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January 26, 2009


Nick: Very random comment: I read and appreciated your 0-star review of New in Town. My question: Can a genre be completely devoid of quality? I feel as if the internet contingent has determined that horror, comic book and family-aimed animation movies can have significant value (see The Incredibles, Dark Knight, Wall-E, Sin City and all of the 80s horror movies that have been revised to greatness), while romantic comedies cannot. Romantic comedies can top out at three stars, at best. I recently saw Ghost Town, a film, mostly due to Gervais’ and Leoni’s performances, that I enjoyed immensely. So, why can't something like Ghost Town be in someone's Top 10? It's one of the best romantic comedies in the last few years, but apparently critics have decided that the romantic comedy genre does not have any artistic merit. Perhaps you remember the scene when Tea Leoni notices that Gervais still has a tag on his shirt, a shirt he bought to impress her; it was a fairly honest moment. I’d be interested to know if you had any thoughts as to why [i]all[/i] romantic comedies are treated as garbage.

I think one of the main problems with rom-coms is that they're almost always made by personality-free nobody directors who adhere to stale formulas so diligently and unimaginatively that there's no room for charm, or wit, or excitement - much less actual romance. Having sat through more than my fair share over the years, it's stunning how many are not only dim-witted and graceless, but just carbon-copies of each other.

That said, I think there are rare exceptions, such as Ghost Town, which struck me as formulaic but still reasonably charming and touching. And I do believe it made Stephanie Zacharak's Top Ten list at Salon.com, so not everyone, contrary to the way it sometimes feels, simply dismisses them outright.

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