There was a piece in The New York Times earlier this year lamenting the death of the American romantic comedy. While these movies could “be painfully formulaic…and so unrealistic about love that they were often accused of poisoning real-life romance”, the author highlighted the importance of the genre in a market increasingly saturated with sequels of superhero movies. “Romantic comedy is the only genre committed to letting relatively ordinary people — no capes, no spaceships, no infinite sequels — figure out how to deal meaningfully with another human being”, the piece goes.
Perhaps it makes sense that in the age of Instagram and Tinder meaningful interaction has become harder to achieve, instead being replaced by the selfish desire to stand out. The rom-com, with the protagonists taking their sweet time to come around each other, is then one more victim of the instant gratification disease plaguing modern American society. If it requires effort and takes time, it’s just not worth it.
That a film like Set it Up exists in the current climate is nothing short of a fluke. Actually, all credit must go to Netflix, whom like Amazon, are the only studios in Hollywood that continue to bet on fare that’s not superhero material. Indeed, The Big Sick, the best romantic comedy I’d seen before this one, was produced by Amazon. May they continue doing the good work.