Let me get this out of the way: I don’t hate the “chick-flick” genre. I just really hate that phrase. As far as I’m concerned, the only real chick-flick out there is Chicken Run since it is a film about chicks, but, in society, a “chick-flick” is loosely defined as a movie that targets women, often with romance as a central theme. I think any movie based off a Nicholas Sparks book, for example, could accurately fit this description — and there’s nothing wrong with that! I just think that we are too quick to use this gender-exclusive phrase to describe a movie, alienating those who don’t identify as a “chick” and preventing people from seeing a film they might otherwise enjoy. Many assume that a romantic comedy is automatically a chick-flick; I disagree. Some think that a funny movie about women with some romantic component is automatically a rom-com and thus, a chick-flick; I say: can I get a “hell no”? So I’m on a mission to clear the name of some of my all-time favorite movies that have been deemed “chick-flicks” when they really, really aren’t.
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002)
Okay, I can totally see how people would assume this is a chick-flick. The movie is about a wedding, after all, and the title sounds eerily similar to something I would watch on TLC. However, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" isn't really about a wedding at all: it's about a woman learning to simultaneously embrace and break free from her overbearing family and their traditional ways. What could possibly be more universal than an overbearing family? Sure, she falls in love with a Fabio-esque guy (I see you, Aiden), but anyone who has seen the movie knows that he is almost irrelevant to its greatness. I would even go as far as to say that this isn't a romantic comedy, but just a plain ol' hilarious comedy.
"Mean Girls" (2004)
Saying "Mean Girls" is a "girl movie" because it's about teenage girls is like saying "21 Jump Street" is a "boy movie" because it revolves around "teenage" boys. TOTALLY INCORRECT. Just because the main characters are all a certain gender doesn't mean the other gender won't love it; in fact, anyone who attended high school in the last twenty years would probably really enjoy either of those movies. And, again, even though high school romance somewhat drives the plot of "Mean Girls", making Aaron Samuels think she's totally "grool" is definitely not Cady's main focus.
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008)
Although I have seen this movie approximately ten times, I've only seen it in bits and pieces on TV and have (miraculously) never seen the ending. So I might be missing something major here. HOWEVER, I'm still pretty confident that labeling "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" a "chick-flick" would be wrong. Sure, this movie is about romance but I think the fact that this movie centers around a male character makes it innately more non-chick friendly. (Of course that doesn't mean a movie centering around a female character can't be non-chick friendly but I won't rant about that again because I think you're getting my point by now.) Plus, ask any guy whether or not he likes this movie and the answer will probably be an enthusiastic "YES!" because it is great.
"Crazy, Stupid, Love" (2011)
This movie is a rom-com but it is absolutely not a chick-flick. As the title suggests, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is about love, but it tackles "love" from so many unique angles and somehow manages to avoid the cliche "this man just swept me off my feet!" route that so many chick-flicks seem to take. The title itself seemed too chick-flicky for me and made me not want to go see it but I'm so glad I gave it a chance because it is now definitely one of my favorite movies. If the scene where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling lie in bed, talking and giggling, didn't make you audibly "awwww" and feel really happy then you are probably soulless and I don't care about your opinions anyway.
"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012)
I bet you didn't even realize "Silver Linings Playbook" is kind of a chick-flick. "There's no way it's a chick-flick!" you say. "It's about football! It won an Oscar!" Well, yeah, you're right. "Silver Linings Playbook" is just on the list to prove that a film can be about love and dancing and not be considered a chick-flick.
"The Heat" (2013)
"The Heat" is a comedy. Not a rom-com ― a comedy. Not a chick-flick ― a movie about women. It's just a really, really funny movie about women that's not really about women, you know? Trust me, just go see it right now.
Reprinted with permission from The Jane Dough.