The 100 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time

Your ultimate guide to the (arguably) best film genre: the romantic comedy.

some of the best romantic comedies including clueless and crazy rich asians
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Romantic comedies: Love them or tolerate them—and let's be honest, you can't hate a rom-com—they're always good for a cozy evening and a life lesson or two. They're also versatile: As with all the best movies, you can enjoy a good romantic comedy with almost anyone in your life, from your partner to your parents to your best friend. For when nothing but a good rom-com will do, those of us obsessed with the genre at Marie Claire have put together our list of the best romantic comedies of all time.

On this list, you’ll find picks from the genre’s queens, a.k.a. Julia Roberts and Nora Ephron. And while rom-coms are all generally funny and romantic (duh!), the films on our list feature a variety of plots and classic tropes. Are you looking for an enemies-to-lovers romance? We got you—The Proposal made this list. Love watching a couple fake date only to fall in love à la 10 Things I Hate About You style? Same. Stressing over who two teenagers will take to the prom? (Plot twist: They'll meet each other there.) That's our favorite activity!

Our point is that rom-coms are the feel-good movie butter of the film world—they go perfectly with whatever you're craving. We've ordered our list of the 100 best rom-coms by genre, from laugh-out-loud rom-coms to teen versions to bittersweet rom-coms that will make you laugh and shed a tear or two. Last, you’ll find our final section dedicated to the absolute best of this genre.

The Best Laugh-Out-Loud Rom-Coms

'27 Dresses'

katherine heigl in 27 Dresses

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Director: Anne Fletcher

Stars: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, third-act declarations of love

This movie has dozens of gorgeous dresses and a "Bennie and the Jets" bar duet between Katherine Heigl and James Marsden. What more could you want? For anybody who feels like a forever bridesmaid, this 2008 movie will have you laughing and crying all at once.

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'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' (2005)

steve carell and Catherine Keener in the 40 year old virgin

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Director: Judd Apatow

Stars: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan

Rom-com tropes: The makeover

The 2000s were one hell of a time for romantic comedies, with The 40-Year-Old Virgin reigning as one of the most hilarious movies to come out of the period. This film marked Judd Apatow as a standout comedic director who can brilliantly weave together comedy and sweetness, and it's not the only film of his you'll find on this list. It also cemented Steve Carell as a comedy star as he would later go on to reach iconic status in The Office.

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'50 First Dates' (2004)

drew barrymore and adam sandler in 50 First Dates

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Director: Peter Segal

Stars: Drew Berrymore, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider

Rom-com tropes: Fantasy/vacation setting

Reuniting once again after starring in The Wedding Singer together, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler's chemistry is undeniable in 50 First Dates (2004). Sandler plays a man named Henry who falls in love with a woman named Lucy (Barrymore) who has short-term memory loss. Every day, Henry tries to get Lucy to fall in love with him until she remembers him.

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'Anyone But You' (2023)

glen powell and sydney sweeney in anyone but you

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Director: Will Gluck

Stars: Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell, Alexandra Shipp, GaTa

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers, fake dating

After a bungled one-night stand, much to their horror, Bea (Sweeney) and Ben (Powell) wind up at the same intimate wedding in Sydney, Australia where Bea’s parents are pressuring her to get back with the guy she recently dumped and Ben is desperate to win back his Aussie teenage fling. What else is there to do besides pretend to be dating to make his ex jealous and get her parents off her back?

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'Coming to America' (1988)

eddie murphy in Coming to America

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Director: John Landis

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley,

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract

There's a literal royal romance at the heart of this classic Eddie Murphy film. Prince Hakeem of the fictional nation Zamunda (Murphy) travels to Queens, NY, to find his true love, rather than have an arranged marriage. He falls for local beauty Lisa (Shari Headley), but he has to win her away from her Jheri-curl sporting boyfriend.

