In film genres, few are seen as lazier and more formula reliant than romantic comedies. In the 1990s rom-coms were everywhere, but audience interest in the genre has waned at the box-office.
Romance on film instead has taken more dramatic turns offering both challenging films that garner awards, or soft-pedalled formula efforts which Nicholas Sparks seems to have cornered the market in. Rom-coms themselves have mostly moved to TV where they’ve evolved into a smarter and more grounded affairs.
One of the more ubiquitous stars of the genre in the 2000s was Matthew McConaughey, who did no less than five rom-coms over eight years including “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “The Wedding Planner,” “Fool’s Gold,” “Failure to Launch ” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, McConaughey admits that despite what people think – rom-coms are offer a challenge one doesn’t necessarily experience in more dramatic roles in that they have to essentially ignore reality:
“They are thin, by design. You come in on a cloud and you skip from cloud to cloud, and if you drop anchor in a romantic comedy, you will sink the ship. If it’s a scene where boy meets girl and I get really mad for a second, uh-uh, cut. ‘You can’t get mad because we won’t believe you can make it back.’ That’s how it goes. No, no, no.
What’s easier about a drama is that: with every question, you can hang your hat on what would this character humanly do? You’re looking for reality all the time. You don’t go pining for reality in a romcom. You’re supposed to stay up there and bounce.”
McConaughey effectively turned his back on the genre at the end of that decade starting in 2011 with a string of critical successes like “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Bernie,” “Killer Joe,” and “Mud” before the ‘McConaissance’ as its dubbed which gave us “Magic Mike,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and peaked at “True Detective”.
McConaughey’s less well received “Gold” is currently in cinemas.