In their mad dash to feed the market for romantic comedies, Hollywood script writers have given up inventing fresh plots. They all follow one basic plot, merely switching locales, lead characters, and their life goals. Predictable plot complications prevail.
Every movie stars a beautiful, young heroine driven toward a single goal, usually to gain the top rung in her work. Yet in practical matters, such as forecasting weather and reading road maps, they lack the common sense of a 10-year-old.
The movie begins with a brief introduction to the two main characters giving us their motivations and a glimpse at the impediments they will face. Invariably, the ladies set off in subzero temperatures with no clear idea of their destination, wearing high heels and couture suited for dashing from taxi into a Fortune 500 office.
Immediately the scene shifts to some distant territory foreign to them.
In “The Proposal,” Sandra Bullock, editor of a New York publishing house, faces the loss of her green card. To avoid deportation, she lies to Immigration, claims she is about to wed her assistant, Ryan Reynolds, an Alaskan whom she thinks is poor but whose family, it turns out, owns every business in Sitka, including the airport.
Bullock and her intended are given a weekend to prove their sincerity to Immigration’s satisfaction. This entails meeting Grandma Betty White, who is celebrating her birthday, and staying at the family’s main lodge which rivals a Banff hotel for size and amenities.
In the movie, “New in Town,” Renee Zellweger is dispatched from Miami head office to Minnesota days before Christmas to downsize the labour force of a small yogurt plant. (When stories happen a day or two before Christmas former boy or girlfriends have logical excuses to attend and throw wrenches into the gears.).
In “Snow Bride,” the lead female speeds off from Los Angeles into a western wilderness blizzard to capture a tabloid story before her competition does. If she gets the story first, she will become editor of a fledgling online gossip magazine. She wears only a short sleeved blouse, shorts, and runners. In her haste she packed only her friend’s wedding dress which she has promised to deliver. She doesn’t even make motel reservations.
All three women must be rescued from hypothermia, two of them after driving into a snowbank. (The Snow Bride, in a futile attempt to get warm, dons the wedding dress over her July clothing. Her rescuer offers her a warm flannel shirt and a pair of his jeans.) They are taken first to a caretaker’s cabin roomy enough for a family of six. The phone is disconnected; there’s no cell phone reception. But the guest room has en-suite plumbing. A drunk Zellweger is lifted from her stalled car by the yogurt plant’s union rep, torching a sustained rivalry between management and union.
Meeting the rescuer’s Sitka parents, Bullock and Reynolds claim to be engaged. Though stunned by the news, they had no inkling their son was dating, Mom and Dad expect the young couple to share a bedroom. This leads to awkward but hilarious moments.
The day after the rescue – if not before – the rescuer’s brother shows up with the rescuer’s ex-fiancée in tow. Jealousies flare, ending in fisticuffs, or a rowdy rugby game in the oddly snowless, treeless backyard. No matter how remote these sites are, the house has every convenience and acres of cozy bedrooms.
Experience has taught me to expect little new from a romantic comedy but plenty from a Hallmark presentation which the “Snow Bride” was. Sadly, this film, too, plodded along the predictable pattern of a time worn plot, routine from start to finish, brightened now and then with a fresh quip.