The romantic comedy rests on a bed of well-worn, time-honored tropes. The meet-cute. The gabby best friend. The split. The dramatic gesture. The happily ever after. The fall-in-love montage is another of these tropes, wherein our couple goes on a date. Frequently, said date involves touring the local sights; almost always, it ends with a major romantic development—from a first kiss on, uh, down.
But are these montages realistic? That is—would anyone, up to and including extremely ambitious lovebirds, actually plan a date like that? And would our protagonists, you know, enjoy those dates? Or would they spend hours trapped in gridlocked traffic cursing their would-be beloved’s name? Below, a dissection of 10 such montages from the rom-com genre’s efforts at manufacturing The Best Date Ever.
Pretty Woman, Edward (Richard Gere), who had promised to provide Vivian (Julia Roberts) with a new wardrobe and $3,000 in exchange for her company, gives her his credit card in a luxury boutique and instructs the clerk to help her spend a “really offensive” amount of money.
The romantic result: Well, that’s one way to show affection. Does the geography make sense? Definitely. She sticks to Rodeo Drive. Total transit time: Negligible. Edward and Vivian’s hotel, the Beverly Wilshire, sits at the base of Rodeo Drive’s famous shopping strip. Is this a good date? On the one hand, funding a shopping spree is a pretty weird—and frankly not very romantic—thing to do for someone, even if it’s in keeping with the massive power imbalance between high-powered (and moneyed) businessman Edward and sex worker Vivian that forms the premise of this entire movie. On the other hand, the shopping spree comes just after Vivian has her feelings hurt when she gets brushed off by snobby sales clerks at another boutique, and Edward makes a point of demanding that this store treat her with kindness and, moreover, respect. It feels like proof that our guy values her as more than a megawatt smile or a clotheshorse. Also? Vivian has a ball.