Love and Laughter!
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 10 2012, 12:02 am
by Anna Campbell
Are you a romantic comedy fan? I am
I must admit to being disappointed with a lot of the recent romantic comedies I’ve seen. They just don’t have the zing of something like ROMAN HOLIDAY or BRINGING UP BABY or PRETTY WOMAN.
But then my faith in the genre was restored by two films I really enjoyed and have since watched multiple times with increasing pleasure. Now, that’s saying something! So I thought I’d talk today about MY LIFE IN RUINS from 2009 and LEAP YEAR from 2010.
What’s interesting is that neither film received a particularly favorable critical reception in Australia. Both were criticized because they didn’t do anything original with the rom com formula. Which makes me think the po-faced critics are missing the point. I don’t watch a good romantic comedy to be surprised. I know where it’s going – that happy ending with a big sigh of satisfaction from me, if I’m lucky. It’s a bit like people criticizing romance because it contains the tried and true elements of the genre. These silly peeps don’t realize that one of the reasons we read romance is that we know there’s a guaranteed happy ending after all the trials and tribulations. That’s not a fault of the genre. That’s one of its greatest attractions.
Both of these films are very heroine-centric, particularly LEAP YEAR. Both films have clever, dynamic women on the verge of making huge mistakes in their lives. And when love hits our heroines, it comes from unexpected directions and it takes courage to follow where love leads. I always love that theme – finding happiness where you least expect it.
Actually now I think of it, these films have other things in common. Both of them succeed on the charms of the cast. Nia Vardalos is lovely in Ruins (snort, I’m sure she’ll be even lovelier once she’s restored and habitable, too!). I liked MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, especially the first half. I found the second half too close to some of my own family occasions to be completely comfortable with all the mayhem, but I enjoyed MY LIFE IN RUINS more. Amy Adams is such a wonderful actress and she does a convincing portrayal of the heroine in Year who changes from brittle self-sufficiency to someone you would love to have as a friend. Both girls end up matched with quite gorgeous heroes. Declan (the extremely yummy Matthew Goode) in Year plays a more dynamic role in his film than Poupi (don’t ask) in Ruins, but I must say I watched Poupi’s transformation with awe, and at the end, couldn’t get over how much Alexis Georgoulis looked like a Harlequin cover model.
Both films are road movies, covering a journey that turns out to be life-changing for our heroines. Georgia, our Greek-American heroine in Ruins, feels she’s wasting her education and her talents by working for a two-bit tour company in Athens. She agrees to escort one last tour group around the sites, determined to return to her academic career in U.S. after that. Anna, our Boston Irish heroine in Year, recklessly sets out for Ireland to propose to her self-centered surgeon boyfriend on 29th February, an old tradition. Both women find their journey takes them in surprising, occasionally uncomfortable, new directions and leads them to people (not just the hunky heroes) who will change their views of the world. And finally, the journeys lead to true love. Awwww!
Both these stories have so much heart and charm, they’re the sort of films that leave you with a big smile on your face at the end. Both have lovely love stories, appealing characters, glorious scenery and lots of eccentric secondary characters to add spice to the mix. If you want a couple of feel-good movies, I highly recommend them.
So have you seen LEAP YEAR or MY LIFE IN RUINS? If so, which hero would you rather leap into the local ruins with? As a sucker for a British accent, I’ve got to say for me it’s Matthew Goode by a nose, although I wouldn’t kick the other guy out of my Parthenon either. Any other rom coms you’d like to recommend?
Posted in Anna Campbell, Inspirations, Leap Year, movies, My Life in Ruins, romantic comedy