Are films so often so predictable for the same reason that children want to hear the same bedtime story over and over again? Because it's safe and stable and you can watch without having to be nervous? But regardless of the reasons, what would happen if films started to be unpredictable? I don't mean in the "oh, we're so clever, we have a twist in the end which you never could guess"-way, which is, in its way, just as predictable because if you know you're in for a surprise, nothing that happens really actually surprises you. (Or shouldn't at least.) No, what I mean is real unpredictability. Take the new film with the lovely Katherine Heigl, The Ugly Truth (2009). I haven't seen it yet, just the trailer, but I believe I've got the gist of it. A woman (Heigl) is interested in Man A. She has a colleague (Man B) whom she finds disgusting. But she agrees to let him help her get Man A. Now, I'm guessing that Man A will be repelled by the forceful style of her dating manoeuvres, and that she instead will fall in love with Man B, a love which he will reciprocate. I could be very wrong, and I hope I am, because it would be so very interesting and brave should the film take a different turn. Let's say that Man A is promoted and moves to another city, and she ends up alone, having a fling with the janitor. And she and Man B remain only friends, and barely that, because, after all, he's pretty disgusting. Now, how would the intended audience react? Would they be upset? Feel let down? Disappointed perhaps? Would it damage the film's box office figures? Now that's the real unpredictability here.
When I've seen it I'll tell you whether I was right or wrong.