In Praise of Innuendo

All romantic comedies are all about sex, and romantic comedies where no one has sex are even more about sex than the romantic comedies where they do.

Trust me. I’ve watched 52 million chick flicks and while other genres may include sex, it’s that knotty, bottled-up sexual tension that drives all romantic comedy plots. Should the heroine surrender to her inexplicable longing for the boorish hero, who is so wrong for her that he’s right? Should the hero sweep the heroine into his arms like he wants to, despite the fact that she drives him insane? Should they spoon until death do them part, or do the more sensible, obvious thing and go opposite ways?

In the best chick flicks no one actually has sex because they stretch the tension to its snapping point until — like in It Happened One Night — the “walls of Jericho” come tumbling down in the very last frame. This is why the ancient, censored chick flicks are the best with their sly innuendos, virile men, virginal women and pent-up passion. (In It Happened One Night, a slip slung over a curtain dividing two beds is suggestive.)

It’s where good art often happens — walking that wispy line between passion and restraint. In fashion, allure is as much about what you conceal as what you reveal. Restraint requires creativity, and passion gives art power.


~ by stultiloquence on February 16, 2008.

3 Responses to “In Praise of Innuendo”

  1. I noticed something like this during the screwball comedy cca. I was surprised at all the innuendo that laced some of those films.

  2. I think innuendo is way wittier. It actually requires creativity. A good new movie that does this is “Down with Love.”

  3. “It Happened One Night” is one of my favorite movies. Exactly– it’s tip-toeing sensuality is so subtle that it makes the movie vibrant and intriguing and… very sensual!

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