I guess I consider myself a romantic comedy connoisseur. Maybe even an expert or possibly an aficionado, for sure a snob. More than just casual 'date night' entertainment, I expect a lot from my romantic comedies and Nora Ephron (oh, add name dropper to the list), Julie & Julia's writer and director, almost always delivers.
The worst thing about being an expert about anything is when it's done badly, it's pure torture to watch. Let's say you were really, really into, I don't know, blowing bubble gum bubbles and you are forced to, no, have to pay to watch someone doing it all wrong, or not the way you would do it--making a sticky mess with small careless, unacceptable bubbles. That is what it's like for me when I watch a bad romantic comedy (Like any movie Jennifer Aniston has made...pick anyone.) Luckily, Julie & Julia is a good movie. A great one, with exceptions.
Larry was one of three men in the almost full theatre when we went to see it last week. I suppose being a chick movie about cooking gave this movie a one-two punch that even a cameo of Jason Bourne concocting a Molotov cocktail from one of Julia's discarded olive oil bottles couldn't dodge. But, even without that, (I think brilliant image) Larry enjoyed it. He's like that, all big and tough, but he will nudge me in a movie and say things like "That's just like you," "Cute dog," or "I like that kitchen."
Nora Ephron is the master of romantic comedies: When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle...you get the idea. She is absolutely my romantic comedy idol (and very funny) and she has made this movie sweet and likable even with its flaws--like making Julie less adorable and more whiney and dreary.
There were so many things in this movie that were so Ephron; the way Julie holds her ranch-dipped carrot as she talked, the mix of '40s jazz and modern music, the manner that Paul (Julia's husband) asks her if she really wants to make hats, and even blatant lines from her other movies, "You're right. You're right. I know you're right" is straight out of "When Harry Met Sally."
The best test of a good romantic comedy is if the next day you still feel a residual warm, golden, syrupy sweetness in your heart that you can't quite pinpoint, but makes you want to throw your arms around your husband and laugh at his silly ways when he forgets to run the dishwasher, again. A great one should make you feel your heartbreak is part of some super corny, yet noble global sorority, not alone in your bedroom watching a movie on Lifetime at 1 a.m. They should leave you happy, hopeful and quoting memorable lines for years to come.
My top five romantic comedies:
Other Amateurish Reviews by Me: