A good romantic comedy is one of the best types of film.
I spent hours driving backwards and forwards to London and then halfway across Hertfordshire and back (to a meeting that didn’t happen. When someone says, we’ll meet in Costa coffee in Hoddesdon – and then doesn’t think to say, oh, there are two Costa coffees, make sure you get the right one – so that you drive for forty minutes in torrential rain and heavy traffic just to arrive at the wrong one, with the prospect of another forty minutes in torrential rain coming back, and the satnav gives up the ghost so that you end up driving nearly to London – again! – anyway, that was yesterday. Then I was up at five a.m writing today, and it’s cold and grey outside. So curling up in a chair with a bar of chocolate and a quilt wrapped round me and watching one of my favourite romantic comedies of all time – a couple of after-lunch blissful hours!
So … Baby Boom.
JC (Diane Keaton) is a glossy corporate exec, known at work as ‘the tiger lady’. She works an eighty hour week, and is about to be made partner; but as her boss informs her, ‘You can’t have it all.’ Well, this was the eighties, when it was acceptable to ask a female executive if she planned to have children and refuse to promote her if the answer was ‘yes’; so when JC unexpectedly ‘inherits’ a baby, it throws her eighty-hour working week into turmoil and loses her not only her partnership prospects but also, ultimately, her job. So far, so amazingly politically incorrect. But wait! – luckily, JC has long dreamed of going off to live in Vermont in a gorgeous big house; so off she goes with baby Elizabeth and spends her days fighting with the dishy local vet and making organic applesauce.
In a non-rom-com, Diane Keaton would sue the pants off her bosses, have a nervous breakdown, lose her home to negative equity… whatever. But this is the glorious thing with a good romantic comedy – it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense! It doesn’t matter that it WOULD NEVER HAPPEN in real life. Of course it wouldn’t – who cares??? Time and relative dimensions in space are thrown to the four winds. This, to me, is the mark of a true romantic comedy; it can gloss over the ridiculousness of events and I don’t care! But if I find I do care … if I am pulled back to consciousness by even the tiniest hint in my brain that I am being totally manipulated by the director – then, forget it!
Apart from a little too much Diane Keating signature hesitant murmurings and u-huh comments and sideways glances under her fringe – that apart, it has everything I think a great romantic comedy should have. Gorgeous houses, gorgeous locations – am a sucker for picturesque New England small town locations, especially if filmed in autumn leaves or snow - gorgeous clothes, ridiculously easy solutions to seemingly impossible life challenges. And in this case, the most adorable baby.
So over the next few days I am going to be musing on the perfect romantic comedy. Any suggestions would be welcome! Let me know your best – and worst! – romcoms!
Oh by the way, chocolate of choice is still one of my absolute favourites – Choceur, from Aldi, one of the best chocolate bars ever (and I ate a LOT of chocolate in Brussels and then ran my own chocolate shop for a while, so I reckon I know good chocolate!) Haven’t seen this one before – salted pretzel in milk chocolate. Delicious!!