Archives for posts with tag: romantic comedies

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of posts that highlight storytelling techniques repeatedly recycled in film. I’ll post a link to these within some of my reviews in order to save words and keep from driving myself crazy writing the same thing over and over.

Frequently used in romantic movies, particularly teen films. The film’s star pretends to be something they’re not (rich if they’re poor, nerdy if they’re cool, sometimes hiding their race or sex, etc.). Either they’re doing it to impress a love interest or they meet cute with the love interest while masquerading for some other reason. The plan works until the masquerader is eventually exposed, to the disappointment of the love interest. From there, the film typically engineers a way for the masquerader and love interest to patch things up, with the masquerader having learned a little something about themselves (aww).

If you like rom-coms, how about a rom-dram? Broken people are brought to a Texas farm to search for their missing pieces in “The Lost Husband” (2020). While the b-list, TV-ish stars (Leslie Bibb, Josh Duhamel) and a key plotline (widowed, suburban mom is thrown together with hunky, divorced farmhand) would seem ripe for the standard hijinks, the laughs are muffled by layers of mourning, secrets, dysfunction and mournful secrets about secret dysfunction. Ready to cry yet? Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of opportunities. Pleasant surprise: ex-SNLer Nora Dunn holds the story together in a controlled performance as Bibb’s aunt.

There’s a comfort-food satisfaction about a rom-com – if the actors in it are decent enough. Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. are decent enough, and “New in Town” (2009) is like a sweet bowl of tapioca. Supporting cast Siobhan Fallon Hogan and J.K. Simmons are more than decent enough and what is basically an empty-calories, color-by-numbers story (career-minded female executive is fish out of water at rural Minnesota food processing plant, what with the townsfolk’s Flyover Country ways and all, but everybody learns a little something about themselves, yada, yada, yada). Like scrapbooking and other hobbies, it’s time well wasted.