“Why Are Romantic Comedies So Bad” by The Atlantic’s Christopher Orr

Katherine Heigl—who I, for the record, have never had a problem with, though I’ve not often loved her movies—and Gerard Butler—who I like to think of as Gerry—in The Ugly Truth

Christopher Orr is one of my favourite voices in film criticism. It’s rare that I disagree with one of his reviews, and if I do, I often find myself swayed by the grace of his argument.

Here he examines the recent collapse of Hollywood’s Romantic Comedy genre. I’ve certainly been noticing the grim collection of formula romcoms produced by the big studios, sometimes populating my Worst Of The Year lists, though didn’t pick up that there wasn’t an entry in cinemas this past mid-February. That’s especially telling.

All that said, I’ve also noticed that there’ve been a few great indie romcoms in the past year—Orr mentions two I liked, Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom, though not Your Sister’s Sister (probably on the edge of comedy and drama) or Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (clearly Emily Blunt has become the stealth queen of the genre, which I’m totally OK with). If fresher entries to the genre are being produced on the fringes or outside the studio system, I’m down with that, too.

Here and here are Orr’s further thoughts on the subject, mostly in response to other writers taking issue with many of his remarks. All fascinating stuff.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.