Whether romantic or screwball, in comedy, love invariably conquers all on the silver screen. According to author Wes D. Gehring, there is a distinct difference between screwball and romantic comedy. In screwball comedy, the emphasis is on the comedy not the romance, although there is almost always romance involved. Accordingly, the romantic comedy emphasises, what else? romance.With the sexual revolution of the 1960s, screwball comedies disappeared from our screens. I suppose in part because American films became much more sexually explicit. Bed-swapping farces like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice and Shampoo held sway. Screwball was considered to be a relic of the past.When Bringing up Baby was loosely remade as What’s Up, Doc? in 1972, it breathed new life into a dormant genre. The gags came fast and furious as Barbra Streisand worked her magic on Ryan O’Neal’s nerdy academic. With her brash, fast-talking, personality and his stiff, bespectacled, demeanour, the pair were clearly based on Baby‘s Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.The tag line for What’s Up, Doc? read: “A screwball comedy. Remember them?” Well, whether people remembered or were simply discovering screwball comedy for the first time, the film went on to become the third highest grossing picture of the year, beaten only by The Godfather and The Poseidon Adventure.Fast forward a quarter of a century and through serendipitous circumstances a pair of screwball comedies landed smack in the middle of the 1990s. Michelle Pfeiffer’s One Fine Day reversed the traditional screwball formula where the male was the repressed milquetoast and the female was the zany free spirit who loosens him up. Here Michelle’s control-freak single mother is the straight man, at odds with George Clooney’s nonchalant journalist.For all the charm of Pfeiffer’s high-class haughtiness, Meg Ryan’s wacky biker-chick in Addicted to Love wins the cigar as the decade’s most imaginative screwball. Her inspired, borderline psycho Maggie drives Matthew Broderick’s lovelorn Sam to distraction, until he decides to join her vicious quest for revenge.Pitched halfway between a screwball heroine and a cartoon character, Ryan trades in her trademark ticks and winsome glances for feral rage and clipped delivery and it suits her. For all her ferocity, I would happily drop everything to join Maggie in her screwball world and never return.In a world filled with turmoil, trouble and strife, we could all do with a good laugh. Sadly Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make movies like these; worse still, audiences have forgotten how to watch them.