Hoi An, Vietnam – the cutest town that there ever was is perfect for a (probably culturally inappropriate) romantic comedy with a budget big enough to travel.
The hallmark of a romantic comedy? The Meet-Cute, the point where the two main characters collide in an unexpected way, a way that makes people think, “Oh, that’s why I haven’t met my match yet – cause I haven’t been in a car where the brakes don’t work, and therefore I haven’t suddenly crashed into my perfect mate.”
This town is full of contrived Meet-Cute potentional.
The tourist center of the city is the old town, an ancient place full of tailors just waiting to make dresses and suits – perfect for the necessary shopping montage, followed by the “remove glasses, wear new dress and now you’re beautiful scene” followed by the “first date at a hip, but not hipster night market” scene.
Picture this, cause this really happened – an unsuspecting woman in need of a dress, walks into a shop. She points at a dress and gets whisked off to be measured, privacy is in short supply, and she stands there, in front of a mirror, acutely aware of all things, but especially the fact that her super practical hiking shoes make her look like a super practical American tourist.
As she stands there, measuring tape being tested against various body parts, embarrassed about her shoes and feeling exposed with the curtain half open, the right guy walks past (real life version ended with apologizing to the tailor for having the shoes and for being sweaty) – one who sees the shoes and is impressed with the practicality. In fact, he probably has the same (but larger) version of the shoes – tentative smiles occur, and a spark gets lit.
Which brings me to the second potential Meet-Cute, one involving a vehicle with spark plugs.
Outside the town are rice fields – usually perfect for the “getting to know you through an exercise that doesn’t allow for much talking” scene, but in the slighty more wacky, maybe French version of the film, also ideal for the Meet-Cute.
A woman is riding a bike through rice fields, not a care in the world. She comes across a herd of cattle, and gingerly rides through them, then, as she is about to ride past a mound (a big, big, mountain sized mound) of manure, a motorcycle comes from nowhere, speeds past and in an effort to get out of the vehicle’s way, she winds up, head first in the mound of fertilizer.
Luckily, the vehicle stops, the driver takes off his helmet and his hair looks like it has just come from shooting a shampoo commercial. He strides over to our heroine and yells at her for being on the wrong side of the road – cause all good relationships start with conflict. (Real life version ended right before the motorcycle part – at least there were cows)
So there you have it, a town rife with situations to generate a whole bunch of eye-rolls and atleast a $30M dollar opening weekend.
(Make no mistake, I do love a rom-com)