No Ordinary Love Story: The Subverted Romantic-comedy in (500) Days of Summer and Friends With Benefits

The mainstream romantic-comedy has steadily become saturated with genre conventions and narrative devices that seem to have shaped audience expectation. A formulaic love story that relies on certain narrative hooks and character details that become almost interchangeable. This is made more noticeable by the sub-genre trends that seem to overlap as they reflect current attitudes – think the few rom-coms released in 2010 that centred on artificial insemination. The films do not not disappoint rather they play out just as suggested in the trailer. While every genre has its conventions, two recent romantic-comedies Friends With Benefits (Gluck, 2011) and (500) Days of Summer (Webb, 2009) seem to bring attention to, and in some cases overtly criticise, the tendencies of the genre. Most importantly though both films offer the promise of no ordinary love story…  and both films break that promise.

In Hollywood

Recently more films have been challenging the conventions of the romantic-comedy genre, moving away from the uniform portrayal of heterosexual, Caucasian, materialist archetypes. The anomalous box-office success Bridesmaids (Feig, 2011) was viewed as a breakthrough for depicting stronger more rounded female characters – perhaps an affectation of actually being written by women. Although this film challenged certain Hollywood clichés and stereotypes it also appeared to reinstate and reaffirm others – such as the heterosexual, Caucasian materialist. (more…)

Sibling Rivalry: Brothers and Brodre

In the ‘How-to’ guide of film snobbery, claiming that “the original is better than the blockbuster” is a good way to set you out from the crowd as a true lover of cinema. Especially when the original is a little-known, foreign film – in which case, efforts must be made to constantly refer to the original title: extra kudos for applying an accent where necessary. So in the wake of Let Me/The Right One In (or Låt den rätte komma in for those paying attention), I have taken another recent example of Americanisation and provided an unbiased comparative study…though I have tried my utmost to flaunt my own film-snobbery.

brodre poster