Romantic Comedy in the Post-Romantic Age

This Valentine's Day we look at how the rom-com has evolved for today's (multifaceted, cynical, dynamic, complicated) romantic age

After “Happily Ever After”: Romantic Comedy in the Post-Romantic Age

ed. by Maria San Filippo Wayne State, 2021
282p, 9780814346730 $92.99, 9780814346747 $34.99, 9780814346754

After "Happily Ever After": Romantic Comedy in the Post-Romantic Age book cover

One truth espoused by the contributors to this collection of provocative essays is that the cinematic romantic comedy of the past is dead, if not quite buried. The present, the reader is assured, is a post-romcom age. Yet people still like to laugh, and romantic relationships will always be a source of humor. So, what then? Reimaginings and reconfigurations, many of them happening on serial television. Instead of boy-meets-girl romances, one has girl-meets-girl, boy-meets-boy, group-meets-group, and a plethora of old-man-meets-old-woman romances, the last of these ably discussed by Betty Kaklamanidou. The traditional three-act structure of the genre has been reworked, as in Richard Linklater’s Before … trilogy, in which each of the three films, made ten years apart, corresponds to a traditional act (discussed by James McDowell); or as in the television sitcom where act 2 may last for years before the happy ending. Or, the happy ending may be the back story for a comedy of breaking up (Deborah Jermyn). Much of this is overladen with a self-reflexive cynicism, born of a “crisis of intimacy” (Beatriz Ortiz). This volume offers much to enjoy and much to ponder.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
W. A. Vincent, Michigan State University
Subject: Humanities – Performing Arts – Film
Choice Issue: Feb 2022

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