Saturday, July 21, 2007

David Denby on Knocked Up and Romantic Comedy

David Denby's New Yorker piece on Knocked Up is well worth reading. I'm rarely a Denby fan, but this deserves a read. Like others, I do take exception to the idea that romantic comedies are about biological reproduction. I'm not sure that the evidence backs this up. If there were some sort of premise that would get Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen together that did not include children, the movie could have been equally funny. In any case, the number of romantic comedies that do not go near children are huge.

Moreover, I disagree with Denby wistfully thinking about past romantic comedies and wishing that modern representations of the genre matched up. He finds new ones depressing. Some might say they are more realistic. Anyway, romanticizing the past rarely leads to good criticism. "P" gets it right when she says, "Man, did that Denby piece on “what’s wrong with romantic comedies today” get me steamed, and not because I find his conclusions about the “today” part completely wrong-headed. What’s wrong-headed was that it was suffused with a kind of nostalgia for the way we never were. Yep.

I guess I'm taking Denby to task a bit, but he makes a lot of good points and places Knocked Up wihtin the classics of a genre that too many people do not watch today. That is particularly true of the young people who have loved Knocked Up so much. Definitely check the article out.