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By Claire Mortimer

The romantic comedy : an creation -- The heroine of the romantic comedy -- The hero of the romantic comedy -- The comedy of romance -- The British romantic comedy -- the celebs of the romantic comedy -- fortunately ever after?

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The shoes define Carrie as a THE HEROINE OF THE ROMANTIC C OMEDY 41 42 R OM A N T I C C O M E D Y character, they are expensive, impractical and a triumph of style over substance, perhaps. All of the girls teeter on heels; Charlotte wobbles particularly precariously, and can walk only with great difficulty in some scenes. Carrie is a child to the adult Big. He indulges her by buying the fantasy apartment, then fitting it out with her dream closet. When she upsets him he retains an air of remote disapproval and is the reproving parent figure who remains detached as she ‘plays’ with her friends.

The women form a mutually supporting ‘family’, sharing their most intimate thoughts and experiences in the repeated café scenes which punctuate the narrative. The role of the best friend is magnified within the film, so that the centre of gravity for the narrative is moved away from the couple to the best friend. Indeed the rather dull figure of Mr Big is unconvincing and almost redundant in comparison to the compelling female characters. This creates an odd tension within the text as Carrie’s happiness and hopes are pinned on the insubstantial absent male, yet she herself is vibrant, intelligent and feisty, and has much healthier, franker relationships with her friends than with her partner.

THE ROMANTIC C OMEDY: AN INTRODUCTION 19 2 THE HEROINE OF THE ROMANTIC COMEDY Romantic comedy has always been thought of as a women’s genre, although there continue to be exceptions to this, most markedly in the recent films of Judd Apatow, but also in the work of Woody Allen. Nevertheless the heroine is central to the appeal of the genre to its audience and, as with many film heroines, a female spectator may seek someone to identify with, but also someone who embodies dreams and desires. Yet the romantic comedy heroine is almost always the construct resulting from the work of men, due to the patriarchal nature of the film industry, creating a tension in the representations.

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