A romantic indie comedy double: Honor Society and Mack & Rita

(via Shutterstock)

Is there anything new or different you can do with romantic comedies?

You might think “NO!” they are tripped in a delightful trope-heavy prison of their own making; but the fact is, with a little cleverness and imagination, you can add some freshness and originality to the mix.

Granted, not a huge amount since neither film, wonderful though they seem, is exactly a gamechanger extraordinaire but in the case of both Honor Society and Mack & Rita, there’s enough fun new stuff, not to mention some great performances from talented actors, to make diving into the rom-coms worth your time.

And who knows? You might even fall in love with them …

Honor City

(courtesy Paramount +)

Honor (Angourie Rice) is an ambitious high school senior whose sole focus is getting into an Ivy League college… assuming she can first score the coveted recommendation letter from her guidance counselor, Mr. Calvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Willing to do whatever it takes, Honor concocts a Machiavellian-like plan to take down her top three student competitors, until things take a turn when she unexpectedly falls for her biggest competition, Michael. Honor Society is directed by Israeli-Greek-Polish filmmaker Oran Zegman, making her feature directorial debut after a bunch of short films previously. The screenplay is written by David A. Goodman. Produced by Michael Lewen. (courtesy First Showing)

Honor Society premieres on Paramount + on 29 July.

Mack & Rita

(courtesy First Showing)

When 30-year-old self-proclaimed homebody writer Mack Martin (Elizabeth Lail) reluctantly joins a Palm Springs bachelorette trip for her best friend Carla (Taylour Paige), her inner 70-year-old is released — literally. The frustrated writer and influencer magically transforms into her future self 40-years-older self: “Aunt Rita” (Diane Keaton). Freed from the constraints of other people’s expectations, Rita comes into her own, becoming an unlikely social media sensation and sparking a tentative romance with Mack’s adorable dog-sitter, Jack (Dustin Milligan). A sparkling new comedy with a magical twist, Mack & Rita celebrates being true to yourself at any age. Mack & Rita is directed by the American actress / filmmaker Katie Aselton, director of the films The Freebie and Black Rock previously. The screenplay is written by Paul Welsh & Madeline Walter. It’s produced by Alex Saks, Diane Keaton, Stephanie Heaton-Harris, Jina Panebianco, Dori A. Rath. (courtesy First Showing)

Mack & Rita opens on 12 August in USA; no international release dates available yet.

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