No, this doesn't mean what you think.
The Screwball Comedy
is a very strict story form: a comedy film — usually in black and white, although some were made in color — in which an uptight, repressed, or otherwise stiff character gets broken out of his or her shell
by being romantically pursued
by a Cloudcuckoolander
(or a similar character type). It does not
just mean "zany comedy." The Producers
, say, is not a screwball comedy, although it is screwy, ballsy, and very funny.
It is characterized by fast-paced repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage and showing the struggle between economic classes.
In other words, a parody
of a Romantic Comedy
Classic screwball comedy examples include (period 1934-1944):
Later and modern examples of screwball comedy include:
- Unfaithfully Yours
- I Was a Male War Bride
- Monkey Business: the Cary Grant/Marilyn Monroe one, not the Marx Brothers one.
- The Seven Year Itch
- Some Like It Hot
- One, Two, Three
- Man's Favorite Sport?
- What's Up, Doc?: Peter Bogdanovich's homage to the genre.
- Switching Channels: A remake of His Girl Friday (which as noted above was a remake of The Front Page).
- The Hudsucker Proxy: Another homage, written and directed by The Coen Brothers
- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: A modern pastiche of the genre
- Arthur is about equal parts P. G. Wodehouse pastiche and screwball pastiche.
- Date Night
- After Hours and Something Wild can be seen as darkly postmodern '80s variations of the genre.
- Runaway Bride
- Conversely, the 1928 silent Marion Davies comedy The Patsy can be regarded as a sort of very early prototype for the genre.
- Ticktock, a horror novel by Dean Koontz, is deliberately written as a Screwball Comedy.
- Dharma and Greg
- House Sitter
- Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle is a non-romantic version, in which uptight, nervous Harold gets broken out of his shell by laid-back Kumar; in other words, if the standard screwball comedy is a parody of the romantic comedy, this one is a parody of a Bromantic Comedy. Also, there's a big cat and everything.
- Strangers in Paradise
- John Belushi co-wrote an unproduced screenplay called Noble Rot, a Genre Throwback to the Screwball Comedies of The Thirties.