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'Deliver Us From Eva' (2003)

gabrielle union in Deliver Us From Eva

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Director: Gary Hardwick

Stars: Gabrielle Union, LL Cool J, Essence Atkins

Rom-com tropes: Fake dating

Two men hire a sweet-talking Casanova named Ray (LL Cool J) to temporarily court their no-nonsense sister-in-law (Gabrielle Union), but things go awry when Ray also wins over the hearts of their lady loves. Deliver Us From Eva hits all the necessary points of a good rom-com: a contract relationship, insane chemistry, and a kidnapping plot.

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'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' (2008)

mila kunis and jason segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall

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Director: Nicholas Stoller

Stars: Jason Segal, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell

Rom-com tropes: Trouble with the ex, fantasy/vacation setting

Jason Segel stars as Peter, who becomes completely shattered when dumped by his famous, TV star girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kirsten Bell). In an attempt to get over her, he goes to Hawaii, only to find that he's staying in the same hotel as Sarah and her new, obnoxious boyfriend (Russell Brand).

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'Friends With Benefits' (2011)

mila kunis and justin timberlake in friends with benefits

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Director: Will Gluck

Stars: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson

Rom-com tropes: Friends with benefits (surprise, surprise), friends to lovers, third-act declarations of love

She’s been burned by one too many guys. He’s not ready to settle down (read: commitment-phobic). The obvious solution, of course, is to add casual sex into their friendship, right? It’s not like they’ll both quickly begin to catch feelings and be unable to figure out how to tell each other, to the detriment of their entire friendship, right?!

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'I Want You Back' (2022)

charlie day and jenny slate in i want you back

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Director: Jason Orley

Stars: Jenny Slate, Charlie Day, Scott Eastwood, Gina Rodriguez

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers, trouble with the ex

This criminally underrated Prime Video original rom-com opens with Slate and Day’s characters each being broken up with. They then meet by chance and decide to help each other win back their exes—but not with a classic fake-dating scenario to inspire jealousy. Instead, they each set out on a mission to break up the new relationship of the other’s ex. Chaos and, of course, hilarity ensue.

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'Knocked Up' (2007)

seth rogen and katherine heigl in Knocked Up

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Director: Judd Apatow

Stars: Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogan, Leslie Mann

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers

Let's all take a moment to acknowledge that Knocked Up is over 15 years old. Never forget Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen who play, respectively, a rising journalist and an irresponsible slacker who have a one-night stand and, well, you get it...

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'No Strings Attached' (2011)

natalie portman and ashton kutcher in no strings attached

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Director: Ivan Reitman

Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Cary Elwes, Kevin Kline

Rom-com tropes: Friends with benefits, old flames reignited

In the other of the two friends-with-benefits-themed rom-coms that came out in 2011 and starred one-half of the Kunis-Kutcher marriage, Kutcher plays an aspiring TV exec, Adam, who begins casually hooking up with his childhood friend Emma (Portman). He quickly catches feelings—and confesses them—only to be shut down by the extremely commitment-averse Emma, setting up a confusing few rounds of will-they, won’t-they.

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'The Parent Trap' (1998)

lindsay lohan in The Parent Trap

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Director: Nancy Meyers

Stars: Lindsey Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson

Rom-com tropes: Old flames reignited, third-act declarations of love

Come for Lindsay Lohan being absolutely iconic in her role as twins Hallie Parker and Annie James trying to get their parents back together, stay for Daddy Dennis Quaid who broke all of our late '90s hearts.

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'The Proposal' (2009)

Ryan Reynolds and sandra bullock in the proposal

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Director: Anne Fletcher

Stars: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, enemies to lovers, fantasy/vacation setting

A hotshot book editor (Sandra Bullock) facing deportation to Canada forces her younger male assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her for a green card. When they take a trip to visit his family in Alaska to sell the lie, sparks start to fly. Yes, it's a #MeToo nightmare, but rom-coms sometimes live in their own special alternate universe.

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'Some Like It Hot' (1959)

marilyn monroe in Some Like It Hot

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Director: Billy Wilder

Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon

Rom-com tropes: The makeover, third-act declarations of love

Marilyn Monroe plays a member of a traveling jazz band who believes she's fallen in love with a millionaire, when in fact she's being duped by one of her fellow band members (a man on the run who's pretending to be a woman). Some Like It Hot features one of the steamiest kisses in film history and lots of great Marilyn Monroe song numbers.

