Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Love is a Many-Person’d Thing: Multi-Protagonist Tales of Contemporary Desire

María del Mar Azcona Montoliu


Film critics (and many spectators) often regard romantic comedy as one of the most formulaic and conservative of film genres. Its rigid and predictable narrative structure is routinely dismissed together with its defence of traditional gender roles, heterosexuality and patriarchal values. However, as is usually the case, a closer look at the individual texts tells a different story. This article explores the formal, ideological and cultural consequences of the increasingly frequent combination of the multi-protagonist genre and romantic comedies in contemporary cinema. As will be argued, through the use of the conventions of these two genres, multi-protagonist romantic comedies manage to offer a portrayal of contemporary intimate and affective matters which, contrary to romantic comedy’s ‘same old story’, is filled with discordant voices, discourses and practices. This constitutes a very apt reflection of the turmoil of voices and the confusion surrounding intimate matters in contemporary societies. Within Film Studies, this generic combination suggests the urgent need to redefine romantic comedy in broader, more flexible terms.

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