Anyone who knows me at all, is well aware that I LOVE love stories. And I adore romantic comedies. But not all romantic comedies. Like it or not, love is not blind, or deaf, when it comes to picking a great rom-com to watch. I gravitate towards smart and snappy rather than sappy and cute. And, as you will guess from the list below, opposites-attract stories are my cup-o-tea!
So, here is a list (in no particular order) of my top 13 favorite romantic comedy movies.
It’s beyond me why Ashley Judd doesn’t do more comedy. She has wonderful sense of timing and blends drama and laughs into a seamless whole. The addition of Hugh Jackman and Greg Kinnear, two very talented and intelligent performers, lifts this rom-com to the level of classic.
You can rarely miss with Steve Martin. The man is a genius. But a romantic comedy vehicle is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a great Steve Martin film. He just doesn’t seem like the rom-com kinda guy. Yet, he pulls it off. Brillantly. He’s one of those actors who can imbue his performance with a great deal of heart, even while he’s behaving like a hilarious lunatic.
Music and Lyrics (2007)
I adore Drew Barrymore. I’ve enjoy just about every movie she’s done, but her romances (Ever After) and romantic comedies are my favorite. And Music and Lyrics is a dark horse favorite. Who would predict that Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant would have such on-screen spark together. Not this gal!
Okay, Elizabeth Taylor is one of my all-time favorite actresses so pretty much anything she touched, I want to see. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, yes please! Cleopatra, give me more! And if you add in Richard Burton, a powerhouse unto himself and Taylor’s perfect on-screen match (whatever real-life issues they shared), plus one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, you have a recipe for perfection.
I read that director Norman Jewison wanted to capture the melodrama and sweeping arias of the opera when he made Moonstruck. And he did. The over-the-top monologues delivered by both Cher and Nicholas Cage would be off-putting if they were not so brilliantly incorporated in this quirky, magical love story. I think this is one of those films you could not recreate today with different actors. Jewison captured lightning in a bottle with Moonstruck and you know how rarely that happens.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
A million times better than its remake (You’ve Got Mail), this classic brings together James Stewart‘s awkward charm with Margaret Sullavan‘s feisty smarts. The secondary characters add depth and interest to what, on paper, is a straightforward story.
The Wedding Singer (1998)
One of the few Adam Sandler movies I enjoy. It doesn’t hurt it features awesome 80s music! And Drew Barrymore.
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Adventure, treasure maps, opposites-attract romance, and Danny DeVito! This movie is heaven! I think my recent obsession with contemporary action romance novels a la Trish Loye stems from the fact that I love, love adventures. I think that also explains why I write fantasy – a genre known for its adventure tales.
Desk Set (1957)
What can I say about this film. It’s smart, clever, funny, sweet, and about librarians. You just cannot go wrong!
Jack Nicholson reinvented himself in the mid-90s and put out some amazing films. As Good As It Gets is probably the best of that period. What a fantastic, multi-layered story that gets right everything good about romantic comedies and leaves out all the bad.
It Happened One Night (1934)
If you’ve only seen Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind, you are missing a WHOLE lot of fun. Turns out Mr. Gable is a talented comedian. He and Claudette Colbert transcend both the genre and the decades in this film. Though it was made over 80 years ago (sheesh) it still delights and shines. That’s an impressive feat for any art form but particularly film, which tends to become dated more easily.
Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
Another wonderful romantic comedy from the indomitable Jack Nicholson. This time playing a character that is the complete opposite of the one he portrayed in As Good As It Gets. And yet, he is just as convincing here as he was in AGAIG. How does that man manage to immerse himself so completely in such violently different people? I ask myself the same thing about Meryl Streep.
Anyone who sites the atrocious 2005 version of this classic story as the quintessential adaption (and their are many, many, many, many people who do) should have their head examined. The entire cast – from principals to secondary characters – nailed their roles, while Andrew Davies wrote the script that Jane Austen herself would have written had she been alive to see her masterpiece translated to film.
Check out the first episode for yourself: