I saw one of those computer-generated movies today. I don’t mean INCREDIBLES or SHARK TALES… I’m talking about HITCH, of course. It’s the "romantic comedy" starring Wil Smith and Kevin James that may be the first movie written entirely by a computer. It sticks to all the formula story elements and, of course, has the obligatory expository best friend, the effeminate gay friend, the father figure boss, and, the number one cliche of all, the romantic lead character who is either:
a) a writer (novelist or journalist)
b) in publishing (books or magazines)
c) in advertising
Can’t screenwriters (or the software that churns out these bland romantic comedies) think of any other careers for their characters? It is possible for people to live in NY or LA and not be in one of those professions. But you wouldn’t know from these movies:
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (she’s a writer)
SOMEONE LIKE YOU (she’s a writer)
AMY’S ORGASM (she’s an author)
SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE (she’s a writer)
AS GOOD AS IT GETS (he’s a writer)
YOU”VE GOT MAIL (they are both booksellers)
NOTTING HILL (he owns a bookstore)
WE LOVE TROUBLE (they are both writers)
NEVER BEEN KISSED (she’s a writer)
DOWN WITH LOVE (she’s a writer)
13 GOING ON 30 (she’s a magazine editor)
HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN TEN DAYS (they’re both writers)
BRIDGET JONES (she’s an editor)
BRIDGET JONES II (she’s a journalist)
ONE FINE DAY (he’s a writer)
KISSING JESSICA STEIN (she’s an editor)
ALEX AND EMMA (he’s a writer)
And those are just a few, off the top of my head. I’m willing to bet there are twice as many others that fit the same, tired mold (One or both lead characters are writers, in publishing, or in advertising). Come to think of it, it works like that in TV, too. Remember the spate of simultaneously airing romantic comedy sitcoms… SEX IN THE CITY, SUDDENLY SUSAN, JUST SHOOT ME, NAKED TRUTH… all about women journalists?
Hollywood writers have to get out in the world more…
And the software they are using to "write" romantic comedies needs serious tweaking. Then again, HITCH made $45 million last weekend, so what do I know?
2 thoughts on “Computer Generated Romance”
A few exceptions to help prove the rule:
While You Were Sleeping – She works in a tollbooth, he in his father’s estate furniture business. (He then becomes an entrepreneur, building his own furniture.)
Two Weeks Notice – He’s a real estate developer, she’s a personal assistant.
Laws of Attraction – both lawyers.
Turn Left, Turn Right – She’s a translator (okay, it’s a publishing job), he’s a violinist who can only get work as ambient music in a restauarant.
Needing You… – She’s an office worker, he’s an executive in the same company.
(I cheated, the last two are Hong Kong movies.)
I used to believe Hollywood needed to quit letting people under 30 write for television and movies (and I was 28 when I came to that realization), that they should make sure a potential scriptwriter held a job other than writer (and well away from show biz) for at least five years, preferably outside the LA area.
This sort of confirms that notion, even though I don’t think the over 30 restriction holds. I DO think Hollywood needs more writers who don’t have show biz backgrounds or come from other parts of the country (besides New York. Or how about other parts of New York besides Lower Manhattan?)