Summer Movie Preview 2011: Romantic Comedies

Summer is hot time for romance, so rather than clump these films in with all the straight-up comedies of the summer, I’ve given them their own special section, which I must say is rather considerate of me considering I won’t be seeing many of them.

For this seasonal preview, I’ve decided it’s time to stop ranking these films based on mine and other’s perceived excitement about them and simply list them in chronological order. Hopefully that keeps my hands clean of filthy, filthy bias, which can be especially prominent in my writing when it comes to this genre.

Jumping the Broom (May 6)

Directed by Salim Akil
Written by Elizabeth Hunter and Arlene Gibbs
Starring: Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine

Summary: Two very different families converge when a couple decides to get married in Martha’s Vineyard.

The Word: You might be a bit surprised not to find Tyler Perry’s name in front of this one as it’s pretty much a carbon copy of his formula as well as last year’s “Our Family Wedding” only both families are black. Paula Patton stars along with several other familiar faces from black family comedy. The film will have to contend with Perry’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family” which came out Easter weekend.

My Thoughts: There’s nothing original about this film except that Paula Patton stars and she’s gorgeous. It amazes me the same movies can continue to be made and as a result I don’t expect big things for this one — it should go silently in the night, especially with “Madea’s Big Happy Family” having come out just a few weeks prior. Mother’s Day has never been a big movie-pitching holiday either.

Jumping the Broom Trailer

Something Borrowed (May 6)

Directed by Luke Greenfield
Written by Jenny Snyder, Emily Giffin (novel)
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski

Summary: Rachel (Goodwin) let her dream man slip away in college and get swooped up by her best friend (Hudson). Years later they’re getting married, but caged feelings slip out and Rachel and the groom-to-be find themselves in bed together.

The Word: Based on the popular book by Emily Giffiin this is every perpetually single woman’s wish fulfillment scenario is to get that one hottie back and this story fleshes it out. Hollywood has tried to break Goodwin (“Big Love”) in as the next rom-com darling since putting her in great company in “He’s Just Not that Into You.” She joins forces with Hudson here, Krasinski for some comic relief and newcomer Egglesfield. When featured, Hudson tends to bring in some money, but she’s not so prominently featured in the trailers.

My Thoughts: This is definitely tub of ice cream material. In a summer without “Sex and the City” on the big screen and tons of loud and noisy blockbusters, where will women be likely to spend their money? “Something Borrowed” gives them their first shot and the genre has already been rather underserved this year. “Water for Elephants” did fairly well for a romance based on a best-seller a few weeks back, so this one could too with a bit more marketing this week.

Something Borrowed Trailer

Midnight in Paris (May 20 – limited)

Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard

Summary: An engaged couple (Wilson and McAdams) tag along on a business trip to France and come fact-to-face with the slightly snobbish artsy lifestyle of many of the people living there. After midnight, however, Wilson begins to discover Paris’ nightlife and begins to disappear most nights.

The Word: Allen’s latest slew of European-set features continues. With his career likely winding down, actors seem to be chomping at the bit to get a chance to work with the legend. This cast is simply brimming with talent: Wilson, McAdams, Sheen, Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Alison Pill, Carla Bruni and Tom Hiddleston are included. There are elements of modern comedy along with classic Allen characters and dialogue. The film debuts at Cannes on May 11, so look out for the buzz from there.

My Thoughts: Unlike last year’s disappointment in “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” this film seems to lean more on Allen’s strengths. With a cast like that, one has to hope this film of all of his recent endeavors will capture some of the magic that we thought we were rediscovering once he made “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” We know McAdams and Wilson had terrific chemistry in “Wedding Crashers” six years ago and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.

Midnight in Paris Trailer

Monte Carlo (July 1)

Directed by Thomas Bezucha
Written by Thomas Bezucha, April Blair and Maria Maggenti (screenplay), Kelly Bowe (story), Jules Bass (novel)
Starring: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Cory Monteith

Summary: Three best friends travel to Paris and their trip ends up a complete disaster. All that changes, however, when they discover that one of them (Gomez) looks uncannily like a wealthy European socialite. They decide to live it up and deal with the consequences later.

