Favorite Romantic Comedies

Below is a list of my favorite romantic comedies in chronological order: 

FAVORITE ROMANTIC COMEDIES

1. “It Happened One Night” (1934) – Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert won Oscars in this Best Picture comedy about a newspaper who escorts a runaway bride to her husband from Miami to New York. Oscar winner Frank Capra directed.

2. “The Awful Truth” (1937) – Cary Grant and Irene Dunne co-starred in this screwball comedy about the machinations of a soon-to-be-divorced couple, that go to great lengths to try to ruin each other’s romantic escapades. Leo McCarey directed.

3. “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) – Howard Hawks directed Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in this wild and funny tale about a scientist winding up in various predicaments involving a woman with a unique sense of logic and a leopard named Baby.

4. “The Lady Eve” (1941) – Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda co-starred in this funny and sexy tale about a beautiful con artist who falls in love with a bumbling millionaire. When he dumps her after learning the truth about his profession, she comes back into his life, disguised as an English aristocrat in order to torment him. Charles Coburn and William Demerest co-starred.

5. “The Palm Beach Story” (1942) – Preston Sturges also wrote this hilarious tale of a young wife who decides to raise money for her inventor husband by leaving him and finding a millionaire as a second husband. Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee and Mary Astor co-starred.

6. “Pillow Talk” (1959) – A man and woman who share a telephone line end up despising each other, until he decides to have fun by romancing her, disguised as a Texas millionaire. Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall co-starred in the first of their three films together in this Oscar winning comedy.

7. “Lover Come Back” (1962) – Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall reunite in this slightly more raucous comedy about advertising executives from rival companies who become embroiled in romance and deceit. Stanley Shapiro earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay.

8. “French Kiss” (1995) – Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline are hilarious in this tale about an uptight woman with a fear of flying, who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé, but gets into trouble when the charming crook seated next to her uses her for smuggling. Timothy Hutton and Jean Reno co-starred.

9. “Kate and Leopold” (2001) – Meg Ryan, Golden Globe nominee Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber and Breckin Meyer co-starred in this charming story about a 19th century English duke who travels through time from 1876 New York to the present and falls in love with a career woman in the modern New York.

10. “The Ugly Truth” (2009) – Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler co-starred in this surprisingly funny and raunchy story about a Sacramento morning show producer who is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love. His clever ploys, however, lead to an unexpected result.

“KILLERS” (2010) Review

 

 

“KILLERS” (2010) Review

Before the 2010 summer movie season had began, I saw the previews for two movies about an innocent blond woman that becomes entangled in the life of a super spy. One of them happened to be a movie that was released around the same time – ”KNIGHT AND DAY”, which starred Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. The other is the romantic action comedy that stars Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher called ”KILLERS”

Directed by Robert Luketic, ”KILLERS” is about an over cautious American woman named Jen Kornfeldt who meets a mysterious stranger, while vacationing with her parents in Nice, France. After a whirlwind romance, Jen and her new beau, Spencer Aimes, get married; despite her father’s reluctance. Three years later, Jen discovers two things – someone has placed a $20 million dollars contract on Spencer’s head and that he is a former spy/assassin. Apparently, Spencer had become disenchanted with his profession and gave it up after meeting Jen. Despite her anger over her husband’s deception, the pair spend a harrowing day trying to avoid the series of assassins after him and discover the identity of the person who had placed the bounty on Spencer’s head.

It is possible that I had been wrong to compare ”KILLERS” with the recently released Cruise/Diaz movie. I now realize that the film’s premise and plot bore a strong resemblance to the 2005 movie, ”MR. AND MRS. SMITH”. And as much as I hate to admit this, I believe that this is not a good thing. Despite being a first-rate movie, ”MR. AND MRS. SMITH” ended on a weak note. Unfortunately, ”KILLERS” suffered from the same fate – but on a bigger scale. In fact, I would probably say that the movie’s last twenty minutes managed to spiral into a weak and rather silly finale. Too bad.”KILLERS” had begun with such promise.

Screenwriters Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin did a solid job with the movie’s first half – which featured Jen and Spencer’s first meeting, the latter’s attempted hit on a target picked out by their boss, a look into their marriage after three years, and Spencer’s birthday party. It ended with an exciting sequence that featured Jen walking in on the first assassination attempt on Spencer inside their living room and her discovery of his past profession. But once other assassins (pretending to be neighbors and Spencer’s co-workers) began appearing one after the other, the movie became a parody of itself. It eventually took a serious nosedive and ended on a weak note when Jen and Spencer learned the identity of the person behind the hits.

