April 21, 2022

The Romcoms of Richard Curtis

The Romcoms of Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis romcoms are canon, and I've touched on them before, but now I'm joined by a special guest, Joe of the Right in the Schoolies podcast, to try to tease out why they work so well, and talk about the differences in UK and US romance and romcom humor. Let's dig in!


Joe is a complete delight. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his fabulous podcast Right in the Schoolies here.

I first fell in love with Catherine Cohen's modern idiosyncratic poetry, but never got to experience her weekly cabaret show in New York.  That poetry vibe — along with hilarious songs and comedy —are captured in her new Netflix special, The Twist…? She's Gorgeous. I had a big goofy grin on my face the entire time I was watching it.

Movies/TV Shows

I first saw Four Weddings and a Funeral in London, and its warm, affectionate humor and found family tropes remind me of a very special time in my life.

Notting Hill isn't Richard Curtis' best, according to Joe. But as an American book publicist based in London, I haunted quirky little book shops like the one in this movie, so it has a special place in my heart. Plus, the found family trope in this one is epic.

To be fair, Love, Actually has lots of moments that I enjoy. Just don't make me sit down at Christmas to watch the whole thing.

Vicar of Dibley only got three seasons (and a few comedy specials) and each one is a delight. This little highlight reel of vicar Geraldine's path to Mr. Right just fills me with giggles. I think the reason this series works so well is the contrast between the seriousness of Geraldine's religious calling with her joyous search for love. Joe feels another reason it works so well is because so much of the humor comes from the quirks of English church and village life.

The Vicar of Dibley ensemble cast is fantastic but the late great Emma Chambers as the vicar's verger Alice deserves her own highlight reel.  I CRY with laughter watching this.

Bridget Jones's Diary, cowritten by Richard Curtis, is based on Helen Fielding's best selling novel and it's full of those vulnerable, awkward attempts at love that Joe talked about in this episode.

Richard Curtis wrote the story for the sequel Mamma Mia Here We Go Again, and I like it even better than the original Mamma Mia movie. It feels emotionally deeper and I think the plot fits even better with the ABBA songs.

About Time is the most touching look at love and family and what happiness really means.  In this romantic fantasy, an ordinary guy is given a family secret that allows him to travel back in time and redo past relationship mistakes. In true Richard Curtis fashion, there's a bit of sadness mixed in, but it ends happily.

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