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'There's Something About Mary' (1998)

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Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller

Rom-com tropes: The makeover

After an unusual accident screwing up their prom date, Ted (Ben Stiller) thought his chance with Mary (Cameron Diaz) was over. 13 years later, he realizes he's still in love with Mary so he hires a private investigator (Matt Dillon) to track her down, only for the P.I. to also fall in love with her. There's Something About Mary has no shortage of funny, often ridiculous scenes, and it still holds up just as well today as it did in 1998.

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'Something Borrowed' (2011)

ginnifer goodwin in Something Borrowed

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Director: Luke Greenfield

Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers, third-act declarations of love

What happens when you're in love with your best friend's fiancé and you don't know what to do about it? Allow Something Borrowed (2011) to show you! Things get messy and multiple declarations of love ensue.

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The Best Bittersweet Rom-Coms

'500 Days of Summer' (2009)

joseph gordon levitt and zooey deschanel in 500 Days of Summer

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Director: Marc Webb

Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend

Rom-com tropes: The meet-cute

All of the millennial angst of meeting someone who you believe to be the one, followed by disillusionment and despair, is captured in this excellent *non-romance* starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Bookmark this to watch alone, and experience all the feels.

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'About Time' (2013)

rachel mcadams and domhnall gleeson in About Time

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Director: Richard Curtis

Stars: Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy

Rom-com tropes: Memory loss

When 21-year-old Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns the men in his family can time travel, he decides to put his power to good use by getting a girlfriend. He meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and falls in love with her thanks to some time traveling, but ends up losing her after an accident and has to repeat the process all over again when she doesn't remember who he is.

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'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' (2004)

jim carrey and kate winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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Director: Michael Gondry

Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

Rom-com tropes: Memory-loss

With a comical air, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind dives into breakups, breakdowns, and breakthroughs. When Clementine (Winslet) decides to forget her painful relationship with Joel (Carrey) through a new procedure, Joel decides to do the same thing. As his memories with Clementine fade, he realizes he may be making a mistake. Its sweet message, outstanding performances, and trippy visuals will stay with you long after the credits roll.

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'He's Just Not That Into You' (2009)

ginnifer goodwin in He's Just Not That Into You

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Director: Ken Kwapis

Stars: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers, multiple storylines

Interlocking storylines are a great way to show all the good and bad that can come with love, which is the case in He's Just Not That Into You. In this film, you've got a woman who wants to get married to her non-committal boyfriend, a man who can't stop cheating on his wife, plus a needy woman who's tired of waiting by her phone for men who never call. These characters and a few more show how much love is never a clean-and-cut story.

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'Kissing Jessica Stein' (2001)

jennifer westfeldt and heather juergensen in Kissing Jessica Stein

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Director: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld

Stars: Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather Juergensen, Tovah Feldshuh

Rom-com tropes: Main character who works in New York media

Tired of the same disappointing men she keeps dating, Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt) decides to open her love life up to women after she sees an ad in the newspaper. Instead of your boy-meets-girl love story, here we get girl-meets-girl, which was way ahead of its time over 20 years ago. And while the ending may not be the happy ending you would expect in a traditional rom-com, it's happy nonetheless.

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'Love and Basketball' (2000)

sanaa lathan and omar epps in Love and Basketball

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Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Jedd Williard

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers

This movie includes one of the sexiest scenes of all time, a good old-fashioned friends-to-more-than-just-friends storyline, and some heart-wrenching heartbreak. Oh, and Omar Epps.

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'Love and Other Drugs' (2010)

anne hathaway and jake gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs

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Director: Edward Zwick

Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Judy Greer

Rom-com tropes: The player falls in love

Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a medical sales rep and chronic womanizer until he meets his match in Maggie (Hathaway) a woman who won't let anything tie her down. As the two attempt a "friends with benefits" type of relationship, they can't help but fall for each other, leading Maggie to reveal she's sick with Parkinson's. While there are certainly laugh-out-loud moments and undeniable chemistry between the leads, this movie will leave you in deep thought on our healthcare system and the harsh reality of living with a disability.

