My favorite romantic comedies all follow one rule: It wouldn't be terrible to find out you were the hero or heroine.
In other words: the hero and heroine are both good people.
So many romantic comedies rely on the technique of hate-at-first-sight and have the hero and heroine sniping at each other all the way through the first two acts, only to fall for each other at the end, giving into their lust despite their lack of love. You're supposed to believe that these two terrible, terrible people who've been fighting for the past two hours of screen-time are supposed to have a happily-ever-after. I'm sorry: no.
The Good Stuff
But the really brilliant romantic comedies are about good people. Their heroes and heroines are kind and funny and smart and still have enough conflict to drive a three-act structure. This is pretty hard to do and not many screenwriters succeed.
But when they do, it's marvelous.
And yes, it's often done through ridiculous contrivances. The train track accident and coma in While You Were Sleeping. The heart transplant plot in Return to Me.
And the decoy bride plot in, well, The Decoy Bride.
But I'd rather have a ridiculous contrivance and heroes I can root for rather than a commonplace plot and screechy, hateful protagonists. Any day.
Which was why I was delighted to find The Decoy Bride. Perfect hero and heroine? No. But sympathetic and basically decent? Yep. They both grow and change and learn about themselves and each other . . . and none of it is boring because they also have great chemistry and are traipsing around a gorgeous island in the Outer Hebrides following the dictates of a brilliantly ridiculous plot filled with excellent and funny side characters.
I loved it.
And last I checked, it was free on Netflix streaming. My only complaint? Even in a movie set in Scotland they didn't let David Tennant use his native Scottish accent! Such a shame!
But if you're looking for a fun date night movie, queue this one right up. It's lovely.
Peace of Christ to you,
ETA: Content warning only for very mild sexuality, i.e., these aren't Christian characters and don't act like it, but they are characters who are careful to abide by the moral framework they do acknowledge. No nudity, but I recommend screening it yourself before showing it to any adolescents - there's at least one scene you might want to fast-forward.