Here’s a good article on why romantic comedies have gotten so bad. Apparently there aren’t enough taboos when it comes to love and relationships anymore.
A few years ago, A. O. Scott of The New York Times suggested that for explanation we need look no further than the names just mentioned and others like them: the downslope from Katharine Hepburn to Katherine Heigl is simply too steep, and “the few remaining stars who show the kind of audacity and charisma that great romantic comedy requires tend to be busy with other things.”
This is certainly true, but it in turn begs the question of why today’s genuine stars (with all due respect to Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey) no longer bother to find the time for romantic comedy. Will Smith, for instance, displayed tremendous chops in Hitch—but apart from that toe-dip, he’s stayed clear of the water. And this generation’s most obvious fit, George Clooney, has modeled his career on that of Cary Grant in almost every way save his profound reticence to explore the genre that made the latter an icon.
No, there’s more at work here than the vagaries of stars or studios. It’s not just them; it’s us.
Among the most fundamental obligations of romantic comedy is that there must be an obstacle to nuptial bliss for the budding couple to overcome. And, put simply, such obstacles are getting harder and harder to come by. They used to lie thick on the ground: parental disapproval, difference in social class, a promise made to another. But society has spent decades busily uprooting any impediment to the marriage of true minds. Love is increasingly presumed—perhaps in Hollywood most of all—to transcend class, profession, faith, age, race, gender, and (on occasion) marital status.