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10 Things I Hate About You Julia Stiles Heath Ledger
10 Things I Hate About You Julia Stiles Heath Ledger
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Culture > Entertainment

What Happened to Rom-Coms?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

Romantic comedies are often an overlooked film genre. They’re written off as boring, cliche, or cheesy, and made fun of because women are the target audience. These criticisms aside, romantic comedies have given us some of the most fun, unique movies ever, many of which still have a huge impact on culture today.

So why aren’t the rom-coms released now hitting the same way?

The 80s, 90s, and 2000s birthed many bold and enjoyable romantic comedies — Love Actually, 10 Things I Hate About You, 13 Going on 30, and so many more — that are still highly regarded and talked about consistently. These films have provided us with iconic fashion that’s extremely fun to copy; Halloween never lacks a cute, pink power suit to mirror Legally Blonde‘s main character Elle Woods or classic, plaid two-pieces in honor of Cher and Dionne in Clueless. They’ve also given us so many quirky one-liners that the limit does not exist to how many things we can quote (See what we did there?).

Paramount Pictures

But when you look at the movies we’ve seen recently, they lack that same sparkle. Fashion today is a hodge podge of different things from other decades, so the looks don’t stand out because we’re used to seeing them so often. The films aren’t quotable because it feels like the scriptwriters are either trying too hard to seem funny and relatable, or they aren’t trying enough, so everything just falls flat completely.

Of course, another reason they don’t feel the same is because the times are just different. The jokes people made then don’t land the same way now, and the things that were popular in past years obviously don’t have the same significance today. Producers and directors want to keep up with recent pop culture and trending topics, but as we mentioned before, they tend to do it in a way that seems either overdone or completely lazy. The overuse of slang and social media comes off very cringy, and it feels like watching your parents try to stay on trend with our generation, and in this new age of social justice, writers try a little too hard to seem “woke” and educated, that it just comes off as a little bit….superficial and awkward.

It’s also safe to say that filmmakers have shifted toward trying to make award-winning films rather than making films just for pure fun and entertainment. There was once a time when we were getting romantic comedies left and right, but now the movie market is currently dominated by superhero films, biopics, remakes, and think pieces that you have to watch multiple times to understand. And don’t get us wrong, we love to sit down and enjoy a good Marvel movie or A24 film every once in a while, but it seems like romantic comedies have not been as much of a priority for Hollywood as they used to be.

We’re also lacking the same star-studded casts we used to have. Movies like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve had some of the most exciting, albeit random grouping of actors ever — no other film genre has given us Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner playing high school sweethearts (seriously, go watch Valentine’s Day if you haven’t already!). Today’s movie castings are still full of huge, A-list actors, but for some reason, the buzz just isn’t the same.

And we’re not bashing the new rom-coms that have been released. In fact, recent years have provided us with some real gems. To All the Boys l’ve Loved Before, Plus One, and Crazy Rich Asians are great examples of some new-age romantic comedies that hit the mark perfectly. But a lot of these recent films lack that sparkle. The internet talks about them for a while, and then everyone moves on. The movies just don’t stick. The older movies were so iconic that Ariana Grande inspired her record-breaking, award-winning thank u, next music video after several of them. Not only this, but the movies also get makeup lines, board games, and other cool novelty items.

Ariana Grande dressed as Regina George from Mean Girls

Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but a lot of these newer films are not up to par with what we’ve seen in the past. However, at the end of the day, the romantic comedy genre still remains one of the best. No feeling is the same as cuddling under blankets with your friends at a sleepover, getting ready to giggle and swoon at whatever grand gesture the male lead does to woo the girl. They’re great at lifting your spirits after heartbreak as you sit in front of the TV with some ice cream, and they’re great fuel for daydreams and romanticizing your future. Hollywood is just going to have to get itself back on track and get the genre back to where it used to be.

Gabby Floyd is a fourth year Special Education major at UGA. She loves social justice, Olive Garden breadsticks, and Spider-Man movies. In her free time, she's usually reading, binge watching Glee, or making niche Spotify playlists.