Recently, Hollywood movies have tried to back away from the cliche and typical plot lines of boy meets girl, they fall in love, break up and get back together. Instead, some movies have opted for a storyline that takes place after the couple is already in love. Even though most of these movies end with the couple together, the story is about the boy and girl staying in love, rather than falling in love.
Most critics argue romantic comedies have no worth because they are unrealistic. In "The Ugly Truth" Katherine Heigl's character calls a local cable host, who then turns out to be the new host of a segment she produces on her morning news show. In reality, that would most likely never happen. But in a world where coincidences become love stories, this is a typical occurrence.
To combat this problem, movies have become more realistic. "(500) Days of Summer" is more about a breakup than a love story, and "The Five-Year Engagement" is about a couple who can never quite get the timing perfect. Instead of taking place in unreasonably pricy apartments in expensive New York City, these movies choose a modest city or a modest apartment that would be more believable for the income of the two main characters. Although these movies have aspects of reality to it, they fall into traps, especially with the plot.
Two movies in the past year have challenged the romantic comedy plot line all together. "Friends with Benefits" and "No Strings Attached" give two people a physical connection before showing the emotional one. This is also a more realistic approach because often relationships start that way. However, in the end, the movies fell trap to every other romantic comedy out there.
One movie that abandoned the classic Hollywood ending, was "The Break-Up". The breakup occurs within the first few minutes of the movie. The rest of the movie follows the former couple as they fight over who will keep their shared apartment. During her "Inside the Actors Studio" interview Jennifer Aniston, who starred in the movie, said she had to fight hard to keep the ending, in which the couple stays broken up. However, the movie did not get great reviews. It was called an "unsatisfying experience" on Rotten Tomatoes.
Even though some movies have tried to break away, they still have a happy ending. The viewer is left to believe that the character is better off without his or her former lover. I believe movies will continue to try breaking away from the typical plot. But these movies are made to satisfy the viewer with a happy ending - and that will never change.
Below is an interview with University of Florida student Kelsey Branz who has studied and researched romantic comedies. The first clip is her take on Hollywood's attempts to breakaway from the typical formula (0:46) and the second is her opinion of breakaway films (0:44).