Doin’ What Comes Natural Natually

PhD research can lead you to a couple of interesting places. As you Biteyites know, I’m examining roles, representations of age, and non-traditional romance heroines. Part of what I investigate involves  applying conventions and certain constraints–the do’s and don’ts of romance–upon romance and romance heroines.

Y’all know I’m a total sucker for a romantic comedy like Bringing Up Baby. Rom Com, It’s what I write, what I read, and what I like to watch at the movies. If a rom com book doesn’t live up to my expectations, I’ll skim through it looking for the rom and the com, and if it fails to be either, I’m not likely to finish it. However, movies are different. I’ll sit through crapfests like The Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth waiting, believing that at some point the romance and the comedy will kick in. I watched The Ugly Truth (right up to the end credits) dismayed that the scene with the vibrating underpants never reached beyond unimaginative, cheap, 13 year old boy humour, which is pretty odd considering I’m also a total sucker for 13 year old boy fart and poop humour.

While I’m on the subject of The Ugly Truth, before I go any further, allow me a moment to digress. Since I mentioned The Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth as examples of doody, let me give Hollywood producers a quick head’s up. Gerard Butler. Please, for the love of sweet Mother Mary, keep him out of rom coms! You want to give the guy a love interest? Use his talent properly and put him in something passionate, sweaty, noir-ish, and hard-boiled–the way women would really appreciate seeing him.

Back to what I was saying…While I’m more likely to toss a book aside, I’ll watch a rom-com to the very end. I’m committed even if it looks like an absolute turd of a film from the start. Ever seen the Matthew Perry-Salma Hayek romantic comedy Fools Rush In? It’s a film where I expected turd and wound up with a sparkly, little brown diamond instead. Fools Rush In is a sweet little rom com, an underrated rom-com if you ask me. It goes like this:

Alex meets Isabel in Vegas. They have a one night stand. Isabel winds up preggers and they wind up getting married. As you can guess (with the lovely Latina, Salma) there winds up being a clash of cultures involved in making the marriage work.
Yes, it contains the It’d-never-work in-real-lifegirl-gets-knocked-up-after-one-night-
stand-marriage
convention, but the chemistry between the likable leads, combined with Matthew Perry’s comedic timing, make the groan-worthy cliche work. The result is a charming little movie, which

curiously fits in with my PhD–in a roundabout about way.

While researching like a good little PhDer, I came across Paperback Writer (pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2009/02/heroine-no-nos.html), a blog that touted the Ten Things your Romance Heroine Should Never Do. It says stuff like

 

Do not allow the heroine to handle condoms;
A heroine does not use swear words;

A heroine never goes to the bathroom in front of the hero.

I thought I’d hit real genre constraint gold–but that was only before I realised the blog is tongue-in-cheek. So let’s go back to on that says, ‘the heroine never goes to the bathroom in front of the hero.’ Upon reading that, Fools Rush In immediately popped into my head because the movie contains two very, very important things. First, the film has THE best romantic film line EVER:

"You’re everything I never knew I always wanted."
 

Sigh….Doesn’t that just sum up the delightful messiness of love? Anyhow, next, there’s a scene where Isabel (Salma) is on the toilet in front of Alex (Matthew). And yep, she even wipes.

AND flushes!

Well, isn’t that just how life is? Isn’t that just how love is? Fools Rush In was made in 1997 and I think we’re a little behind in the times. C’mon Oldbitey, I hear you say, ‘what the hell is the big fat point all this is leading up to?

I’m sayin’, if there are as-nature-intended potty-going scenes in a rom com made fourteen years ago, I’m betting the world is ready for as-nature-intended middle-aged heroine who cusses like a drunken stevedore and has sex scenes on the page and screen. I’m sure you are ready too.

There’s just one more thing. Hey, Hollywood! Couples Retreat? So NOT a rom com!

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