About six and a half hours from now, I'm heading for the airport, whence I'll fly to Chicago for a belated anniversary/Valentine's weekend with Mary Anne.
(I have to note my level of sacrifice here. Here in California, spring has more or less arrived. Sunshine, flowers, the works. But the weather report tells me that over the course of the next four days, the high temperature in Chicago is going to be 32. Mary Anne's response? "Wow, it's gonna be warm--we'll even be able to go outside!")
One of the activities Mary Anne suggested for the weekend is watching a bunch of romantic comedies. She suggested that we just go to the video store and pick up whatever catches our eye, and that's probably what we'll do. But in the meantime, it occurred to me to ask friends for recommendations for romantic comedies, and I was kinda startled by what they said.
To me, "romantic comedy" is a genre; my idea of the genre roughly matches that Wikipedia article. Four Weddings and a Funeral is by far my favorite. My other two favorites--Love Actually and Two Weeks Notice (both of which I first saw with Mary Anne)--also star Hugh Grant, but he's neither necessary nor sufficient to make me love a romantic comedy. (I think Mary Anne liked Two Weeks Notice less than I did; she also liked Maid in Manhattan (which I saw around the same time) much more than I did, which wouldn't be hard.) Others I've liked quite a bit (but I'm not sure all of them quite count) include When Harry Met Sally, Shakespeare in Love, Pretty Woman, and Music and Lyrics (there's that Hugh Grant again). And there are a bunch of movies that are very solidly in the genre but that I didn't especially like, such as Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill (I think? Don't remember it very well), and Must Love Dogs.
Now, my definition of "romantic comedy" is somewhat flexible. I'm not sure, for example, whether I would count Wizard of Speed and Time, Moonstruck, Chasing Amy, The Object of My Affection, or Better than Chocolate, all of which I like quite a lot. And although I wouldn't put screwball comedies in quite the same category as romantic comedies, I can see that they're somewhere in the same general ballpark. (Likewise with John Hughes-style teenage sex comedies. I think Clueless, for example, is probably somewhere on the border of the romantic-comedy genre for me; I'd have to think about it more.) Still, there are plenty of movies that are both romances and comedies but that don't, for me, fit the particular genre boundaries of a romantic comedy.
Anyway, I was pretty startled when one friend (hi, N! I apologize for the following, and I hope it's clear that this is meant as teasing rather than mocking) suggested Juno. The ensuing conversation went something like this (exaggerated for comic effect):
Me: Interesting--I hadn't realized that was a comedy.
N: Well, I guess it isn't, not exactly.
Me: Well, and I hadn't realized it was a romance either.
N: I guess it isn't really a romance either. But it's really good!
Anyway. So I asked another friend, whose first off-top-of-head romantic comedy recommendation was Star Trek IV.
Clearly my friends don't quite have the same associations with the term that I do.
Anyway, other recommendations from friends (hi, D & J! and E, but E doesn't read my journal as far as I know) included Gaudi Afternoon, The Tango Lesson, My Beautiful Laundrette, Gun Shy, Bull Durham, Crossing Delancey, and Groundhog Day.
I've only seen a couple of those; some I'd call romances, some comedies, some neither, but the ones I've seen (all of which I've liked) don't feel to me like they fit into my idea of the romantic comedy genre; they don't have the structure or tone of romantic comedies to me. But as we keep seeing, genre definitions are tricky, and my definitions don't always match other people's.
So now I'm curious: What romantic comedies would the rest of y'all recommend?
I don't know whether we'll end up renting or watching any of them, so this isn't specifically a question about what M and I should watch this weekend. (And anyway we aren't actually limited to only watching romantic comedies per se.) I just thought it might be fun to see what romantic comedies y'all like in general--and, in the process, get a sense of what people's definitions of that term are.
And now I'd better finish packing (luckily, I'm nearly done) and go to sleep, 'cause I gotta get up in about five and a half hours.