There is one positive thing I can say about ”KILLERS” is that it has a top-notch cast. Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher made a pretty solid screen team. Mind you, I found their chemistry rather awkward during Jen and Spencer’s courtship phrase. But once the pair became more truthful with each other, the sparks began to fly and the chemistry between Heigl and Kutcher became a lot stronger. And judging from what I have seen on the screen, I believe that Kutcher should seriously consider working in more action movies.

Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara gave interesting performances as Jen’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kornfelt. Selleck was completely in character as a humorless and controlling man. And O’Hara provided plenty of humor as his long-suffering wife who not only loves him, but deals with his controlling personality with heavy drinking. Martin Mull shed his comic persona to portray Spencer’s intelligence boss, Holbrook. And he gave an impressive performance as a ruthless, manipulative and morally questionable man. To my utter surprise, my favorite performance belonged to a U.S.M.C. Reserve officer/comedian/actor named Rob Riggle. He gave a hilarious and first-rate performance as the Aimes’ witty and slightly crude neighbor, Henry.

I wish I could say that I loved ”KILLERS”. Honestly. It had a solid cast. The two leads – Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher seemed to have a solid chemistry. And the movie’s first half struck me as promising. But Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin’s screenplay ruined that promise with a second half that sank and ended with a great deal of silliness and on a weak note. Not even Heigl, Kutcher or Robert Luketic’s direction could save it in the end.

“THE UGLY TRUTH” (2009) Review

”THE UGLY TRUTH” (2009) Review

Romantic comedies – at least those I have personally found entertaining – have become increasingly difficult to come across in the past decade or two. In fact, I can honestly say that I can count at least five or six romantic comedies that I have truly liked during this period. And recently, ”THE UGLY TRUTH” became one of them. 

Directed by Robert Luketic, ”THE UGLY TRUTH’ told the story of Abby Ritcher, a romantically challenged producer of a television morning show named with slowly declining rating. In an effort to boost ratings, her manager hires a cynical and slightly crass television personality named Mike Chadway, who gives seemingly chauvinist comments about love and marriage to boost ratings. The two commence upon a rocky relationship. But when Abby falls for her next door neighbor, a handsome doctor named Colin, Mike persuades her to follow his lead. She agrees to his helpful advice and if he can get her the man she wants, proving his theories on relationships she will work happily with him. But if Mike fails, he agrees to quit.

I might as well put my cards on the table. I really did not expect ”THE UGLY TRUTH” to be entertaining. But much to my surprise, it was. And most of the entertainment came from the screen chemistry that generated between Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. On screen, the pair was a basket of firecrackers, as they traded barbs, looks and kisses between each other. Heigl gave a deliciously funny performance as the uptight Abby, who stubbornly refuses to give up her ideal views on romance and especially in what she construed as the perfect man. And Butler was a hoot as the cynical, crass and yet witty Mike, whose views on romance and both genders came off as refreshingly honest.

Both Heigl and Butler were ably supported by a solid cast. Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins were hilarious as Georgia and Larry, the married co-anchors of Abby’s morning show, whose marriage was saved by some blunt advice given by Mike. Bree Turner gave a sly performance a Abby’s assistant, Joy, who lived vicariously through Abby and immediately sensed the chemistry between the latter and Mike. Nick Searcy provided stability to the cast as Abby’s no-nonsense manager, Stuart, whose decision to hire Mike would change Abby’s life. The only bad apple in the bunch came from Eric Winter’s performance as Colin, the object of Abby’s desire. Let me be clear . . . Winter did not give a bad performance. He simply had the bad luck to be saddled with a dull and one-dimensional role created by the screenwriters.

Robert Luketic did an excellent job of not only generating hilarious and first-rate performances from his cast. He also did justice to the screenplay written by Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith and Nicole Eastman. And I must commend the screenwriters for creating a hilarious and entertaining romance. But I am also amazed that three female writers managed to avoid indulging in constant male bashing jokes (I said constant, for there were a few) and reveal that both men and women are guilty of bringing their own particular baggage to relationships. As I had stated earlier, their only misstep was the creation of the Colin character. Surely they could have created a more interesting rival for Abby’s heart.

Most critics gave ”THE UGLY TRUTH” mixed reviews. Some claimed that Heigl and Butler had no chemistry. Others claimed that Lutz, Smith and Eastman’s screenplay did not live up to the leads’ talent. They are entitled to their opinions. But I prefer to form opinions of movies on my own. And as far as I am concerned, I found ”THE UGLY TRUTH” – especially Heigl and Butler’s performances – to be very entertaining.