It’s hard to make Romantic Comedies interesting, audiences have certain expectations how they should play out, as such it’s pretty easy to stick to a formula and harder than you think to mess it up. In 2008, A romantic comedy tested all those conventions to the limit, and as such was struck down in infamy as a combination of romantic sentiment, testing the ideals of beauty, and gross-out humour, testing how long you’ll endure, that film was the Hottie and The Nottie.
For the past twenty years, only one girl has been on Nate Cooper mind. One Cristabel Abbott. When a ‘chance’ meeting reunites the two, they hit it off. However, Cristabel will only go on a date if her friend June can also meet someone. This should be easy except for one thing, June is repugnant. Teaming up with his friend Arno, the duo attempt to make June more attractive. But how far is too far when it comes to love and beauty?
The protagonist is an interesting character, he kind of has this Tom Green vibe to him, that is usually reserved more for broader sitcoms. It makes sense for the antics that he and Arno get up to. On the other hand, June’s sassiness is refreshing, and I feel a lot more rom-coms could benefit from characters with this much self-awareness. Her friend and the object of Nate’s affection, Cristabel, is played by Paris Hilton. As an unattainable standard of beauty, I can understand why Paris Hilton was picked for the role… or at least what attracted her to the character when it was pitched, the role isn’t that demanding for an actress starting out.
There’s a gleeful schadenfreude that can be experienced from watching the excruciating lengths, Nate and Arno must go through to make the idea of dating June more palatable; bribery, hypnotic suggestion, and other techniques. The film isn’t entirely a gross-out cavalcade, and the pace changes towards the final acts of the film, here it becomes a slightly more conventional genre flick, as new characters are introduced, and feelings are put to the test.
The Hottie and The Nottie feels like the perfect compromise film, with a traditional romantic comedy element to appeal to the girls, and ample gross-out humour for the boys. It goes far beyond any expectations, and I applaud the courage and convictions of both the film-makers and Paris Hilton. I knew about this film from its reputation long before I finally saw it, and like the characters in the film, I realise that it might have been worth the wait.
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