Chick Flick theory 102

Or Why does she always fall down?

As it was pointed out to me by my esteemed colleague Random Kate frequently in chick flicks the lead character at some point takes a prat fall. This sometimes happens repeatedly. There are many instances of this kind of thing, see Raising Helen, things starring Sandra Bullock, Mean Girls and of course, Bridget Jones.

Why do these heroines, who are supposed to be successful women in control of their own destinies fall down?
Is it a reference to the old horror movie cliche of the fleeing heroine tripping while she tries to escape the villain? Is it a physical representation of the inner turmoil or heart flutter she feels when she sees her crush? Is it a demonstration of losing your hold on your poise when in love?

Mostly I think it’s just a cheap laugh. I always love it when people fall down in movies as you all know, but as it has been brought to my attention it’s almost always women who do the falling down. I cannot immediately think of any examples of the lead man falling down in a romantic comedy. Hugh Grant can’t get over the fence in Notting Hill, but that’s hardly the same as just tripping over your own feet. If anyone can think of an example I’d love to hear it.

Why is it that lead women are shown falling down but not lead men? Maybe it’s the old claim that men are inherently more physical than women and therefore more in touch with their bodies (so to speak). Men’s emotions in movies come through in eleoquent turns of phrase. Many lead women become tongue-tied at the crucial moment. (Except Bridget Jones, she always says exactly what she thinks, bless her. Even if she’s just crashed landed into a pig sty.)

Exceptions to all these rules are of course everywhere. One of my favourite chick flicks Practical Magic has none of these qualities, but I suspect that is because of it’s premise. When the women who lead the story have a gimmick like that they don’t need to conform to any of the things I’ve mentioned. They’re witches so they don’t have high glamour jobs and they don’t fall down.

This has been a Friday rambling. Not sure how much sense it makes.