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'Me Before You' (2016)

emilia clarke and sam claflin in me before you

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Director: Thea Sharrock

Stars: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer

Rom-com tropes: Forced proximity

Fair warning: This will feel like a gut punch to the heart, but don't let that dissuade you from watching this. This may be the most bittersweet of bittersweet rom-coms in the best way possible. Small-town girl Lou (Emilia Clarke) is hired as the caretaker for a recently-paralyzed man named Will (Sam Clafin). While they spend more and more time together, she learns that Will has plans to die by assisted suicide so she tries to show him how great life can be.

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'Obvious Child' (2014)

jake lacy and jenny slate in obvious child

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Director: Gillian Robespierre

Stars: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann

Rom-com tropes: The meet-cute

Obvious Child is by no means a typical rom-com, as it's centered around a one-night stand that results in an unplanned pregnancy—which it tackles with poise. Slate plays a struggling, unemployed stand-up comedian in NYC who hooks up with a sweet grad student (Lacy) and finds herself having to stand on her own two feet for once. Slate is utterly adorable in this indie flick, and it's a compelling story about coming-of-age as an independent woman as it is an unconventional romance.

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'Silver Linings Playbook' (2012)

jennifer lawrence and bradley cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

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Director: David O. Russel

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

Rom-com tropes: Trouble with the ex, third-act declarations of love

It's about mental illness, and it also manages to be sweet and incredibly funny. It doesn't hurt that the two leads, played by Cooper and Lawrence, are giving some of their best work. (Lawrence won an Oscar for the role.) Come for the snappy banter, stay to watch two people who are imperfectly perfect for each other fall in love.

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'Waitress' (2007)

keri russell in the movie Waitress

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Director: Adrienne Shelly

Stars: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Sisto

Rom-com tropes: Forbidden romance

Before it was a hit Broadway musical, Waitress was a charming indie rom-com. Both tell the story of a small-town waitress who begins an affair with her OBGYN after she accidentally becomes pregnant by her no-good husband.

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The Best Teen Rom-Coms

'A Cinderella Story' (2004)

hilary duff and chad michael murray in a cinderella story

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Director: Mark Rosman

Stars: Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Regina King, Jennifer Coolidge

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, forbidden romance

The title says it all: As a modernized take on the iconic fairytale, this 2004 teen classic follows the secret romance between a high school star quarterback (Murray) and a much less popular classmate he’s barely noticed (Duff). In true early-aughts fashion, instead of a glass slipper, she leaves behind her bedazzled flip phone while running away from the ball (a.k.a. school dance) to get home before her wicked stepmother and stepsisters notice her absence.

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'Easy A' (2010)

emma stone in easy a

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Director: Will Gluck

Stars: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci

Rom-com tropes: Old flames reignited, third-act declarations of love

The true “rom” of this rom-com doesn’t kick in until the end, but when it does, it easily lives up to main character Olive’s dream of a John-Hughes-movie-style declaration of love. Before then, the (loosely) Scarlet Letter-inspired film sees Olive (Stone) pretend to have sex with classmates in return for various gift cards and then, when that earns her a notorious reputation at school, parade around with red “A”s sewn onto her clothes.

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'Grease' (1978)

A still from the movie Grease

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Director: Randal Kleiser

Stars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, the makeover

Okay, so you don't immediately shout "ROM-COM!" when Grease (1978) appears on your screen, but it is a romantic musical movie that has a lot of snarky comedy throughout. Plus, it's just iconic!

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'Juno' (2007)

elliot page and michael cera in Juno

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Director: Jason Reitman

Stars: Elliot Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers

Featuring gorgeous performances by Page and Cera, Juno features an unplanned pregnancy between high school besties, the journey towards adoption, and the cutest (unconventional) on-screen romance since...ever?

