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They had this article in the SMH yesterday about how romantic comedies are ruining people’s love lives, which is apparently called the “Notting Hill Effect”. Now, as a single person who does happen to watch a lot of romantic comedies, I thought I would read it to see exactly what they based their study on. Turns out that 100 people watched Serendipity (mmm…  John Cusack) and another 100 watched some unspecified David Lynch movie. Then the people were surveyed and found to be  more optimistic in their views about love if they watched Serendipity than the other movie. Doesn’t say exactly how much difference there was. I suppose I’ll need to read the original study to find out.

The story also goes on to state that there are four different types of romantic comedy plots: Opposites attract, pick me, class warfare and secret identity. I have a few issues with this. Firstly, they list Pride and Prejudice as an example of opposites attract. Don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that Pride and Prejudice is not a romantic comedy. Romantic, yes. Comedy, not so much. Not that there’s anything wrong with Pride and Prejudice. I love the BBC miniseries and have seen it in full too many times to count. My sister thinks this may be why I am still single. She thinks the time may have been better spent out talking to men instead of drooling over Colin Firth. I disagree. Any time spent drooling over Colin Firth is time well spent. Doesn’t mean I would want to go out with a guy like Mr Darcy though. Also, I thought it would have better fitted into the class warfare category. The other issue is that most romantic comedies overlap these plots. You’ve Got Mail, for example, has both opposites attract and secret identity.

Let’s think about some romantic comedies now. Sleepless in Seattle. Now, I really like that movie, but the plot is just terrible. Think about it. Meg Ryan is engaged to the perfectly nice, if slightly dull and very allergic Bill Pullman and ditches him after tracking down a guy she heard telling a story on the radio??  This had all of the makings of a stalker movie! And Tom Hanks doesn’t find this remotely odd and ends up with her? Umm, right. If people are basing their fantasies of what their love life should be like on this movie, they have serious problems. Fatal Attraction would probably be a more accurate description of what’s going to happen if you follow that path.

I think probably the most realistic romantic comedy would be When Harry Met Sally. At least in that one, the relationship develops over several years and has a few hiccups on the way. And I can completely understand someone not being attracted to Billy Crystal straight away. I mean, he’s funny, but he’s not the most physically attractive guy ever. I know that’s not the only thing that counts in a relationship, but in terms of immediate attraction, it certainly helps. Most guys I’ve dated haven’t been the best looking people ever (sorry to any ex’s who may be reading this!), but I got to know them over a period of time and became attracted to them because of their personality. So, for me When Harry Met Sally gets a big thumbs up.

Overall though, romantic comedies are not remotely realistic and shouldn’t be treated as such. If a guy declared his love for me within a week of meeting me, I’d run a mile. I think most chicks would do the same. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to watch a movie about it though.