It Isn’t Romantic

First off, I have not seen “Playing for Keeps,” which opens Friday, in spite of the fact that it features Gerard Butler using his actual Scottish accent and I will do nearly anything to hear a man speak in a Scottish accent. Any guy is better looking with a Scottish brogue, up to and including Scrooge McDuck.

I haven’t seen “Playing for Keeps” for two major reasons: First, the night of the press screening I had a cold whose side effects included “longing for the sweet release of death.” Second, I don’t like romantic comedies where the “romantic” part is code for “one person screwing up another person’s life.”

In the film, George (Butler) realizes he wants to get back with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) just as she’s getting ready to marry someone else. This doesn’t make George romantic. It makes him a jerk.

Here’s a rule I’d like to declare: If you love someone — or think you do — and he or she is with someone else, keep your MOUTH SHUT. Because you probably had your chance (like, you were MARRIED to her, George) and you either screwed it up or were too chicken to tell the person then.

The best romantic comedies — “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally,” even “Bridget Jones’s Diary” — aren’t about one person pursuing another. They’re about two people finding each other. That’s what works in life, and it’s what works in the movies.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Vicky Hallett · December 7, 2012