Amendment banning Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in Bull Durham. The most engaging presentation of the minor-league life on film—and a pretty salute to baseball, in general—this first installment in the unofficial Kevin Costner Baseball Trilogy proved that baseball could equal big box office. While You Were Sleeping , a throwback romantic comedy in the screwball mode, is impossible not to like, a standout of the genre that holds up more than two decades after its release.
Lucy takes tokens from and pines for well-dressed lawyer Peter Callaghan Peter Gallagher before—long story short—he ends up in a coma. Keith Eric Stoltz is an earnest working-class kid who wants to be a painter and whose dad is very, very determined that he get a college education. Even today, Bollywood actresses tend to play second fiddle to their male counterparts, so Kajol who goes by her first name never quite got the same glory. Twenty years on, Bollywood films continue to invoke DDLJ as an epitome of romance, with young actors trying to recreate their own versions of Raj and Simran.
Set partially in London and partially in Punjab, India, DDLJ was one of the first films to specifically target an Indian diasporic audience with a story that stays true to Indian traditions such as respect for your elders, while also advocating young lovers to follow their heart. A win-win situation! Raj and Simran accidentally meet on a train trip across Europe. After a couple of cute confrontations, sparks fly between the two. He befriends the prospective groom, and slowly wins over all the family members with his shenanigans. A hit soundtrack, lovely visuals of India and abroad, and a leading couple that charmed their way into its audiences, all contribute to DDLJ being included in all sorts of Bollywood lists.
Jeffrey Director: Christopher Ashley.
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Based on a play of the same name, written by Paul Rudnick, this charming and witty little morsel tracks the efforts of its titular character Stephen Weber as he attempts, at the peak of the AIDS crisis, to avoid any and all relationships, sexual or otherwise. It also serves as a reminder of why seeking connection and affection in the faces of such trials is so important. Patrick is initially paid to charm Kat as a part of an elaborate scheme by Cameron Joseph Gordon-Levitt to take out her younger sister, Bianca.
Roxanne Director: Fred Schepisi. Roxanne is one of those smart comedies that seems to effortlessly balance complex, often serious themes of romantic attraction, self-esteem, intelligence and the art of conversation with hilarious pratfalls, physical comedy and sight gags. And, of course, the reverse is hardly ever depicted.
But it was never meant t ok be an especially complicated movie. The premise is simple, the setting is gorgeous and the cast is perfect. Notting Hill Director : Roger Michell.
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You collide with a guy in the street, and he spills orange juice all over you! Life is ruined! But wait a second. Darkly funny but sweet-natured, Lars is a small treasure. No stranger to romantic comedies, Hugh Grant delivered perhaps his best performance ever in About a Boy , a different kind of rom-com. Through his relationship with a young teenager, Grant subtly transforms from notorious womanizer into, well, a man capable of loving the beautiful Rachel Weisz. Shakespeare in Love Director: John Madden. The setup is almost a parody of the scenario usually visited upon a sad-sack protagonist: Not only does Donna lose her boyfriend, she also discovers her job is ending, leaving her in a state of total limbo.
Touching on a red-hot issue, Obvious Child is agreeably gentle, and even wise. Beginners Director: Mike Mills.
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Christopher Plummer is absolutely smashing as Hal, a man coming out late in life after the death of his wife, Georgia Mary Page Keller. Told in flashbacks from the s up to , Beginners demands total concentration from the viewer. For Hal, this means coming out as both a gay man and as a bit of a partier; for Oliver, this means finally growing out of an extended adolescence and understanding how to love someone else even when loving is painful.