With Valentine’s Day looming expensively on the horizon it seems as good a time as any to remind ourselves that the secret to any successful relationship is compromise. For without compromise, where would we be? Sat alone in yesterday’s pants, subsisting on execrable microwave meals that would probably taste better on their way out than on their way in, and, once a miserable year, singing “happy birthday to meee…” through a viscous curtain of snot and tears, that’s where. Wherever possible, it’s clearly best to avoid this.
Never has compromise been of greater import than when selecting a film. One half of the relationship might quite like to spend eighty minutes ogling Matthew McConaughey’s torso, in a film in whereby an interchangeable actress is thanklessly acted off the screen by Matthew McConaughey’s torso, while the other half may be partial to watching Jason Statham roundhouse kick someone’s face right through the back of the telly. Hostilities seem inevitable; it’s a veritable minefield of impending and inevitable pant-sitting.
In this, the month of love, a compromise must be reached, and lucrative brownie points can be earned if a chap amicably suggests a romantic comedy. With this in mind, it’s comforting to know that there are plenty out there that can be enjoyed by men as well as women.
10Forgetting Sarah Marshall
A film that opens with its protagonist weeping naked in his kitchen perfectly demonstrates how men deal with rejection (see: quite poorly). Jason Segel’s efforts to get over his titular ex eventually see him kop off with Mila Kunis in Hawaii – fine, it’s not exactly realistic, but it is extremely funny.
Don’t let the artsy-fartsy praise heaped upon it put you off – this wonderfully understated platonic romance-of-sorts between jaded celebrity Bill Murray and a disillusioned Scarlett Johansson is brilliant, regardless of whether you’re a fan of Audrey Niffenegger or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Plus, anything with Bill Murray’s worth watching by default.
The mere presence of Spike (Rhys Ifan’s bumbling, semi-nude Welshman) elevates what could otherwise have been another pleasantly perfunctory Richard Curtis-penned romcom into something much finer. If you can withstand Ronan Keating’s insipid warbling, that is. Which is one almighty ‘if’.
Steve Carrel’s Andy believes the best way to ‘relinquish his flower’ is to take the advice of his boorish mates who, like all men, could write everything they know about the fairer sex on the sides of their shy, unused penises. The result? A film with nudity, crudity, and an undeniable heart of gold.
Yes, our heroes eventually learn that true love is better than wanton fornication, and YES, there’s a wholesome moral to the story, blah, bleurgh, etc. Before any of this, though, Wedding Crashers is parties, shagging, laughs and Isla Fisher. Women will appreciate the destination, while men can enjoy the journey.
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Besides the growing and distracting realisation that Zooey Deschanel’s Summer might actually be a bit of a dick, 500 Days of Summer is a superb, original quasi-love story. Director Marc Webber twists genre conventions, eschewing familiar tropes for unhappy endings, a non-chronological narrative and a refreshing dollop of truth. Awful, bitter truth.
This Ah-mirken adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel sees John Cusack forlornly dissect his past breakups through a prism of nostalgia, self-loathing and relentlessly excellent music. The very definition of ‘A Rom-Com For Men’, even Jack Black (as muso-snob extraordinaire Barry) is great in it. It’s worth seeing for this anomaly alone.
Gore! Farts! Swearing! Zombies! Brraaains! Yes, Shaun of the Dead has these things in abundance, but at its heart it’s the very human story of Simon Pegg’s Shaun and his estranged girlfriend Liz. Genuinely touching in places, this zom-rom-com executes every element of its clumsily cobbled together portmanteau quite brilliantly.
There’s Something About Mary enjoys universal appeal simply because any romantic elements are lathered as liberally in laughs as Cameron Diaz’s barnet is with handmade gentleman’s relish. The romance is disarmingly sweet, the comedic set pieces are both hilarious and frequent, and a dog jumps out of a window. A perfect combination.
11. The Wedding Singer
What’s this? An Adam Sandler romantic comedy that doesn’t make you want to go outside and assault strangers? Oddly, yes – even the most granite-hearted curmudgeon can’t fail to be won over by infectious 80s nostalgia, poignant, funny performances and the sheer good-naturedness of it all. Not convinced? It also has Steve Buscemi and a rapping granny. Sold.