The wonderful Bookworm Room has a terrific post on this subject: Why do today’s romantic movie comedies–unlike, say, the witty, sophisticated Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn vehicles of yore–always feature a leading lady with the panache of Hepburn playing against a guy who’s, well, no Spencer Tracy? Or to put it bluntly, a guy who’s a wimp, a loser, a nerd, or, most typically, all three? Bookworm focuses on a Time magazine op-ed by Belinda Luscombe, who’s dismayed at “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” in which the uber-gorgeous Uma Thurman has to get linked up with….Luke Wilson (if you go for the hangdog sort, he’s the man for you), cast to type as a failed architect..

Luscombe points out that an architect who can design a building but can’t get it up is actually typical of today’s comedy antiheroes:

“In this summer’s The Break-Up, Jennifer Aniston lives with an overweight and slobby tour guide, while in Failure to Launch, Sarah Jessica Parker woos a man who dwells with his parents. Those guys would have bonded well with the lads from last year’s Wedding Crashers, who sneak into other people’s nuptials because they have no life, or with that 40 Year-Old Virgin fella. Or, for that matter, the gentlemen from Hitch or Fever Pitch or Along Came Polly or almost any other recent movie in the opening scenes of which boy and girl meet cute. They are, all of them, spectacular weenies.

“The shift in power between the sexes has nowhere been greater than in romantic comedies. The men are about as useful as a pitcher of spit, while the women have careers and well-furnished apartments and vast freighters of wisdom. In Julianne Moore’s next movie, Trust the Man, she plays a successful actress, while her husband has no remunerative employment. How does her real-life husband feel about being portrayed that way? You can ask him. He wrote the movie.”

Bookworm comments:

“She’s so right. These guys aren’t even New Age sensitive guys. They’re old-fashioned losers….

“Is this what Slackers, Gen X, Gen Y and the loonier side of Feminism have brought us to? A bizarre Lake Woebegone, where the women are strong, the children are above average, and the men are pathetic failures?

“I’m already beyond the stage where I’m affected by these young men (I’m not dating anymore), but I find it depressing that both my son and daughter will be raised in a world where men are demeaned and women are (probably) depressed. Luscombe notes that we’ll never have the society or the wit to take us back to the wonderful snappy romances of the 1940s, or even the Cinderella tales of the 50s and 60s, but she raises a cry for some return to a time when men were men and women were beautiful:”