Why I Prefer Romcom Movies Over Romcom Books

Okay, so I know it’s considered a sin in the book community to prefer movie adaptations of books over the books themselves… but is it still true when you’re considering an entire genre?

If so, I’m guilty of it when it comes to the Romcom genre, and today, I’m admitting why I prefer Romcom movies over Romcom books.

1 | Characters in Romcom Movies Don’t Discuss “Hotness” as Much as Characters in Romcom Books

My biggest reason for preferring romcom movies over romcom books is that characters in romcom books, or at least the majority of the ones I’ve read, repeatedly mention (and I’m talking about like every other page, even in the clean books!) how “hot” or “sexy” the love interest is. Even some of the side-characters chime in!

Now, of course we as readers can’t physically see the love interest in a book like we can in a movie… but still, other book genres can adequately describe characters as being attractive without outright repeating that they are, so why do romcom books default to these shallow descriptions?

Most of the romcom movies I’ve enjoyed, on the other hand, focus more on the characters’ personalities and their arcs rather than just physical attraction. Yes, the characters may make a few comments now and then about the love interest’s looks, but it occurs nowhere near as often as it does in books. That’s because filmmakers know that if you have a character onscreen saying the same thing over and over again that it’ll either aggravate or bore viewers. Most readers pick up on details if they’re mentioned a time or two, so repeatedly describing someone’s looks, at least in my case, aggravates and bores me as a reader, because it has already been established that the person is good-looking.

Maybe I’m just being too nit-picky, but I feel the genre would be better off as a whole if comments on looks were cut out considerably during edits. Comments like that add zero value to character arcs anyway, so they’re not even all that necessary.

2 | Romcom Books Rely Too Much on Tropes

There. I said it, and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.

You don’t see romcom movies being blatantly advertised as Just Go With It: A Friends-To-Lovers Romcom Starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston or You’ve Got Mail: An Enemies-To-Loves Romcom Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I have no greater “bookish ick” than hopping on Amazon to shop for eBooks and seeing a book title that’s a mile long because the author feels the need to include the trope (basically keywords readers are searching for) in the title or subtitle.

Yes, this trend is partly Amazon’s fault because if they would just include sub-genres within the romance category for these specific tropes, then authors wouldn’t feel the need to cram all those keywords/trope descriptions in the title for marketing purposes. Plus, Amazon has a rule that you’re not even supposed to include words in the title that aren’t featured on the cover, and a lot of authors ignore that rule and put keywords in the title information anyway. Yes, authors can get away with it if the keywords are included on the cover, but the majority of ones I’ve seen on Amazon that do this are breaking the rule.

Anyway… sorry for that rant. I’ve been stewing on that for a while. 😛 Let’s get back to business.

Basically, I say all this to mean that many romcom books are written and/or marketed explicitly by trope and while that’s okay if you like to read certain tropes, I’m the type of reader who cares more about the characters when I read rather than plot mechanisms.

Going back to the movie examples I mentioned above, I didn’t love Just Go With It because it includes the friends-to-lovers trope. I loved the movie because of the humor (baa hoof kick XD) and the chemistry between the characters. I didn’t adore You’ve Got Mail because it’s “enemies-to-lovers”. I adored it because BOOKS (obviously), the banter, and the characters.

In books that are specifically written to include tropes, I often feel like the characters are one-dimensional stick figures that are being moved along a game board until they reach the desired trope the author is striving for. Sometimes it just feels like the character’s entire personality is based off of the trope, not the wants/fears/mis-beliefs that make characters unique, so they feel like a vehicle for the trope rather than a life-like person.

Now, if you like books that are specifically written to include certain tropes, I’m not saying all this to down your taste or opinions. If you like them, then that’s awesome and I support you. You’re free to read whatever you want. But reading for certain tropes just isn’t my thing, and the romcom genre is the most trope-centered, so it deters me from fully loving most of the romcoms I’ve read.

Let me also say that I do enjoy some tropes, if they’re not the center-focus of the book. I really enjoy friends-to-lovers and would like to write my own book including that trope one day. I also like the Cinderella trope, being that A Cinderella Story and Another Cinderella Story are two of my all-time favorite romcom movies. I just don’t want the trope’s presence to outshine the characters themselves, and I hope the way I’m explaining all this makes sense. XD

3 | Romcom Movies are 10x Funnier Than Romcom Books (In My Opinion)

Jenny B. Jones is the exception, because she is the funniest author I’ve ever come across and her humor tops many romcom movies, but the majority of romcom books I’ve read have been way more “rom” than “com”.

When I pick up a romcom book, I personally expect the “rom” and “com” percentages to be about 50/50. For the most part, romcom movies I’ve enjoyed have stayed true to this ratio, providing both cute couple moments and laugh-out-loud scenes that I’ll enjoy quoting for years to come.

