The 21 Best Romantic Comedies of 2021 (So Far)

Including the third installments of To All the Boys, The Princess Switch, and The Kissing Booth.

rom coms 2021
(Image credit: Warner Bros/Netflix/Amazon Prime)

The romantic comedy genre may have been satirized, parodied, picked apart, and flooded with heartfelt additions throughout its history but, quite frankly, none of that has been able to diminish the power of a good rom-com. (opens in new tab) You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why you haven't yet had a movie-worthy meet-cute involving an out-of-control rolling dumpster, a log cabin built out of waffles, or an "Over 30" AIM chatroom. And while you certainly could watch the literally flawless Meg Ryan trifecta—When Harry Met SallySleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail, for the uninitiated—or newer entries (opens in new tab) to the canon like Happiest Season and The Big Sick over and over (cc: me), 2021's slate of new releases may put you in the mood to branch out.

This year, we're getting get new installments of multiple hit Netflix franchises, plus a handful of musicals, cheesy holiday rom-coms, and even a film in which Blake Lively and Lin-Manuel Miranda play the younger versions of Diane Keaton and Richard Gere—which I can only imagine will be unbelievably delightful, if slightly bizarre. So, without further ado, here are all the romantic comedies you'll want to keep on your radar in 2021.

'Stars Fell on Alabama' 

Release date: January 8

Starring: James Maslow and Ciara Hanna.

In the mood for the most early 2000s-feeling rom-com ever? Look no further! A Hollywood agent, desperate to impress his hometown friends, hires an actress to be his date for a high school reunion. We love a fake romance that turns into something more. And that's not a spoiler, that's just basic reasoning from the trailer. It's cliché, yet comforting.

'Locked Down'

Release Date: January 14

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stephen Merchant, , and Mindy Kaling.

It's a pandemic movie-meets a rom-com-meets...a heist film? Paxton, a delivery driver, and Linda, a CEO at a fashion company, (Ejiofor and Hathaway) are a couple on the brink of breakup during the COVID-19 lockdown. When Linda is tasked with personally moving a high-value diamond from one of her retail stores, the quarreling couple decides to steal it instead.

'To All the Boys: Always and Forever'

Release date: February 12

Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher, John Corbett

Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky have been through it over the years: They were torn apart, first, by a jealous ex-girlfriend, then by a mysterious ex-crush. Now, in the final installment of Netflix's adaptation of Jenny Han (opens in new tab)'s beloved YA series, they'll learn whether their love can withstand the pressures of life after high school.

'The Map of Tiny Perfect Things'

Release date: February 12

Starring: Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen

Another heart-wrenching yet hilarious teen rom-com, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a time-loop story in the vein of Palm Springs and Groundhog Day. This time around, Mark and Margaret take advantage of their situation to map out the most perfect moments of the day they keep reliving over and over—until one of them decides to try to break the loop, of course. 

'Blithe Spirit'

Release Date: February 19

Starring: Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench and Leslie Mann

Charles, struggling writer (Stevens), seeks the mystical help of a medium (a fabulous Judi Dench) who...accidentally summons his dead ex-wife (Mann). Oh, Charles is now remarried. Cue the most awkward and hilarious love triangle ever.

'In the Heights'

Release date: June 18

Starring: Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera

Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's first widely acclaimed musical that won four of the whopping 13 Tonys it was nominated for in 2008. It explores the lives of the residents in the fast-gentrifying, largely immigrant N.Y.C. neighborhood of Washington Heights. Keep your eyes peeled for plenty of Hamilton alums peppered throughout the cast, including Lin himself as the piragua guy. 

'Cinderella'

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(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz)

Release date: July 16

Starring: Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, Nicholas Galitzine

The latest adaptation of this timeless tale will see the former Fifth Harmony singer take on the lead in her debut film role. She'll be helped along by Fab G, her genderless fairy godparent, played by Billy Porter, and trio of mice-turned-footmen played by John Mulaney, James Corden, and Romesh Ranganathan.

'Resort to Love'

resort to love sinqua walls as caleb king, christina milian as erica wilson in resort to love cr david bloomer netflix © 2020

(Image credit: David Bloomer/ NETFLIX © 2020)

Release Date: July 29

Starring: Christina Milian, (Jay Pharoah, and Sinqua Walls.

A wanna-be pop star, Erica, (Milian) inadvertently ends up becoming the singer at her ex-fiancé’s wedding. We're anticipating this as an instant Netflix top ten pick.

'The Kissing Booth 3'

the kissing booth 3 netflix

(Image credit: Marcos Cruz)

Release date: August 11

Starring: Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney

College decisions strike again! Much like the final To All the Boys installment, the third entry in Netflix's runaway The Kissing Booth series will revolve around Elle's decision between joining her boyfriend, Noah, at Harvard or accompanying her best friend, Lee, to UC Berkeley. Good luck with that one, girl. 

