I love romantic comedies. It’s the same reason I love Romance novels, I’m sure. There’s a joy in knowing that the end of the story is going to be happy, and that you’ll be treated to laughs along the way. They are my re-charge kind of story. When I saw Ellesfena’s review last year I plunked Scott Meslow’s From Hollywood with Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy on my to read list. When putting in my library requests this one seemed a lovely match for February, and thanks to HarperCollins signing a contract with their striking workforce I am free to post my review (I had pledged not to review while the strike was ongoing).
By and large this book sets out to track what its subtitle promises. Meslow defines his boundaries and then marches from When Harry Met Sally through to Crazy Rich Asians giving a glimpse at how Hollywood has embraced – or not – romance and the mid-level movie and the places where streamers and others are stepping in to see an uptick in romcom development. Meslow structures his book by going back and forth between taking a deep dive in a movie and then spotlighting an actor. I found that this was a good way to break up the narrative, but this methodology of one movie at a time still lent to a repetitive nature. Meslow does a better job than many at linking forward and back within his text to pull at the larger themes he his discussing, but it is still a tough ask when the movies are siloed instead of being organized in a thematic way.