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That's Your Problem. You Don't Want To Be In Love. You Want To Be In Love In A Movie.

By Courtney Enlow | Miscellaneous | August 26, 2010 | Comments ()

By Courtney Enlow | Miscellaneous | August 26, 2010 |


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I would like to preface this by telling you I have not yet seen Going the Distance. I've heard opinions ranging from "it's complete dog shit" to "it's really good." So I feel comfortable in my expectation level of "cautiously hopeful."

This hopeful feeling is not limited to the film itself. If Going the Distance truly blows, then so be it, it's just another lame rom-com. But if it's good, then maybe it could mean less lame rom-coms.

I'm going to come out to all of you right now. I am a lover of the good romantic comedy, sometimes fairly and sometimes unfairly deigned as "chick flick." I love The Apartment, The Philadelphia Story, When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones' Diary, While You Were Sleeping and The Proposal and Fever Pitch and Muriel's Wedding and The Wedding Date and I own it and I don't care what you think except I kind of do so please do not have stopped reading by the time you got to While You Were Sleeping.

Those are the movies I genuinely love and enjoy. There's probably another seven or so that I find watchable, your Legally Blondes and Just Friends and Serendipitys.

The rest I cannot and will not abide and I wish horrible pox and festering sores upon their makers.

First we must define categorically what constitutes a romantic comedy, what constitutes a chick flick, and what is often exempt from these designations. A romantic comedy can, in fact, be enjoyed, without embarrassment, by men and women. This will include Wedding Crashers and most of the Apatow movies. "Chick flicks" tend to also have a romantic element (unless they are about friendship or family, then they are apt to include a death element). These tend to be the worst of the bunch, often due to studio interference (Baby Mama, Spring Breakdown) or just due to being an awful awful idea (Bride Wars -- which apparently also suffered from studio interference --- most movies featuring Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Heigl or Jennifer Lopez). Teen comedies tend to share elements of both genres, which already have a great deal of overlap, and still remain generally enjoyed by both genders.

For some reason, comedies with a romantic element geared toward females are usually PG-13. This is odd, considering some of the most beloved films in the genre(s) are rated R (Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally and arguably the model for the modern romantic comedy, Annie Hall, would have most likely been rated R if released today). Somewhere around Sleepless in Seattle, studios decided to go for that all-encompassing PG-13 to reach a wider audience, and things just kind of stayed that way.

How many R-rated comedies can you think of that are geared towards women? One of the only ones that comes to mind was apparently such a disaster that they never tried it again. Until now.

The poor reviews that I've read for Going the Distance all seem to be echoing the reviews from The Sweetest Thing. That the gags are dirty and embarrassing for the cast, that the language tries too hard to be shocking, and that it's trying for gross-out humor in the vein of frat-tier, guy-oriented movies like Knocked Up.

First. I don't understand why the Apatow movies are considered so He-Man Woman Hater's Club by critics? I mean, Leslie Mann, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, et al, they were all saying the same words as their male co-stars, and the movies are equally enjoyed by both genders in my experience. Hell, I liked Knocked Up more than my fiance. Who's a man. And a former frat boy. Shock and awe. Second. Who are these delicate flower bitches these critics know? Because me and my friends? We talk about sex and periods and penises and we use that awful dirty language that apparently upsets the fragile sensibilities of the people bothered by this movie so far. And that doesn't make us filthy bad girls. It makes us people. Just like the guys that talk the same way in "their" movies are just people.

There does not need to be a painted line down the room of movies. Girl movies don't need to be PG-13 and clean. We can handle it. So my hope is this: if Going the Distance does well, maybe they'll give us more movies with people talking like we talk.

I realize this is akin to saying, "Inception did well so now all movies will be smart," but maybe it will at least open a door. I'm tired of the notion that because I'm a girl, I put blue hair dye in my friend's shampoo bottle, need a special Irish holiday to ask my boyfriend to marry me, need to pick coins out of a fountain to land a man, and will go out of my way to ruin my best friend's engagement so I can steal him from his fiancee, but heaven forbid I say "fuck" more than the one allotted time.

Maybe Going the Distance really is shit. But it's shit that lets the girls say "fuck" a lot, and sometimes that's something I can get behind.

Follow Courtney Enlow on Twitter, and read her other stuff at HoboTrashcan.com.


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