'The Princess Switch 3'

the princess switch 3 netflix

(Image credit: Mark Mainz)

Release date: Winter 2021

Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar

Before you get your hopes too high, you should know that Hudgens has already capped the number of Vanessa Hudgenses she can play in a single movie at three (opens in new tab). So don't expect to see a fourth lookalike of hers pop up in the third iteration of this perfectly unhinged holiday series. Even so, as evidenced by the first two Princess Switch movies, three Hudgenses are more than enough to stir up plenty of charming hijinks in the span of about an hour and a half.

'He's All That'

he's all that l to r tanner buchanan as cameron kweller and addison rae as padgett sawyer in he's all that cr kevin estradanetflix © 2021

(Image credit: KEVIN ESTRADA/NETFLIX © 2021)

Release date: August 27

Starring: Addison Rae, Tanner Buchanan, Myra Molloy, Madison Pettis, Peyton Meyer, Isabella Crovetti, and Rachael Leigh Cook.

In this modern adaptation of 1999's cult teen classic She's All That, an influencer (aptly portrayed by Rae) is challenged to turn the school's "biggest loser" (Buchanan) into prom king. I do love a reimagining of a good '90s movie!

'The Starling'

the starling 2021 romantic comedy

(Image credit: George Pimentel)

Release date: TBA

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Kevin Kline, Timothy Olyphant, Daveed Diggs

A million thanks to Netflix for saving this screenplay from more than a decade spent in development hell, because it sounds like an instant rom-com classic. It centers on a married couple—played by former Bridesmaids and St. Vincent costars McCarthy and O'Dowd—who are working through shared grief in different ways, including, in one case, becoming ridiculously obsessed with killing a starling that seems to be fixated on wreaking havoc on their backyard.

'Love Hard'

love hard netflix romantic comedy

(Image credit: George Pimentel)

Release date: TBA

Starring: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Charles Melton

Don't you just hate it when you fly across the country to meet your online boyfriend, discover you've been getting catfished for months, then agree to fake-date your catfisher in return for an introduction to the actual guy whose pictures he used to seduce you? Ugh, same.

'A Castle for Christmas'

a castle for christmas netflix

(Image credit: Bruce Glikas)

Release date: Winter 2021

Starring: Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes

Netflix's next holiday hit will likely arrive in the form of A Castle for Christmas, in which Shields will play a famous American author who goes castle shopping in Scotland, only to be rebuffed by a Scottish duke played by Elwes. Relatable!

'The Making Of'

the making of romantic comedy 2021

(Image credit: Brian Ach)

Release date: TBA

Starring: Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Blake Lively, Lin-Manuel Miranda

It's unclear whether the premise of The Making Of—an aging married couple begins making a movie romanticizing their life together even as their relationship begins to crumble—or the casting—Keaton and Gere as the older couple, Lively and Miranda as the actors they tap to play their younger selves—is the bigger sell here. But either way, there's no way I'll miss watching it all play out on-screen.

Untitled Alicia Keys Project

alicia keys netflix romantic comedy 2021

(Image credit: Isabel Infantes)

Release date: TBA

Starring: Christina Milian, Jay Pharaoh, Sinqua Walls

Alicia Keys's next foray into producing rom-coms for Netflix may not have a title, but it does have a premise—and a great one at that. In it, Milian plays an aspiring pop star who somehow ends up as the musical entertainment at her ex-fiancé's wedding...which will definitely not get complicated at all.

'Falling for Figaro' 

Release Date: TBD

Starring: Danielle MacDonald, Joanna Lumley, Shazad Latif

An unfulfilled fund manager quits her lackluster job, breaks up with her boyfriend, and travels to the Scottish Highlands to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an opera singer. There, she begins to fall her (devilishly handsome) training partner.

'Good on Paper'

Release Date: June 23

Starring: Iliza Shlesinger, Margaret Cho, Ryan Hansen

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger penned this Netflix film based on a real-life incident where she had an adorable meet-cute with a guy who seemed, well, good on paper, only to find out he had a lot of skeletons in his closet.

'Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar'

Release Date: February 12

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr.

Expect the unexpected in this hilarious blockbuster about two besties, Barb and Star, who take a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and find romance with a mysterious (and potentially dangerous) stranger.

'We Broke Up'

Release Date: April 23

Starring: Aya Cash, William Jackson Harper, Sarah Bolger

It's a classic story: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl date for 10 years. Boy and girl break up right before girl's sister's wedding but decide to pretend to still be together for the sake of the festivities. Prepare for just as many tears as laughs.

'The French Dispatch'

Release Date: October 22

Starring: Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Elizabeth Moss

It's not your typical rom-com, but with Wes Anderson at the film's helm there's sure to be lots of romance. (And it's set in France! The home of romance!) Described as a "love letter to journalists," the film is a stacked with an A-list cast.

Andrea Park
Andrea Park

Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.