When it comes to a majority of the romcom books I’ve read, however, the ratio of romance to humor has been around 75% “rom” to 25% “com”, and the comedy feels forced. And, the biggest peeve of mine when it comes to romcom books, is that of the 25% of “com” that’s there, a large percentage comes from creepy innuendos, even in some books that are marketed as clean romcoms. The reason I personally choose clean romcoms in the first place is to avoid innuendos because they’re 1) just not funny to me, and 2) are extremely juvenile in my opinion. I heard enough innuendos during my years attending a public high school (shudders just thinking about it) and I definitely don’t want to read about them. I’ve noticed in reviews that a lot of readers feel the same way. My beef here is that there are more avenues for comedy in (clean) romcom books than making sexualized jokes.

Now, I will say that some romcom movies I’ve liked, and one of my favorite TV shows, The Office, use innuendos (which I still don’t care for); however, they also incorporate other styles of comedy that I wholeheartedly enjoy. For example, in the movie A Cinderella Story, I love Carter’s sassy comebacks and how laughably obnoxious the antagonists are. Going back to The Office, while characters like Michael Scott often use innuendos, he’s also hilarious because of how oblivious he is during everyday situations. Kevin and Jim crack me up just by their facial expressions.

I’ve found that some romcom books use innuendos as a “humor crutch”, so to speak, instead of bringing humor out naturally through the characters themselves. Just like I mentioned earlier on in this post, there’s often more focus on the appearance of the characters rather than the characters as people, which then generates appearance-based humor through innuendos.

Again, I just want to clarify that I’m not speaking for all romcom books here. There are some I’ve read that have incorporated humor very well without resorting to innuendos. This is just another personal critique I have of books I’ve read of the genre, and if you like these things about the genre, that’s okay. It’s just not my cup of tea.

There you have it, my friend. I hope I didn’t come off as too critical in this post. I’m not a romcom book hater, and I really hope and pray I did not offend any romcom writers in this post; I just wish the aspects I mentioned above were not the genre norm (at least of the books I’ve read so far) so I could enjoy them as much as I do romcom movies. Again, if you like any of the aspects I mentioned above, I have no resentment towards you or your choices. All the points in this post are just my personal preferences, and my opinions are not the gospel, so you’re free to ignore them if you wish. 🙂

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

Do you prefer romcom movies or romcom books? Based on my points above, are there any romcom books that you think I would enjoy? Drop your recommendations below!

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

8 thoughts on “Why I Prefer Romcom Movies Over Romcom Books

  1. I can definitely relate and agree with pretty much everything you mentioned in this post! I have read a lot of rom-coms that I genuinely love but there are also a lot of rom-coms that I didn’t enjoy for the reasons you mentioned, especially the one about how the characters in books repeatedly mention the other character’s physical appearance and the innuendo/jokes. Those have actually become bookish pet peeves of mine too. I have read several rom-coms that I really enjoyed though like Authentically Izzy by Pepper Basham (highly recommend!), The Heartbreaker I Adore by Haley Zaragoza, Compared by Kortney Keisel, Chasing Him by Jenessa Fayeth, the Paige Alder trilogy by Erynn Mangum, and Melissa Ferguson’s rom-coms. Some of those still have some of that but not like others I’ve read.
    Also, you should definitely write a friends to lovers story someday! That’s one of my favorite tropes!☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love how most of your recommendations are on my TBR! 🙂 That gives me hope that I’ll find some romcoms I really enjoy. I’m really looking forward to reading those, and I’ll definitely check out the others. 🙂

      Thank you so much! I’ve got a plot bunny idea for a friends-to-lovers new adult romcom, but haven’t worked out all the details yet. It’s a few projects down the line though lol. :/

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, you’re so right, Jenny B. Jones is hilarious. XD I actually haven’t read a lot of romcom because I was turned off by the little I have read, for the exact reasons you’ve pointed out. It generally just feels so shallow…not really funny. *wry laugh* I totally get why you prefer romcom movies!! (And I don’t consider it treasonous, because oftentimes I love movies as much as books, sometimes – in certain cases – even more. 😜)

    Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s one of my all-time favorites! XD Lol I’m glad I’m not the only one!

      Speaking of movies, I really wish In Between by Jenny B. Jones would be turned into a movie so we could see Mad Maxine in live action lol. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my, I haven’t read that one yet, but my sister did and said it was so hilarious!!! 😆 I can’t wait to read it XDD

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So I think this explains a lot why I can sit back and enjoy a hallmark or chick flick, but generally speaking don’t like most rom-com or contemporary romances. I agree with pretty much everything you say here and I’m glad someone else is saying it because I’ve felt this but haven’t always known how to word it and sometimes wonder if I am the only one thinking it when I try to read what is marketed as clean rom-com or something. And the innuendo stuff drives me crazy. It has never felt funny to me, and I don’t know why it’s funny to others. Oh, well. I enjoyed your rant! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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