In line with my previous "recipe" for comedy scripts, here's my "recipe" for rom-coms:
Rom-coms are like fruit cobblers.
Because it's 80% fruit (romance b/t protagonist & lover).
[Romance = an emotional ride in which the conflict between them reveals flaws & issues ---> which then MUST MUST MUST be resolved by showing why the protagonist & lover are good together as a team.]
The crust is 10% butter (protagonist & lover against the antagonist) plus 10% flour (comedy).
NOTE: Many people don't like fruit & that's ok.
THREE common reasons people don't like rom-coms b/c:
A) Fruit is too predictable!
My two cents: Rom-coms are predictable b/c the emotional arc for falling in love tends to take a predictable journey.
ex. Cute meet --> a period of discovery & courtship --> tests --> then a moment the parties admit they're in love.
If any part is missing, it feels false.
If it's too much out of order, it feels unorganized.
But ask anyone how they fell in love & it follows a certain arc.
B) Fruit should be mashed with other fruits!
My two cents: I'm all for making cross genre films. However, action films w/ romance, or dramas w/ romance, are mostly about the ACTION or the DRAMA, not purely about the emotional journey of falling in love.
Rom-coms are about the trials & tribulations of figuring out how to put your heart in someone else's care. We don't really care about the action or events around relationship. We care about the RELATIONSHIP.
C) Fruit is kinda rotten these days!
My two cents: I am not a big fan of recent "so called rom-coms" either.
There are lots of things that sour audiences:
ex. We don't believe the girl should choose a guy who abuses her. Why is that funny? Or romantic?
ex. We don't believe a guy who obviously doesn't "get" a woman, but suddenly falls in love w/ her in Act 3. That's shallow. It's a disaster. How is this going to last when they're not even a good team in Act 1 & 2?
ex. We want to believe that these two are going to be ok together. If they fall apart in the end, then it's not a rom-com.
I WANT A HAPPY ENDING. The End!