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In Guilty Pleasures, Alice Guilluy examines the reception of contemporary Hollywood romantic comedy by European audiences. She offers a new look at the romantic comedy genre through a qualitative study of its consumption by actual audiences. In doing so, she attempts to challenge traditional critiques of the genre as trite "escapism" at best, and dangerous "guilty pleasure" at worst. Despite this cultural anxiety, little work has been done on the genre's real audiences. Guilluy addresses this gap by presenting the results of a major qualitative study of the genre's reception, based on interview research with rom-com viewers in Britain, France and Germany, focusing on Sweet Home Alabama (2002, dir. Andy Tennant). Throughout the interviews, participants attempted to distance themselves from what they described as the "typical" rom-com viewer: the uneducated, gullible, overly emotional (American) woman. Guilluy calls this fantasy figure the "phantom spectatrix". Guilluy complements this with a critical examination of the press reviews of the 20 biggest-grossing rom-coms at the worldwide box-office in order to contextualise the findings of her audience research.