Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Meg Cabot on Why Guys Don’t Watch Rom-Coms
By Meg Cabot
Straight guys won’t go see a “romantic comedy” (or any movie featuring a female main character, unless it’s Megan Fox) unless they’ve been dragged to it by their significant other (or their mom).
This is why, for every one Bridesmaids, we have four Die Hards, four Terminators, four Pirates of the Caribbean, three Transformers, and two Hangovers. I have seen all seventeen of these films (plus Bridesmaids), so I know the real reason they were so successful isn’t because men don’t enjoy a good romantic story. Strip away the roofies, explosions, and talking robots and at the heart of each of the above franchises is a hero who will do anything to protect (or get home to) the woman he loves.
No one, for instance, was handing out a free promotional Bridesmaids action figure with the purchase of a meal at Burger King, the way they did with Transformers 3. Most of the pre-release buzz surrounding Bridesmaids was, unfortunately, about how funny it was . . . for a movie written by and about girls.
We couldn’t get in. In the few theaters where the film was playing, every seat had been sold out, for every showing, for the entire weekend. This was pre-Facebook (it was in the days of Altavista), for a film that had had very little promotion. It was just a “rom-com,” a chick-flick. Worse, it was rated G.
Anne Hathaway did this (with the help of Julie Andrews) not once, but twice (in The Devil Wears Prada, with the help of Meryl Streep), both films based on books, not toys or theme park rides.
This isn’t to say movies with exploding talking robots, roofies, or pirates shouldn’t be made. I would never say that, because I’m a fan of those films as well. I just think we need to be honest and admit that all of these stories, like all of us, have something in common: We all yearn to watch others fall in love, as we have; struggle to find themselves, as we have; and of course be publicly humiliated by an adversary, and tortured by a domineering matriarchal figure, as we have.
So why not just admit it, and give us our damned action figure?