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
- Spring Dreams: A Japanese version of the format from 1960, with a blustering oaf of a dad, three addle-minded children with complicated love lives, a secretary who makes an Anguished Declaration of Love, bumbling mobsters...
- One, Two, Three
- Kiss Me, Stupid
- Man's Favorite Sport?
- The Proposal: An uptight woman pretends that she is going to marry her relaxed male assistant.
- What's Up, Doc?: Peter Bogdanovich's homage to the genre.
- Switching Channels: A remake of His Girl Friday (which was a remake of The Front Page).
- A Song Is Born: A 1948 remake of Ball of Fire.
- 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: With the help of a Servile Snarker valet, a Fun Personified Lonely Rich Kid being pushed into a stuffy Arranged Marriage finds true love with a working-class woman who loves him for himself.
- Date Night
- After Hours and Something Wild can be seen as darkly postmodern '80s variations of the genre.
- Gimme, Gimme, Gimme is a non-romantic example (mostly because the male character is homosexual) but has many moments of the two main characters having to Break the Haughty out of the other. The male character is a snobbish middle-class struggling actor, and the female character is an under-class ugly Fag Hag, and the two of them fight over attractive men.
- 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.
- My Dark And Fearsome Queen combines Screwball and Black Comedy with fantasy adventure.
- Dharma & Greg
- House Sitter
- Harold & 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.
- 1987 Madonna flick Who's That Girl draws heavily from the genre, right down to to the big cat riffing Bringing Up Baby 20 years before Harold and Kumar.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its remake feature a straight-laced couple being seduced by a transsexual, alien scientist.
- The manga and its anime adaptation Maison Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi features a college student infatuated with a sweet-tempered, yet widowed boarding house manager, while having to put up with the madcap tenants. It's like if Howard Hawks created a manga turned into an anime.