We had just finished watching the delightful romantic farce Paul Blart: Mall Cop when Mrs. Φ asked me: “Why don’t they ever make movies about an overweight, homely woman capturing the heart of a hot guy?”
Why indeed? The only movie I can think of that made a nod in this direction was The Truth about Cats and Dogs – and really, Janeane Garofalo is reasonably slender and adequately cute standing next to anyone other than Uma Thurmond. (Another example might be Shallow Hal, but that movie cheated by having Rosemary re-imagined as Gwyneth Paltrow almost until the very end.)
Further, while it might be difficult to imagine the Paul Blart character attracting a girl that looks like Jayma Mays in real life, the real-life Kevin James is married to this girl:
So personality (and wealth and fame, no doubt) really can compensate for a lack of abs, at least in men. Janeane Garofalo, meanwhile, is “married” to producer Robert Cohen, a man so ordinary that he has evidently never been photographed.
But lack of realism has never been an obstacle for Hollywood before. So why doesn’t it release more movies following a homely-girl-outscores-her-station storyline?
My first assumption is that there is no market for such movies, among either men or women. Men don’t want to imagine themselves with a homely woman, and women don’t want to imagine themselves as overweight. In contrast, men don’t care that Kevin James is heavy; all they care about is that he gets to be with Jayma Mays! (I’m not sure if these movies have much appeal for women.)
Alternatively, the homely-girl storyline has no appeal to the kind of people who write screenplays, which I suspect explains a lot of what Hollywood produces.