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'Love, Simon' (2018)

nick robinson in Love, Simon

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Director: Greg Berlanti

Stars: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner

Rom-com tropes: The meet-cute

Love, Simon has been praised for its long-overdue Hollywood storyline about a gay teenage romance starring Robinson, Langford, and genre faves Duhamel and Garner. While dealing with a blackmailer who has threatened to "out" Simon to the entire school, the teen is also attempting to balance home life and the classmate he fell in love with online. You know, the usual!

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'Never Been Kissed' (1999)

drew barrymore in Never Been Kissed

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Director: Raja Gosnell

Stars: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan

Rom-com tropes: The makeover

Anyone who had a hard time in high school can definitely relate to this movie. Drew Barrymore stars as aspiring journalist Josie, who goes undercover at a high school for an assignment and ends up falling in love with her English teacher (problematic, much?).

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'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' (2008)

michael cera and kat dennings in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

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Director: Peter Sollett

Stars: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings

Rom-com tropes: Fake dating

Michael Cera was basically the king of the mid-aughts rom-coms. In Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Cera stars as high school student Nick who meets Norah after she asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend. Throughout the night, they bond over their love for music.

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'Say Anything' (1989)

john cusack in Say Anything

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Director: Cameron Crowe

Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, third-act declaration of love

This is a classic '80s film—from the famous Peter Gabriel boombox scene to the teenage coming-of-age love story. You'll never look at trench coats and sneakers the same way.

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'She's All That' (1999)

rachel leigh cook in She's All That

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Director: Robert Iscove

Stars: Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachel Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, the makeover

A jock bets his friends that he can turn any girl into the prom queen and they choose the ultimate challenge: Rachel Leigh Cook with glasses and paint on her clothes. Problematic teen comedy tropes aside, it's a quintessentially '90s rom-com.

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'She's the Man' (2006)

amanda bynes and channing tatum in She's the Man

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Director: Andy Fickman

Stars: Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey

Rom-com tropes: The makeover

This underrated gem is guaranteed to make you laugh. Bynes stars as Viola, a soccer star who impersonates her brother to make the team at an elite boarding school. There, she meets the swoon-worthy jock, Duke (Tatum), and things get complicated. The chemistry between Tatum and Bynes is off the charts and Bynes' take on how girls think guys act is nothing short of comedy gold (We're still laughing about the tampon-in-the-nose bit).

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'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' (2018)

lana condor in To All the Boys I've Loved Before

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Director: Susan Johnson

Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, John Corbett

Rom-com tropes: Fake dating, opposites attract

Based on Jenny Han's beloved YA book series, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is basically a high school nightmare that becomes a teenage dream. When the letters Lara Jean (Condor) writes to her crushes but never sends are mailed out, she pretends to date one of them (Centineo) to mitigate the fallout.

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The Best Classic Rom-Coms

'The Apartment' (1960)

jack lemmon and shirley maclaine in The Apartment

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Director: Billy Wilder

Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

Rom-com tropes: Love triangle

The Apartment follows C.C. Baxter (Lemmon), an insurance clerk who lends his apartment to his bosses for their extramarital affairs in the hopes of moving up the corporate ladder. He's also in love with his company's elevator operator—who happens to be one of his boss' mistresses. It's a surprisingly modern view on men in power and workplace harassment, but one filled with romance and humor.

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'Bringing Up Baby' (1938)

cary grant and katherine hepburn in Bringing Up Baby

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Director: Howard Hawks

Stars: Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Charles Ruggles

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract

In this classic screwball comedy, Grant stars as a paleontologist who needs a donation from a wealthy benefactor for his museum. Things get complicated when he meets said benefactor's wacky niece (Hepburn), who pulls him into an adventure involving, among other things, a dinosaur and a (kind of) tamed leopard.

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'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' (1995)

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Director: Aditya Chopra

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri

Rom-com tropes: Fantasy/vacation setting

The longest-running Hindi film ever literally rewrote the rom-com, as a modernized Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale with a celebration of Indian culture and an exploration of important issues like liberalization. In perfect Bollywood fashion, there's also catchy songs and gorgeous dancing. Marie Claire's Neha Prakash did an oral history of the iconic movie.

