Here's the thing. I love American romantic movies. Really, I do. Sometimes, after a bad day at work, I'll indulge myself by spot-watching such sugary fluff as Just Like Heaven or While You Were Sleeping. But in all honesty? Unless we're talking about an old black-and-white film starring Cary Grant and... well, Cary Grant and anyone, really... there's just no contest.
The Brits do it better.
Why is this? I think that Americans have grown too dependent on the cinematically beautiful love scene. I'm tired of seeing the oh-so-masculine hand running smoothly up a toned, tanned thigh. I'm tired of the theatrical gasps, dewy-eyed gazing, and discreetly passionate music in the background. It's not romantic. Often, it's not even sexy. And if you're accidentally watching the movie with your father, it can be downright squicky.
So, when will American film producers (and American audiences) learn to love the Verbal Tease?
Brits don't torture us with gratuitous love scenes. Often if there is physical sex, it's awkward and funny and all-around entertaining. (Think Bridget Jones's Diary and the granny panties.) Mostly though, the Brits put eye sex and word sex into their films.
Case in point: Colin Firth gives the best eye sex of all time, especially in the A&E/BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. C'mon. Whenever he gives Lizzie a melty look over the pianoforte or what have you, all I can think is: hoo, boy. Shiver me timbers. You know that he's totally and hopelessly in love with her and the fact that he's so restrained and repressed only makes it hotter. Seriously. At the end of the six hours, when you finally see him smile for the first time, it almost feels like you're seeing him naked. Ooh, naughty! Teeth! What a reveal!
It's infinitely preferable to artificial Hollywood nudity, though I suppose I enjoy man candy as much as any red-blooded heterosexual woman.
Here's another lesson: word sex is important. Word sex makes the leading man. Even if he doesn't have an oiled six-pack, he opens his clever mouth and we fall in love. The banter. The accent. (Okay, maybe American cinema can't reproduce that, but really...) Again, case in point: Hugh Grant. Totally adorable in Four Weddings and Funeral as he stutters out, "In the words of David Cassidy, before he left the Partridge Family, I think I love you."
So, Hollywood, a task for the summer: I want banter. I want emotional suspense. I want the tease. In short, I want a decent script!