The Word: Meester has had the most success of all three of these TV stars in terms of making it on the big screen. “Gossip Girl” co-star (of sorts) Cassidy joins her and both back Disney’s Gomez as the featured attraction. Although barely present in the trailer, “Glee” star Cory Monteith also makes the jump to film here.

My Thoughts: Tween-focused films are in short supply this summer without a “Twilight” film coming until November. Presumably they would find appeal in all the big blockbuster sequels, but it makes me think “Monte Carlo” won’t go all that quietly, even up against “Transformers” and the next film down. It looks like total Disney channel material, perhaps a re-written script for “The Lizzie Maguire Movie” even, so it’s not likely going to get it done for anyone but that demographic.

Monte Carlo Trailer

Larry Crowne (July 1)

Directed by Tom Hanks
Written by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Taraji P. Henson, Cedric the Entertainer

Summary: Larry Crowne is a bumbling naive blue-collar guy who gets laid off his department store job because he doesn’t have anything beyond a high school diploma and times are a-changin’. In his speech class, he begins to fall for the teacher (Roberts) who’s got some issues of her own.

The Word: Hanks’ returns to directing for the first time since “That Thing You Do” back in 1996. Who can really know if that’s a good sign or not, but it does mean that Hanks is passionate about the project. Re-teaming with Julie Roberts will certainly grab anyone’s attention and Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) is an attention-worthy writing partner.

My Thoughts: It looks to be decidedly unfunny, but it’s hard to ignore Hanks and Roberts when they do anything let alone when they work together. So long as the film has heart it will capture a majority decent reviews. As one of the few romances geared toward an older audience, I can’t imagine it will go quietly at the box office either, especially up against “Transformers.”

Larry Crowne Trailer

Crazy, Stupid, Love (July 29)

Directed by Glen Ficarra, John Requa
Written by Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone

Summary: After his wife leaves him, Cal (Carell) takes to the bars to drown his sorrows and meet new women. It’s there he meets and develops a friendship with a womanizer (Gosling) who teaches him how to get back in the game, but it becomes difficult when Cal’s ex (Moore) comes back in the picture.

The Word: “Bad Santa” writers Ficarra and Requa take over directing duties for the first time in this mostly comic but slightly dramatic-looking film. The cast definitely has the right names to appeal to all audiences from Carell and Moore (middle-aged) to Gosling and Stone (teens and younger adults). Gosling has been known to stick with indies, so his presence here might be telling about Disney writer Dan Fogelman’s (“Tangled”) script.

My Thoughts: It’s one thing to have a cast that appeals to multiple generations and another to have one that simultaneously has talent. Although Ficarra and Requa seem like that last duo to tackle straight romantic comedy, there’s something refreshing about their choice. Middle-aged men getting back in the game seems to be a common theme, so it might not be all that original, but Gosling and Stone will surely be a joy to watch together.

Crazy, Stupid, Love Trailer

One Day (Aug. 19)

Directed by Lone Scherfig
Written by David Nicholls (screenplay and book)
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson

Summary: Two people meet in college and then again only on each anniversary of that day every year, spanning 20 years and various situations in their lives and their relationship.

The Word: Lone Scherfig follows up her Oscar-nominated indie festival darling “An Education” with this film, so that alone is good buzz. Hathaway sports a British accent as does Patricia Clarkson, which might raise some eyebrows, but they lend a bit more profile to the project. Jim Sturgess gets another shot at a dramatic lead after “The Way Back” went quietly this past January.

My Thoughts: The trailer’s narration is awful and Hathaway British accent is decidedly odd, but as she proved with “Love and Other Drugs,” she can make a romance better than its script. Sturgess (“Across the Universe” and “21”) has been a likable protagonist in his major roles thus far and will likely bring some of that talent here. Novel faithfulness will not be an issue as Nicholls adapted his own book, but could also prove a disaster, much like the film’s late August release suggests. However, the talents in the other aspects make “One Day” worth keeping an eye on.

One Day Trailer


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