Their premises can range from the silly to the frightening, but they are so addictive it's impossible not to watch them all anyway. The takeaway, perhaps, is that “romantic comedy” is an elastic designation, one that lies at least partly in the eye of the beholder—appropriate enough for a genre focused on love. Re-watching it recently, I was struck by how tragic it is: a comedy that goes out of its way to remind you of the pitfalls of falling in love, especially with married men, or someone who’s in love with a married man. A magic crab. He gets to know the inhabitants of this tiny town, to learn kindness and curiosity. Enter Kissing Jessica Stein, which even 16 years later remains one of the few mainstream, widely distributed romantic comedies to focus on same-sex attraction—and between queer women, no less, who are even tougher to find in these sorts of movies than queer men. Times, Sunday Times (2006) Romantic comedy about a man forced to live inside a bubble because of his weak immune system. The movie verges into stalker territory with Annie’s willingness to cross the country in search of her true love, but Hanks is pitch-perfect as the bereaved husband and doting father. After each member of Vanity Fair’s Hollywood team, including all three of our critics, came up with his or her own personal top 10 list, we crunched the numbers, noting which films appeared most frequently, and—after a few brief arguments about what constitutes a romantic comedy, and what does not—came up with the final tally. Their relationship is sparring and hilarious, the two clearly perfectly matched in wits, until it turns irrepressibly romantic, with Colbert’s Ellie running away from her unwanted wedding to “pill of the century” Westley (Jameson Thomas) to be with her hunky newspaperman. They fall in love, using technology that would eventually put both characters out of business if cameras kept rolling for another decade: the Internet. Every performance in this film is a gem, and James L. Brooks guides the viewer so expertly that its paces feel inevitable, even as they jerk tears. It’s complicated. And questionable elements or not, you’ll still wind up rooting for the duo’s long-awaited meet-cute atop the Empire State Building. Keanu Reeves! Others, however, are not as deserving of praise — if anything, they'll make you question how they even got made. Renée Zellweger’s hapless heroine Bridget Jones and her competing love interests—played with distinctly British charm by Colin Firth and Hugh Grant—became an instant hit in 2001. Though some industry insiders may have been wary of a film about people in their 50s and 60s finding love, audiences were ready for a mature romance—one that involved a hilarious sex scene in which Keaton’s character takes Nicholson’s blood pressure to make sure he doesn’t have a heart attack during the act. That's right, he let's his best friend have his baby and only tells her seven years later to stop her from marrying another man. This summer, Netflix has hit pay dirt by leaning hard on frothy comedies about pretty young things falling in love; this week, Crazy Rich Asians will storm theaters, putting a new sort of gloss on a tale as old as time. Yet not all rom-coms can navigate their premises with such ease, and as a result they become downright weird when you actually stop to think about the brand of romance the movie is peddling. The film is older than most of the other rom-coms on our list, but in many ways, it was before its time—a media-world romance fueled by talky, mile-a-minute romance banter that posited the chemistry between Grant and Russell as a meeting of equally sharp minds with the same nose for news. Even discounting its milestone elements, the film does an admirable job of balancing rom-com clichés (the overbearing Jewish mother! Ephron and director Rob Reiner achieve that alchemy by combining the sweet quirkiness of Ryan’s Sally Albright with the cranky pessimism of Billy Crystal’s Harry Burns, all swirled together with Ephron’s endlessly quotable dialogue (as well as more than a few memorable improvised lines): “Baby Fish Mouth is sweeping the nation!”; “Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash!” Of course, you also can’t forget the charming faux-documentary vignettes of longtime married couples sprinkled throughout the piece, and the stellar supporting performances by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. 5. . Our ultimate list is an eclectic mix, containing everything from black-and-white classics to, well, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. And it became the gold standard that Hollywood tried to emulate for the next decade. 4. For a character to ensure true love in a romantic comedy, there's one surefire solution: making a bet with someone. Times, Sunday Times (2007) Romantic comedy about two brothers and their relationships with women. (We’d argue she never again played a true innocent after My Best Friend’s Wedding.) His Girl Friday lays on the paternalism of the 40s pretty thick—Walter sabotages Hildy’s relationship with another man, and delights in cornering her into doing more work—but her final decision, between the monotony of domesticity and the thrill of chasing the next story, rings true nearly 80 years later. Ah, the joys of romantic comedies. Hollywood says romantic comedy, I say horror story. —K. It checks all the boxes: the meet-cute, the wacky friends, the lovable stars with electric chemistry and a skill for adorably awkward entanglements. 6. —Yohana Desta, Is The Apartment even really a romantic comedy? Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston play best friends in this rom-com with a truly disturbing concept at its center. A magic crab makes Sean Patrick Flanery fall in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Thanks to a prank pulled on her by her brother when she was 11, a woman spends the rest of her life believing she will only ever be truly happy if she finds a man named Damon Bradley. —Julie Miller, Peyton Reed’s sleeper classic, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, wasn’t especially well-received when it was released in 2003, which I have a theory about. Each character is given so much personality and so much attention that My Big Fat Greek Wedding could be splintered into several offshoots following the antics of Aunt Voula (a rib-achingly funny Andrea Martin) or the headstrong Gus (Michael Constantine), who can trace anything and everything back to Greece. The Sun (2010) But all that sugar was just a cover for what’s really at stake here, which is a re-writing of movie romances and their ongoing battles of the sexes. Culture shock! It established Meg Ryan as America’s sweetheart. We trace Toula and Ian’s relationship from the very first time they lay eyes on each other, all the way to Ian’s intimate proposal. Just remember the next time you go out on a date that the guy sitting across from you could totally be a spy and he won't mention it until you are married, pregnant, and have a hit out on you. But its characters do: these are people who know the strategic ins and outs of romance, and spend an entire movie one-upping each other. Incredibly specific coincidences are the bread and butter of the rom-com world, but How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days takes chance encounters to a whole new level. (There would be no Regina George without Cher.) In the film Knocked Up , it is not the man and woman that have the romantic chemistry, but the two men. What else are you gonna do? (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014, table 4.1). From the awards race to the box office, with everything in between: get the entertainment industry's must-read newsletter. This page is designated for COMEDY & ROMANCE.Our rating system allows screenwriters and producers … But it’s Rupert Everett, playing one of the early rom-com gay besties, who nearly saunters off with the movie. A bromantic comedy finds humor in reversing the formula of the typical "romantic comedy". Which got us thinking: what are the films that best exemplify this beloved but under-appreciated genre? All rights reserved. Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie. Though a film about romance in the age of America Online was always going to be hopelessly dated, it was also the first rom-com to normalize the thrill of flirting via chat box with an anonymous stranger (even while talking about innocuous things like butterflies and buying school supplies in the fall). This is not how life works. Ad Choices. Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Austin Collins, Who doesn’t love a movie that opens with characters shouting “fuck fuck fuck” as they scramble wildly to make it to a friend’s wedding? Examples of how to use “romantic comedy” in a sentence from the Cambridge Dictionary Labs To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Romantic Comedy is an example of a genre which is light-hearted, humorous story involving people in love, sometimes overlapping with subgenres such as screwball comedy teen comedy, or gross-out comedy. —K. ), but once she finds out, the whole romance angle should be dropped. I just want to make sure you are hearing me — this is a rom-com that's key plot point is a magic crab. 1. The romantic comedy has a branding problem. Even so, the film has a certain magic to it—a wistful sweetness underpinning its remarkably quotable jokes, rounding out what could have been an episodic collection of (very good) punch lines. See more. At the center of all this silliness is a character who truly deserves a happy ending—but not at the expense of the newfound freedom she inspired in everyone else. —Julie Miller, Though his previous contributions to pop culture went criminally under-appreciated—it would take years for Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared to get their deserved due—Judd Apatow’s 2005 feature directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, was a career turning point. A great example is 13 Going on 30, which finds a 13-year-old's consciousness jumping into her 30-year-old body. Romantic comedies – especially Hollywood Romantic comedies – are among the most formulaic of genres, with elements that have consistently contributed to these scripts’ and films’ success. Romantic ComedySILENT AND PRE-CODE ROMANTIC COMEDYTHE SCREWBALL ERADECLINE AND REINVENTIONFURTHER READINGRomantic comedy in its most general meaning includes all films that treat love, courtship, and marriage comically. At SS, we believe screenwriting success starts with a logline. The movie’s critique and veneration of teen culture may look quaint in this era of Instagram stars, but Clueless still stands sturdily in its platform sneakers as one of the best of the genre—of several genres, in fact. Romantic comedy was a popular and much-preferred type in Elizabethan theatre, and all the trappings of such are present in The Merchant of Venice. It’s an amazing emotional and structural feat, a movie that I would happily watch again and again and again. —Anna Lisa Raya, What to do about Annie Hall, an indisputable masterpiece whose reputation has arguably been overshadowed by the troubling allegations lobbed against its writer, director, and star nearly two decades after its 1977 release? romantic-comedy romancecomedy comedy romance romcom love humor funny teenfiction drama highschool fiction lovestory romantic fanfiction chicklit cute friendship contemporary teen newadult. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. It is full of sunshine, love, laughter, and song. Romantic comedies are movies with light-hearted, humorous dramatic stories centered around romantic ideals such as a "true love" able to surmount most obstacles or the "perfect couple." But thanks to its stars, as well as the careful writing by Richard Curtis, who had made magic with Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral just a few years before, Notting Hill hits all the requisite notes just right. The secret healing powers of Windex! In other words, these were two beloved actors stretching some already toned muscles, and it showed. The predominant mood of the play is one of cheerfulness, light-hearted gaiety, and laughter.It is a pure and fun romantic comedy. 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