July 30, 2009

Romantic comedies for the heart…

Posted in Between Us column, Relationships, Spirituality, Women at 12:49 am by dinaheng

Some people may say romantic comedies give us false expectations about love and romantic relationships, but I say there’s as much truth as fantasy in this genre of films about finding true love.


A spate of romantic comedies is now out in theaters, ranging from the spiritual tale of “The Answer Man” to the stereotypical battle of the sexes in “The Ugly Truth.” What you believe is likely to be reflected in the relationships you see on screen.dinah-eng-21


If you believe that men are visual creatures who care only about a woman’s physical appearance, you’ll love the first half of “The Ugly Truth” where Mike Chadway (played by Gerard Butler) shares a racy, chauvinistic viewpoint of what makes men, well… men. Appalled at his “shock jock” style is Abby Richter (played by Katherine Heigl), an independent morning talk show producer who’s looking for love in all the wrong ways.


If you believe that underneath every macho man is a sensitive little boy wanting to be loved, you’ll love the second half of “The Ugly Truth,” where Abby confronts Mike about his fear of, well… take a guess. While the two characters seem to be total opposites on the outside, we learn that they have everything in common on the inside.


That, of course, is the true challenge of love — getting past the exterior mask to the true self most of us hide for fear of rejection and disapproval.


In “The Answer Man,” Arlen Faber (played by Jeff Daniels) is the author of a spiritual book who’s in hiding from his legion of fans and in search of his own peace of mind. Elizabeth (played by Lauren Graham) is a chiropractor and single mom, who isn’t afraid of Arlen’s eccentric ways.


When Kris Lucas (played by Lou Taylor Pucci) turns to Arlen for answers in his life, Arlen’s philosophical words seem to make sense. But it’s when Arlen chooses to act, rather than just give advice, that love truly manifests for all to see.


Love, after all, is the unseen force that connects everyone. Whether you believe we’re  pre-destined to meet certain people or not, those who come into our lives are there to teach us about love. 


Sometimes, these people are the most gentle, accepting souls we could ask for. Other times, they’re the most irritating idiots we’d rather not deal with, always pushing our buttons and showing us the limits of our love.


My favorite romantic comedy this summer is “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock as Margaret Tate, a hard-nosed book editor, and Ryan Reynolds as Andrew Paxton, her assistant who hates his boss. When Margaret, a Canadian, is threatened with deportation, Andrew agrees to marry her and make her a U.S. citizen in exchange for a promotion and book deal.


When the couple visits Andrew’s family, pretending to be engaged, the two learn that there’s nothing more important in life than family, and that love blossoms in the most unexpected ways. This film offers hope to every single woman over the age of 40 that true love is still possible, and if he looks like Ryan Reynolds, so much the better.


Romantic comedies make us laugh and remind us of the unseen possibilities in life. They teach us that if we’re open to the magic in our hearts, and are willing to take the needed risks, we will find the love that we seek.


And that’s no idle fantasy. 


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