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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

May 1, 2009 at 9:43 AM

A rom-com update, plus “Mean Girls”

I have, in recent years, spent a fair bit of time kvetching about the current state of Hollywood romantic comedies — which is, in a word, dismal. When’s the last time a big-name romantic comedy charmed the socks off you? I can think of exactly one decent one in the past couple of years: “Music & Lyrics,” with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, and it wasn’t anything great, but it was sweet and funny and not filled with bathroom jokes. These days, a Hollywood rom-com usually means a movie in which all the women are shrill bitches and shrews (i.e. “Bride Wars”), with the occasional exception of the sweet and completely bland woman who gets the guy (“Made of Honor,” “27 Dresses”).
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There might be some hope this year — maybe. “[500] Days of Summer,” with Zooey Deschanel (a woman capable of creating chemistry with Jim Carrey) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, looks appealing; Grant is re-teaming with “Music & Lyrics” director Marc Lawrence for “Did You Hear About the Morgans” with fellow cutie Sarah Jessica Parker; and the promising trio of Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin headline Nancy Meyers’ untitled new rom-com. But this week’s “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” is about as good as can be expected these days, which isn’t saying much; it kind of drags, but it isn’t actively annoying, and a few actors in small roles give it some sparkle. I especially liked Lacey Chabert as a freaking-out bride; her expression upon discovering that Matthew McConaughey has tipped over her wedding cake is almost worth the ticket price. She looked familiar, so I looked her up — and yes, “Ghosts” director Mark Waters has worked with her before, in “Mean Girls.” Here’s a funny clip from that very funny film; Chabert’s the last girl to speak.

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