There is no movie genre more maligned than the romantic comedy. If you don't believe me, tell someone that you just can't get enough of rom-coms the next time you are asked about your favorite movies and watch a blend of incomprehension and disgust cross the other person's face. Harsh? Maybe, but according to an Op-Ed in The New York Times by Maureen Dowd, there's a very good reason for it: romantic comedies are dead, and Hollywood killed them. In a conversation with film writer Sam Wasson, the two take a moment to mourn the shift in the romantic comedy landscape that has gone from the golden age of the '30s and '40s to He's Just Not That Into You.
But maybe the problem is that in the 'good old days' of the '30s and '40s, there wasn't really a rom-com genre ... technically. The great directors mentioned in Dowd's piece -- Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch -- were two directors known for directing comedies -- screwball comedies to be exact. Their movies may have had a romantic streak a mile wide, but they were more than that. These movies were witty, smart, and you could enjoy them without being all 'hearts and flowers' about it. Modern day rom-coms bear little resemblance to their ancestors -- they aren't smart, they aren't witty, and they certainly aren't very romantic and it seemed like the moment we put the 'Rom' into the rom-com, the films were pushed into the girlie ghetto and stayed there ever since.