Some things are always in style: a little black dress, a great pair of jeans, hoop earrings and rom-coms. As charming as the classic cinematic love stories of the 1980s and ’90s, The Rom-Com Agenda by Jayne Denker is a paean to the genre.
Leah Keegan was her foster mother’s caretaker for a year before the older woman died. She’s quiet by nature, a loner by circumstance and a hopeless romantic. When she witnesses the failed marriage proposal of her friend Eli Masterson to Victoria, a woman he’s only dated for four months, Leah recognizes the bereft heart of a kindred spirit.
But while Leah’s response to her situation is to put on her big girl panties and try to move forward, Eli wallows in his misery and becomes stagnate. His whole identity, it seems, was dependent on an improbable future with a woman who never loved him. But thanks to nostalgic rom-coms, his gal pals have the solution: a makeover!
This cute friends-to-lovers romance can be a bit predictable, especially when it comes to Eli, who believes he’ll only be appealing to Victoria after changing everything about himself in order to become the ideal rom-com leading man. Meanwhile, his inability (and, really, unwillingness) to move on hampers his ability to pursue his budding attraction to Leah. As he works through the regimen his friends concoct, naturally based on a cadre of classic films, he slowly discovers that the woman he truly loves is right in front of him.
It is actually Leah who is the true beneficiary of the rom-com agenda. Over the course of the project, she evolves into a more confident woman, one who overcomes the belief that she is unlovable to recognize that she deserves to be appreciated just as she is. It’s not only a lesson everybody needs to understand, but the cathartic reason people read romance in the first place.