Richard Kelly likes things to be complicated. It’s not enough for him to pick a genre, think of a plot, have Person A do X to Person B, then roll credits; Kelly, instead, takes delight in a cacophony of ideas. For example: take Cameron Diaz’s right foot. Ordinarily, the director of a sci-fi thriller wouldn’t pay much heed of Ms. Diaz’s foot, but in The Box, that foot is missing four (significant) toes. Diaz shows us her foot in a scene where she discusses Sartre with her high school students (one of whom is being radio-controlled by Martians). She will later bond with Frank Langella over their mutual deformities. Then, her rocket scientist-husband shoots her in the chest.
Romantic comedies are to men what science-fiction is to women: part mystery, part cautionary tale. Men do not “get” rom-coms because they are not aimed at men. A good rom-com is about sympathy, tears, good clothes and sisterhood. Like sci-fi, it offers enjoyment based on strict adherence to convention. There must be: a woman (age 25-35) who is torn between two prospective husbands; a best friend who is slightly less attractive than the lead; a sing-along scene; much falling over and a happy ending (in sci-fi you replace the humans with aliens and the sing-along with a space battle). 27 Dresses (if you follow this scheme) is The Wrath of Khan, with weddings.