So we have coming out this week The Ugly Truth, a romantic comedy that is to be avoided at all costs. Currently at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, this stinker follows in the tradition of last year's horrific Made of Honor (12%), which I had the misfortune to catch the first fifteen minutes of last weekend. During said first 15 minutes, we got not one but 3 jokes about fellatio. Someone dressed as Bill Clinton at a costume party made a joke to three women dressed as Monica Lewinski (it was a flashback to the 90's). A few scenes later, Michelle Monaghan is found bobbing her head in a way that made it look like she's going down on a painting of St. Stephen. Lastly, we get Sidney Pollack in his last-ever film performance negotiating the number of monthly blowjobs he can expect from his wife-to-be.
There's bounds of, ahem, taste that we've crossed over, methinks. And I suppose it would be quite another story if the jokes were funny. But they're not, they're just crude. These two both seem to fail in the same way: trying to spice-up a standard issue rom-com and failing miserably at being either romantic and comedic.
Now, I don't automatically hate romantic comedies. I can enjoy them, so long as the comedy is funny and the romance feels genuine (it doesn't hurt if the female lead is super girl-next-door cute). I own and regularly watch several such films, and since (500) Days of Summer hasn't made it's way to St. Louis yet, I thought it might be fun to recount some of my favorite rom-com's that most husbands (or boyfriends) wouldn't mind taking in with their significant others.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall - just to spite the first few paragraphs, this film is proof that you can have penis jokes and still be funny. Also, there's a Dracula musical with puppets.
Music And Lyrics - Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. When you need a neurotic woman who can fall in love with a smarmy Englishman, accept no substitutes. The music is fun, the dialog is witty, the chemistry is very palpable, it's like two hours of charming and entertaining warm fuzzies.
While You Were Sleeping - a reason to fall in love with Sandra Bullock. Once in a while it steers too close to cheap underwear jokes (cheap jokes, not cheap underwear), but this film is mostly driven by all-to-familiar familial banter.
Sabrina - not the funniest movie in the world, but it has lots of great moments, like a drugged-up Greg Kinnear asking "Sareeeeena" if the dry-cleaner has her car. Also, Julia Ormand is distractingly attractive for two-thirds of the movie.
Ghost Town - I really didn't want to like this movie. I'm not a huge fan of Ricky Gervais, and the premise did nothing at all for me, but it's so well executed that you can't help but like it. And the ending line is great, a widow tells a dentist that it hurts when she smiles and he says he can help her with that. It could easily have been cheesy, but it really stuck with me.
50 First Dates - I don't like Adam Sandler movies either, but this one is more or less endearing, thanks largely to the lovably neurotic Barrymore. I borderlines stupid at times, but at the end of the day, the good far outweighs the bad.
Down With Love - a brilliant lampoon of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedies. Also, apparently it was the costume designer's dream come true. And there's a song-and-dance at the end.
Runaway Bride - the unofficial sequel to Pretty Woman, but it's much lighter and sweeter. That is, there's less prostitution. And the dialog is snappy and fun, like when the bride jumps a FedEx truck: "Where do you think she's going?"; "Wherever it is, she'll be there by 10am tomorrow morning."
Bonus: That Thing You Do! - not a rom-com strictly, but it's very funny and the love story is a major part of the plot. Early Steve Zahn, who has some of the most quotable lines on film.
There are plenty more that I've either forgotten or just haven't seen. Feel free to comment if I've omitted your favorite.