Explore the discographies of Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. Nothing helps three-dimensionalize a white, twenty-something, upper middle class woman like having her a) know all the lyrics to and b) be driven to uncontrollable dance by Motown.
The roots of this are probably Jungian. Jung proposed an Electra Complex as counterpart to Freud's Oedipal Complex, explaining hostility by daughters toward mothers. Whatever the reasoning, the ultimate chick flick must have an underlying theme of Matronly Disapproval of the Protagonist and/or Her Life Choices.
Perhaps she moved away from home, forgetting her roots and never living up to her mother's hopes and aspirations, like Sandra Bullock in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Barbara Streisand in The Way We Were and Sandra Bullock in Hope Floats and Barbara Streisand in Yentl and-you know what? That's pretty much the reason for a mother-daughter conflict in every movie. Regardless, the underlying hostility culminates in at least one openly confrontational scene between the main character and her mother, ultimately resolving itself on the main character's deathbed when she and her mother realize they fight to no end because there is No End to Their Love.
In fact, for the ultimate chick flick you probably need both. One should play the guy who broke the main character's heart and the other should be the rebound who turns out to be Mr. Right. We'll leave it to you to decide which is which.
At some point, your female lead has to go to a wedding for a friend or family member and reflect on their love and the love or lack thereof in her own life. See My Best Friend's Wedding, Chocolat, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Sweet Home Alabama. Every guy knows a few drinks and a wedding reception is a recipe for panty peeler. Romanticize that idea, make her date more interested in talking about her feelings than getting her ankles on his shoulders, and you've got it.
Don't ask us. For some reason, nothing says a Character's Boyfriend Loves Her Until the End of Time than the fact he is impulsive and irresponsible enough with money to buy an entire florist's inventory and have it secretly delivered to her house. Just make sure this scene comes well before the revelation of the deadly disease or things could get awkward.
Prior to meeting the perfect (though, remember, Flawed in One Way) man, your protagonist must take part is some ridiculously idiotic scheme, a la Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days or Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed or Melanie Griffith in Working Girl.
While entangled in this web of deceit, she learns that she truly loves the guy, but can't let him know without Revealing All Her Lies. A few suggestions might be making your protagonist be very rich but posing as a bag lady, or a childless woman joining the PTA. Now try your own! Note: A woman pretending to be a man is acceptable (see Just One of the Guys, Victor/Victoria), but a man pretending to be a woman will not have the intended effect (see The Crying Game).
To know love is to know heartbreak. Your protagonist must have had her heart broken at some point by a man she thought was The Right Guy, but who wound up cheating on her or putting his career first or in some other way putting his desires before her needs, which is, of course, Just Wrong. The best revenge against such an affront is to destroy some of his typically masculine property, such as a sports car, old Playboy collection, big screen TV or Johnny Unitas autographed football.
You may also opt to have her trash his wardrobe, which honestly wouldn't have as much impact on most guys as seeing those other things destroyed, but certainly hits closer to home with the women in the crowd, who are your target audience. Case in point, Angela Basset hit several of these points when she torched her cheating husband's car after filling it with all his possessions in Waiting to Exhale. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes did the same to Andre Rison's shoes and bathroom, but that wasn't a movie.
Jake Bell is a regular contributor to CRACKED.com, and head writer of the extremely funny, daily updated blog Ye Old Comic Blogge.
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