(continued from the previous post)
The alternative, of course, is to supply a last-minute sop to the rejected party. Frankly, I’ve never forgiven John Hughes for having Molly Ringwald choose Andrew McCarthy’s character over Jon Cryer’s Duckie in Pretty in Pink; I don’t think the preceding movie – a film about how Duckie is The One – justifies that choice for one minute. Indeed, if memory serves me right, that outcome re-written and re-shot after test audiences disapproved, which is disturbing in all sorts of ways. And frankly, I found the film’s almost literally dropping a pretty Popular Girl into Duckie’s lap an insult; it implies that not only Duckie’s distrust of the popular kids, but also his very affection for Ringwald’s character, was as shallow as the rest of movie. I never bought it, which is why I’ve always preferred the oft-overlooked Some Kind of Wonderful. I think that’s the film Pretty in Pink was supposed to be, in which the Popular One realizes she needs to get her own act together, and Eric Stoltz quite properly chooses the radiant Mary Stuart Masterson. (Film Freak Central agrees.)
Having said all that, though, the device works for once in Roxanne. There’s a sweet little scene in which Chris strikes up a conversation with a pretty bartender – earlier established as not being of the sharpest wit – and he’s relaxed, funny, and charming, without being aware of it, or even aware that for once, he isn’t nervous around a woman. (To her credit, the bartender is reluctant to move in on Roxanne’s turf; Chris assures her that they aren’t really in a relationship, and from his perspective, he’s right.) The pair’s departure to Tahoe neatly and satisfyingly resolves the triangle dilemma, leaving Roxanne and C.D. to deal with the real problem, the identity crisis.
TTACAD is much more about self-image, or more importantly, self-perception; Garofalo’s character isn’t unattractive (are you kidding? I think she’s gorgeous); she just thinks she is. And Thurman’s character isn’t dumb; she just thinks she is (and hey, if finding Sartre a bit too dense for comfort makes you dumb, count me in; after all, I’m discussing romantic comedies here instead.) Cyrano and C.D. may have attached too much importance to their noses, but there they were; Christian and Chris may not have been dopes, but they really couldn’t talk to women.
Regardless of the particulars, however, each story maintains the common theme that what’s truly lovable about a person has much more to do with his – or her – mind and soul than face and body.