Pilar Alessandra discusses the different paradigms that make up romantic comedies.
1) I DON’T LIKE YOU, BUT I LOVE YOU
These typically involved two people who can’t stand each other being forced together and realize that they actually love each other. Their low point occurs at the end of act 2 when they are torn apart just as their feelings for each other blossom. As in all romantic comedies, they are reunited during act 3. ” The Ugly Truth” is an example of such a film.
2) LET’S MAKE A DEAL
Two people in a platonic relationship feign a true relationship due to circumstances but subsequently fall in love. They are forced apart at the end of act 2 by the very circumstances that brought them together. During act 3, they must reassess their rules to stay together. Examples of such films include “Friends With Benefits”, “The Proposal” and “Green Card”.
3) UNREQUITED LOVE
This refers to movies of one-sided love. One partner follows the other in the misguided belief that they are their perfect match. By the midpoint they get together and everything seems fine. By end of act 2 they realize they’re not right for each other and should have pursued the people they thought were unsuitable. Examples of such films include “500 Days Of Summer” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary”.
4) YOU’RE PERFECT FOR ME. WHERE DID YOU GO?
This refers to films where the love interests fall in love at first sight. Circumstances force them apart for a period of time. They spend act 2 waiting/ searching for each other and succeed, only to be separated again at the end of act 2. Ultimately they reunite during act 3. Examples include “Serendipity”.
5) CHALLENGING THE ALPHA
This refers to the nebbish guy who needs to prove himself as a worthy suitor to the superior alpha males. The male could be two guys after the same girl or a father protecting his daughter. Happiness and family loyalty is tested during these films. Normally a compromise is struck between all parties and love reigns supreme. Examples of such films include “Meet The Parents” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.
6) WHY IS SHE WITH ME?
This are coming of age stories combined with romantic comedies. Typically an immature, out of shape loser has a platonic relationship with a girl. She inexplicably likes him and wants a more substantial relationship. The guy lacks confidence and sabotages the relationship. They break up at the end of act 2. The guy has an epiphany during act 3 and wants her back and usually succeeds. Examples include “Knocked Up” and “Shallow Hal”.
7) I DON’T KNOW YOU, BUT YOU’RE THE ONE
Two people not know each other very well, or are estranged, pursue separate story goals. They eventually notice each other and make an unsuccessful attempt to get together. They are separated at the end of act 2 and reunited during act 3. Examples include “Crazy, Stupid Love”.
8) THE BIG PLAN
These films refer to people or a group determined to get laid after a pact or bet. They set out, but the person wants something more substantial during act 2 after they achieve their conquest. They fall apart at the end of act 2 when the love interest finds out the truth. During act 3 the main character convinces the conquest that they’ve matured. Examples include “Wedding Crashers” and “He’s Just Not That Into You”.