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'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' (1953)

marilyn monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Director: Howard Hawks

Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russel, Charles Coburn

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract

In this classic, Monroe plays a showgirl who gets engaged to a wealthy man (Tommy Noonan)—much to the chagrin of his family. The man's father (Taylor Holmes) hires a private detective to tail Monroe's character during a cruise with a girlfriend, looking out for anything that might ruin the marriage.

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'Groundhog Day' (1993)

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Director: Harold Ramis

Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott

Rom-com tropes: The player falls in love

This charming rom-com starring Bill Murray set the premise for dozens of modern films. Murray stars as a conceited weatherman forced to relive February 2, a.k.a. Groundhog Day, over and over. After spending what may be months reliving the day, Phil decides to pursue Rita (McDowell) and devotes the repeating day to becoming the best version of himself for her. This one features a lot of hilarious and moving moments.

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'His Girl Friday' (1940)

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Director: Howard Hawks

Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

Rom-com tropes: Trouble with the ex

If you like witty banter and dialogue so fast it would make the Gilmore Girls tongue-tied, then His Girl Friday is the rom-com classic for you.

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'It Happened One Night' (1934)

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Director: Frank Capra

Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers

This 1934 classic rom-com from acclaimed director Frank Capra focuses on a spoiled heiress named Ellie (Colbert) who marries a scheming man (Connolly). Her dad then does the only logical thing and kidnaps her away on his yacht. Ellie—a free spirit—jumps ship and meets up with a hardened newspaper reporter (Gable), who sets off to help her link back up with her husband but ends up catching feelings.

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'Jerry Maguire' (1996)

tom cruise and renee zellweger in Jerry Maguire

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Director: Cameron Crowe

Stars: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Rom-com tropes: The player falls in love

In this classic '90s movie, the titular sports agent (Cruise) has a crisis after he's suddenly fired at the top of his game. Clinging to his career, Maguire starts his own management firm with the only employee who would leave, a single mother named Dorothy (Zellweger). While struggling to make the business work, the two grow closer than ever before in this sweet, corny-at-times rom-com. Cruise earned an Oscar nomination with his performance, but we'd argue Zellweger deserved a nom, too.

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'Love Jones' (1997)

larenz tate and nia long in Love Jones

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Director: Theodore Witcher

Stars: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington

Rom-com tropes: Trouble with the ex

In this classic, a poet (Tate) and a photographer (Long) fall in love in '90s Chicago, but their ambitions and exes get in the way of their relationship.

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'Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon' (2003)

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Director: Sooraj R. Barjatya

Stars: Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers, third-act declarations of love

A girl (Kapoor) gets set up with the heir (Roshan) to a multi-million dollar company and falls in love with him only to discover that he's not who everyone thought he was. This iconic Bollywood rom-com is considered a classic for a reason, complete with dreamy, longing gazes and killer dance sequences.

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'Moonstruck' (1987)

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Director: Norman Jewison

Stars: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis

Rom-com tropes: Forbidden romance

The full moon sometimes makes us do crazy things—or, at least, that's what we'd like to blame—which is the central theme of this film about a widow (played by the fabulous Cher) who falls for the baker brother (Cage) of the man she's agreed to marry. Her father and mother, meanwhile, engage in extra-marital affairs. The romantic hijinx won over critics who awarded the film three Oscars, including a Best Actress award for Cher.

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'Much Ado About Nothing' (1993)

A still from the movie Much Ado About Nothing

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers, multiple storylines, the player falls in love

With such a stacked cast, this movie is well worth the watch. Branagh brilliantly adapts the Shakespeare play for the big screen, while also serving as one of the main characters. He plays Benedick, a stubborn bachelor constantly sparring with Beatrice (Thompson) and set up in a "love trap" by his friends. Give this one a chance if you're a fan of period pieces and ensemble comedies.

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'The Philadelphia Story' (1940)

A still from the movie The Philadelphia Story

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Director: George Cukor

Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

Rom-com tropes: Love triangle, third-act declarations of love

A rom-com for the ages, this iconic film from 1940 is led by frequent costars Grant and Hepburn as a married couple on the rocks. Hepburn plays Tracey Lord, a socialite who attempts to remarry after throwing out her ex-husband (Grant). That is until he shows up to her nuptials with an investigative journalist (Stewart) who's clued in on her dark family history.

