Rom-Com Battle


The promotional posters for these two rom-coms.

Shradha Krishnamurthy and Kayla Xu

Definitely, Maybe Better

Definitely, Maybe, a romantic comedy directed by Adam Brooks, starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, and Abigail Breslin, was released in 2008 to positive critical reception.

The plot starts off when Will’s (Reynolds) daughter Maya (Breslin) asks him why he is divorcing her mother. When he is unable to explain, she asks him to tell her the story of their relationship in hopes that he will go back to his wife.

Will explains that he’s only ever been in love with three women, and agrees to tell Maya the story with the names of the women changed; she has to figure out which one is her mother. She agrees, and Will lanches into his story. The result is a twist ending, showing that the person you love can be right in front of your eyes for a long time; what matters is when you notice it.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding, while definitely a good movie, lacks the honest touch that Definitely, Maybe has. While it does touch on a concern among women- balancing their family life with their ambition, it fails to touch on how unrealistic Toula and Ian’s story is. There is an unfeasible lack of conflict between the two. The lack of coverage of any sort of deeper interaction shows how this movie is more of a family movie with a touch of female empowerment than a rom-com. The two barely even get any screen time together.

This movie is definitely way better than your average romantic comedy for one reason; originality. Most rom-coms follow cookie-cutter plots with overly unrealistic and predictable storylines. Definitely, Maybe has a startling dash of realism, as it explores the choppy terrain of divorce, and the negative effect that it can have on a family. Additionally, the wonderful chemistry between the leads led to amazing scenes. The emotions are subtle, and the tensions palpable. The leads all compliment each other, so much so that it is difficult to tell who Maya’s mother is. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, complete with an unexpected flip before the end. It’s a beautiful film that poses a relevant question, especially in a country where 50% of marriages end in divorce. “Is divorce really the end?”

Heartwarming and at the same time startlingly honest, Definitely, Maybe is very much a must-watch for this Valentine’s day.

Big Fat Great Movie

Romantic comedies these day are often looked down upon — they’re B-list movies with cheesy scripts full of cliches and unrealistic encounters. Rarely are there romantic comedies that are honestly good. But if there were ever a rom-com that had substance and was (mostly) grounded in reality, it would be My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The movie is about a Greek-American woman Fotoula “Toula” Portokalos who strives to escape from her controlling father who wants her to be like “nice Greek girls.” She manages to convince her father to let her take computer class at the community college and gets a job at her aunt’s travel agency. There, Toula finally meets Ian Miller, a high school English teacher, and they eventually start dating. Because Ian isn’t Greek, Toula hides their relationship from her family, but of course, they find out. Despite initial reluctance to accept the couple, the family starts coming after Ian chooses to be baptized into the Eastern Orthodox Church so he and Toula can get married there. Their wedding goes fairly smoothly and Toula’s father even gifts them with a new house. It’s revealed that the house is right next door to the Portokalos family house.

Unlike a lot of romantic comedies, the main protagonist, Toula, actually gains her confidence and works for what she wants before she starts dating or chasing after her love interest, Ian. She also doesn’t start going to college classes and changing her appearance because she wants to impress anyone, but because she personally wants to gain confidence and escape from her loving, but misguided and sexist father. The movie also contains many themes of feminism and family, which are both often rather absent from common rom-coms. The first twenty-five minutes of the movie are also devoid of any romantic tension, excluding the two minutes when Toula first sees Ian at her family’s restaurant, and instead focuses on developing Toula as her own character and not half of a whole.

Overall, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is more lovable as a movie, even if you’re just watching for a feel-good romance. With likable characters and a more believable plot than most meet-cutes and “love-at-first-sight”s, it’s not too surprising that when it was released, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was one of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time.