Love & Basketball

Comedy as defined by Aristotle is a story of the rise in fortune of a sympathetic central character. The movie Love & Basketball (2000) fits within this criteria. You have your stereotypical friends-to-lover trope but with a slight twist. The main characters Quincy (Omar Epps) and Monica (Sanaa Lathan) are both aspiring professional Basketball players. The two grew up together and after finding out they both got into USC to play basketball their relationship progressed from friends to lovers. However, everything can’t be straightforward forward and something needs to provoke conflict between the two.

Midway through the movie is when things start to go awry, Quincy begins to ask Monica to do things that he knows would jeopardize her spot on the team when he needs comfort and when she prioritizes her sport over him their relationship begins to change. Things progress the two break up and Quincy drops out of school to pursue a career in the NBA. In the end, like one would expect from a Romantic Comedy the two find their way back together through the use of a grand gesture.

This movie has the markings of a stereotypical romantic comedy movie, with its cheesy trope, predictable conflict, likable characters, and a feel-good ending that many movie lovers tend to seek. While it loosely fits into the category of a romantic comedy the qualities nevertheless are apparent. With Monica prioritizing her career and Quincy creating unrealistic relationship expectations the two seemed doomed from the start, and yet they find their way back together by the end of the movie. Viewers see a role reversal in the prioritization of a career over a personal relationship adding additional depth to the movie. Both characters ultimately experience fortune in their own ways and coupled with their misfortunes these central characters experience immense development fulfilling Aristotle’s criteria for a comedy.

This movie is arguably extremely influential for its time as is a movie about a woman prioritizing her own needs ahead of her boyfriend’s. A needed change from a generation of movies with female leads who sacrificed their aspirations and needs for love.

While there will always be more meaningful works than a comedy. In my opinion, a comedy’s job isn’t necessarily to be meaningful or life-changing but to act as an escape from the troubles and constraints of today’s life. Comedies tend to be unrealistic, far fetched, and that’s what makes them unique and an escape from reality.