RIP “Meet-Cute:” Are Romantic Comedies Going the Way of the Dinosaurs?

by Kat Hamilton



In a recent Hollywood Reporter article, Tatiana Siegal discusses how the formula for the Romantic Comedy is dead. The Meet-Cute is the blanket term for that age-old, quirk-filled scenario of boy meets girl: she trips and falls in his lap/ she leaves her book at the coffee shop where he works/ they meet in a mall and she turns out to be his parole officer, etc.


Siegal suggests that mainstream movie audiences are no longer interested in seeing the meet-cute formula as made famous in movies like When Harry met Sally. This disinterest in rom-coms effects studio funding for the already struggling films and their usual slew of talent (Katherine Heigl, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore). 


Disclaimer: I have never really been enamored of Romantic Comedies. I tend to prefer the blood, guts, and nuanced social commentary of Horror Movies.


But, I don’t like the idea that there will be a day where we can’t walk into a dark movie theatre and live vicariously through an imperfect but somehow perfect love story. It’s inspiring to see a love that’s fated in the stars play out before you, ending with that movie magic kiss.



Last night I was on a train, and I met someone. We locked eyes, nervously giggled, and finally struck up conversation. I walked home with fuzzy butterflies in my belly, and although my life is not a rom-com, I briefly experienced why so may people have connected with these films. There is a sliver of truth in the formula, something we have maybe lost sight of with social media and dating sites diluting our trust in the meant to be.


Yes, we still have our tragic love stories, our heart-wrenching dramas, but I would miss the kooky Annie Hall heroine if she were to suddenly cease to exist.


“Audiences aren’t tired of romance; they’re tiring of formulas,” says director Michael Sucsy. “There is still a demand, and there always will be, for fresh and innovative stories that are smart and nuanced.” The trouble, he says, “has arisen from the fact that easy marketing and original stories seem to be working at cross-purposes — high-concept loglines might be easier to sell in a 30-second ad, but that doesn’t mean they make better movies.”


It has something to do with an audience that is over-saturated. The general public is not hungry for an intimate portrayal of two people in giggly “like.” “When Harry Met Sally” spoke to an audience who wanted to have hope that maybe they would find love through a string of seemingly fated scenarios. 



Modern audiences might relate better to, “You’re cute. Follow me on Twitter and maybe we can get drinks next Friday at 6 o’ clock.” In some ways, movies like Bridesmaids or the much anticipated To Do List follow with a more realistic formula. Sometimes guy meets girl (or girl meets girl), but someone is dissatisfied. 

It’s refreshing to see more realism, but I don’t think it should mean the total erasure of idealism. I am not ready to lose the romance completely. Because if we are getting real, the romance is still a big part of our society. Some people will never stop looking for love, but those butterflies might be an endangered species in American tummies. 


Thanks to Hollywood Reporter

Image via Do You Remember, Portable and The Guardian

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