This week I had a piece at Daily Life, The Sydney Morning Herald’s women’s site, about the rise of the self-help romantic comedy:
What to Expect isn’t the only rom com to be based on a self-help book. In 2009, we had He’s Just Not That Into You, based on the book of the same name (which was itself based on an episode of Sex and the City). In 2012, we witnessed the cinematic adaptation of Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, the best-selling dating advice book by Steve Harvey, a man who’s been accused by one of his ex-wives (oh yes, he has more than one) of emotional abuse.
To a lot of people, romantic comedies are mindless, escapist fluff. They’re something you watch when you want to laugh a little, cry a little, and not think a lot. But I take romantic comedies seriously, because I think that like a lot of popular culture, they both reflect and shape our ideas about some of the most important things in life: love, sex, work, and what it means to be a man or a woman in this culture. Romantic comedies teach us a lot, and because they’re so entertaining, we rarely notice that we’re learning. They are the cinematic equivalent of a spoonful of sugar – and social norms are the medicine.
You can read the rest here.