Derwent Living

Top 5 Chick Flicks That Are OK For Guys | The Student Pocket Guide
Written by James Smith

Love Actually
Romantic comedy films with large ensemble casts have, as of late, a tendency to be…awful. Just look at Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Day and you’ll see what I mean. So what happens when the plucky British decide to give it a go? Well, the result is hugely surprising. Richard Curtis (the film’s writer) focuses on the relationship between several characters (all fantastically played by Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon, Colin Firth and Rowan Atkinson) and how their Christmases unfold. Through several storylines including romantic affairs, alcoholic binges, forbidden love, strained relationships and secret desires, Love Actually shows humans doing very human, sometimes ridiculous, things. It’s the film’s realism that is its trump card and Richard Curtis plays on this extremely well. There may well be some outlandish storylines (such as two adult film stars really falling in love with each other during ‘sex scenes’) but the characters that inhabit them manage to keep it realistic, and the actors do a fine job of this. At the end of it all, we actually feel happier and feel some gratitude for our own lives, because it helps us through our hardships and reveals, after all, everything can be alright.

13 Going On 30
Think Tom Hanks in Big. Now change Hanks for Jennifer Garner. Now you’re watching 13 Going On 30. Yes, it is hardly original but that doesn’t actually stop it from being an enjoyable watch all the same. Jenna (Christa B.Allen) invites a group of popular girls to her birthday party but they play a cruel trick on her, and as a result she locks herself in a closet. Jenna wishes she was older so petty things wouldn’t matter and, by magic, she immediately transforms into a 30 year old woman (now played by Jennifer Garner). Now she must deal with work responsibilities, a complicated love affair with her school friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and renew contact with her estranged parents. It ticks all the boxes for rom-com but it’s exactly how these boxes are ticked that makes this film stand out from the others. The impressive acting (particularly from Garner and Ruffalo) and an amusing supporting appearance from Andy Serkis make the film enjoyable to watch and its multiple storylines mean that no aspect of the film becomes boring or tiresome. It even looks pretty. It is one of the weaker films on the list, but it’s very much the worst of a great lot.

The Parent Trap
This film made a little bit of history. Not only was it a remake of a Disney classic, it was the film that sparked the career of a Hollywood sensation. And a turbulent one at that. Lindsay Lohan stars as two young girls separated from birth – one stays in America with their father (Dennis Quaid) and the other to London with their mother (the late Natasha Richardson). Both girls are never informed of each other’s existence until they meet each other at a holiday camp. When they meet, they conspire to bring their parents together and live the happy family life they have always wanted. So, it’s not a romantic comedy in the conventional sense. It’s romantic in its ideals. It’s a feel-good film, just as the original was, and it’s pure Disney material. That makes The Parent Trap a decent film for anyone to watch and, even though Disney can sometimes be an exclusive treat for kids, the film manages to bring in more grown-up humour without the kids constantly asking “what does that mean?”. For such a new talent, Lohan plays the dual role with great precision and excellent comic timing and Quaid and Richardson clearly have excellent off-screen chemistry. Yes, it can be cheesy but that’s what we expect and, let’s be honest, it’s one of the better films that Lindsay Lohan is probably going to ever make.

There’s Something About Mary
Maybe the least chick-flick film here but there’s really no other category it could easily fit into. Ted (Ben Stiller) has been in love with Mary (Cameron Diaz) since they both went to high school. However, their one brief date lead to disaster and the two never saw each other again. Still in love with her after many years and desperate to know where she is, Ted hires private detective Healy (Matt Dillon) to locate her, but Healy ends up falling for her too. Both men compete for Mary’s affections all the while unaware of another man Tucker (Lee Evans) vying for Mary too. Everything unfolds in a completely ludicrous but nonetheless hilarious manner, with dogs flying out of windows to pizza delivery boys being attacked by spies. Once again, the acting (particularly Dillon and Evans) is what holds it all together and we can really see that each and every actor in the film is giving it all they’ve got. They’ve got faith in this film and so should we. But it has to be said, Stiller can’t do the romantic scenes half as good as the comedy scenes and sometimes it affects how the entire film looks and how the other people act. Still, he is the only actor really fit for the film at all and works surprisingly well with the others. Yes, the plot may run a bit thin at times but you don’t really watch a chick flick for intriguing plot devices in mind, do you?

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About A Boy
Why is Hugh Grant in this list twice? Probably because despite his tendency to only act in one way, its films like About a Boy that make him quite endearing. That’s right, Grant actually acts well in this film. And that’s because the plot suits his ability. This time around, Grant plays the shallow and conceited Will who befriends a young boy Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) in order to trick other single parents Rachel (Rachel Weisz) and Suzie (Victoria Smurfit) that he too is a single parent looking for love. The whole plot begins to backfire when Marcus’s mother Fiona (Toni Collette) becomes depressed and attempts to commit suicide. Then Will is forced to look after Marcus and learn to take responsibilities. So it’s not so much a film about romance but a film of morals. Which in turn makes it romantic. If that makes sense. Much like The Parent Trap this film strays away from chick flick norms, but keeps some basic elements (vulnerable people affecting the lives of colder people, choosing who to love etc) so that it stays a enjoyable film for the whole family. Well, most of the family. Kids won’t be able to enjoy this one too much because the humour will just escape them. In the same token, you wouldn’t be watching this film with kids around anyway, so the only chink in the armour is really just a dent. Probably the strongest film on the list, and Grant’s surprisingly powerful lead performance delivers on every level.