How do you define a romantic comedy? Like, really define it? I'm not talking about the obvious ones like When Harry Met Sally or The Proposal or My Best Friend’s Wedding—what about the ones that could go either way? The movies that sure seem like they should be considered romantic comedies, but that divert in some critical ways.
As we prepared for Rom-Com Week, the editors at Marie Claire debated (heatedly!) what it really means to conform to the romantic comedy genre and which movies fit the bill. Turns out, we don’t always agree! Though we eventually took our questions to the experts and came up with a working definition of a rom-com, we want to know what you think.
So help us out by voting on whether the below movies are rom-coms, and then check back Wednesday to see what our experts say about these choices.
Let’s start with an easy one:
It's got family, it's got a wedding, it's got some hilarious lines ("Put some Windex on it!")—but is it a romantic comedy?
This movie is very funny and very sexy! But do you think it counts?
A classic film about revenge on men, but only debatably a rom-com. Right?
You think I'm gorgeous, you want to hug me, you want to kiss me...But do you want to vote for me to be considered an actual rom-com? Think hard about this one.
The quintessential mumbly pregnancy comedy with teens, but is it a rom-com?
The most romantic movie with a 9/11 joke in it ever made, hands down. But is it a rom-com? Really?
One time, at band camp, I thought about whether American Pie was a romantic comedy. What say you?
Okay, but what about its third sequel, American Wedding? Kind of romantic, non?
This one could go either rom-com or pure com, depending on your point of view.
It's funny, it's got a feminist message, it's got a cute romance. What do you think?
All's fair in love and basketball, baby! Is this a rom-com?
This one is indisputably one of the best movies of the last few decades, but its status as a rom-com has been intensely debated in our office.
It stars some comedy kings, but it's also quite romance-y. Your thoughts?
Look, we all love The Princess Diaries. But a makeover montage doesn't necessarily make it a rom-com. So is it?
Is it a weirdo comedy, or a proto Pretty Woman?
Jason Segel is nude and has a puppet musical and is in a love triangle. Your thoughts on this?
Katherine Heigl is a mid-aughts rom-com queen, which is a point for Knocked Up's inclusion. But! She also famously said this movie was a little sexist in its portrayal of women (a comment that, though totally not wrong, really hurt her career). So does it count?
It's based on Shakespeare, has got Heath Ledger at Peak Sexiness, and has a supremely underrated soundtrack. Is that enough to qualify it for inclusion into the romantic comedy canon? You decide!
I'm personally of the opinion that Matthew Lillard in anything automatically makes that thing a teen comedy, but this movie pretty much invented certain rom-com tropes. So cue up Sixpence None the Richer and tell us: Does it count?
This movie will make you laugh, cry, and love Madonna even more than you already did. But is it a rom-com?
If you're a bird, I'm a bird, and this movie is a rom-com...Or is it?
The movie that's arguably responsible for making women-centric comedy movies excellent again! But tell me, is it a rom-com?
Thanks for voting! Check back at the end of the week for the official definition of a rom-com—and what it might mean for your fave.
MORE ROM-COM COVERAGE, RIGHT THIS WAY
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Cady Drell is a writer, editor, researcher and pet enthusiast from Brooklyn.
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