Anyone who reads advice books about romance has one problem to begin with: bad taste in literature.
Hollywood knows how to make commercially successful movies out of unpromising source material: Pragmatic Adaptation
. Sometimes their source material is not only non-fiction but isn't even a narrative. That doesn't seem to deter Hollywood from making romantic comedies out of advice books. Normally the plot will center on a character following, overtly or otherwise, the advice in the book, but there are In Name Only
exceptions, such as Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex note
- Woody Allen's movie of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) is an unusual example in that it's a series of seven disconnected sketches. Even so, they have almost nothing to do with the book.
- Mean Girls is based on "Queen Bees & Wannabees" by Rosalind Wiseman, a guide for parents of adolescent girls.
- The 1960 comedy School For Scoundrels (and by extension the 2006 remake) was based on Stephen Potter's satirical advice book The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship: The Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating and its sequels Lifemanship and One-Upmanship.
- On the day he died, John Belushi signed on to be in the film adaptation of The Joy Of Sex. He was high on cocaine at the time.
- 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter. Although that's not really an advice book; it's a comedy book, parts of which parody advice books.
- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- Sex And The Single Girl was named after the book by Helen Gurley Brown and starred Natalie Wood as a heavily fictionalized version of Brown.
- It, a 1927 romantic comedy starring Clara Bow which spawned the term "It Girl", was based on Elinor Glyn's advice guide about how to have great sex appeal.
- Both The Fast and the Furious and Live Free or Die Hard were based on magazine articles, as was Saturday Night Fever.
- He's Just Not That Into You was based on an advice book based on a stand-up comedy bit
- For a video game example, the Brain Age games are Minigame Games based on Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain, by Dr. Ryuta Kawashima.
- Parodied in Telltale's Sam & Max: Freelance Police games, where almost every episode is claimed to be based on some sort of pamphlet that has nothing to do with the actual plot. This is a running gag from the original comics as well.
- The 2007 German movie Warum Männer nicht zuhören und Frauen schlecht einparken is based upon an advice book of the same name, a bestseller in Germany at that time. (It was written by Australians, so it has an original English title: Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps)
- Yes-Man, sort of: the book it was based on is a memoir, but a sort of self-help memoir.
- Anime example: Health And Physical Education For 30 Year Olds, a sex and dating guide targeted at lonely Otaku in their 30s.
- The film Think Like a Man is based on Steve Harvey's relationship advice book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.
- What To Expect When You're Expecting is based on the perennial favourite pregnancy advice book and features an All-Star Cast.
- Inverted by the movie The Darwin Awards, a comedy is about a profiler-turned-insurance-investigator obsessed with the cockamamie deaths chronicled on the Darwin Awards website. The inversion is that the Darwin Awards are sort of an unadvice litany of things no one with a brain ought to do.
- Brazilian movie Até que a Sorte nos Separe ("Til Luck Do Us Part") is based upon financial advice book Casais Inteligentes Enriquecem Juntos ("smart couples get rich together" - the plot of the movie goes the other way, with a couple who won the lottery loses the prize after 15 years of Conspicuous Consumption).
- S. J. Perelman and Ogden Nash worked on an unproduced screenplay based on Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People.