So, it is only thanks to this wonderful world of blogging (more specifically, a certain blogger) that I’ve come to understand the term “Screwball Comedy”. Ok, so, maybe not understand, but rather encounter the term. For me, romantic comedies were just romantic comedies. Yes, I’ve seen many of those which are classified as screwball but didn’t think much of the definition. Only when this Addicted to Screwball Blogathon came up, did I decide to look a bit deeper into this sub-genre…a search for screwball.
What is a screwball comedy and which one of the “modern” or “new-ish” movies I enjoy can be placed into this genre? Let’s have a look:
Obviously, it is a comedy (and strictly speaking, I think, comes from the 1930s and 40s) but the emphasis is funny/farce/slapstick which results in a bit of a goofy courtship, so, sorry but no prince charming approach. And, definitely some agony and pain involved but not the emotional, romantic type, no, the less theatrical more physical not-to-be-taken-too-seriously type. I’ve also read that often, the poor guy in the relationship has not an inkling that he is even in this warped courtship. The leading lady, wacky and offbeat, drives the relationship and often encounters a rival for affection for the poor bloke in question. There tend to be exaggerated situations coming from bantering battles between the “leads”. Oh dear, screwball life really is oddball, isn’t it?
Now that I think I know what Screwball Comedy is, time to find some movies that might fit the bill. Being a techie, out comes Excel and a list of the recent-ish movies I’ve seen that are “comedy” or “romantic comedy” is made. Zero in on wacky leading ladies, followed by a battle of the genders/comic courtship. Finally, gut-feel to discard what doesn’t feel right. Here are a few that I came up with…apologies if I’m way off the mark but I tried:
The Truth About Cats and Dogs
Addicted to Love
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
I’m with Lucy
New in Town
Watching the Detectives
One Fine Day
Once again, apologies if I’m totally off the mark or left any out. Not such an easy thing to classify, I’ve discovered.
Gehring, Wes D, “Romantic vs. Screwball Comedy: Charting the Difference”, 16 Oct 2002, Scarecrow Press