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'Serendipity' (2001)

kate beckinsale and john cusack in Serendipity

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Director: Peter Chelsom

Stars: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale

Rom-com tropes: Old flames reignite, Christmas-time

Rom-coms are all about fate bringing two perfect-for-each-other people together, and Serendipity takes that idea and runs with it. This quintessential winter movie stars Beckinsale and Cusack as strangers who share a perfect, romantic night in New York City and then, instead of exchanging contact information, put their phone numbers on random objects and send them out into the universe, trusting fate to bring them back together if it's truly meant to be.

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'The Seven Year Itch' (1955)

marilyn monroe in The Seven Year Itch

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Director: Billy Wilder

Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes

Rom-com tropes: Forbidden romance

The Seven Year Itch is about a man who considers cheating on his wife with his gorgeous, model neighbor. Monroe and Ewell show that infidelity (or at least the idea of it) can be more hilarious than you'd imagine.

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'The Shop Around the Corner' (1940)

A still from the movie The Shop Around the Corner

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Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers

If you love You've Got Mail, you'll love The Shop Around the Corne. It's the original, black-and-white film the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan classic is based on (but, you know, pre-AOL).

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'Something's Gotta Give' (2003)

jack nicholson and diane keaton in Something's Gotta Give

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Director: Nancy Meyers

Stars: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers

There's something about sticking the enemies-to-lovers trope in a couple in their golden years to make a rom-com really special. In Something's Gotta Give, womanizer Harry (Nicholson) shows up at his young girlfriend's (Peet) Hamptons home only to find her disapproving mother (Keaton) residing over. The two come to blows over the age-inappropriate relationship but they soon find their heated arguments make way to love.

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'The Wedding Planner' (2001)

jennifer lopez in The Wedding Planner

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Director: Adam Shankman

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Judy Greer

Rom-com tropes: The meet-cute

Two words: Jennifer Lopez. The actress/singer/goddess takes us back to 2001 when she stars opposite Matthew McConaughey in the classic 2000s movie The Wedding Planner. If you can get past the white male savior complex at the start of the movie (McConaughey saves Lopez from getting run over by a huge cart and also happens to be the doctor who takes care of her in the hospital), the plot will completely throw you for a loop.

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'While You Were Sleeping' (1995)

sandra bullock in while you were sleeping

(Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.)

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Stars: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher

Rom-com tropes: Memory-loss

A woman named Lucy (Bullock) saves her secret crush from being hit by a train. She goes to the hospital with him and accidentally implies to his family that they're engaged (oops). When he wakes up and doesn't remember her, everyone assumes he has amnesia and he just...is engaged to her. But then—awkward—Lucy starts to fall for Mr. Right's brother (Pullman, in peak awkward-adorable form).

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The Best Modern Rom-Coms

'Always Be My Maybe' (2019)

randall park and ali wong in Always Be My Maybe

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Director: Nahnatchka Khan

Stars: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Daniel Dae Kim

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers

Always Be My Maybe is so good that you'll want to watch it as many times as possible. The Netflix original stars comedians Wong and Park as childhood sweethearts who reconnect after 15 long years. Heartthrob Daniel Dae Kim makes an appearance, as does Keanu Reeves—pretty much playing himself. It's the perfect new movie for girls' night.

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'The Beauty Inside' (2015)

A still from the movie The Beauty Inside

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Director: Jong-Yeol Baek

Stars: Han Hyo-joo, Park Seo-joon, Juri Ueno

Rom-com tropes: Third-act declarations of love, fantasy/vacation setting

This sweet Korean film follows Woo-jin, who wakes up in a different body every day. No matter if he's a man or a woman, an adult or a child, one thing never changes: He's in love with Yi-soo (Han Hyo-joo). Once she falls for him, the couple has to figure out how to find their happily ever after in this strange situation.

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'The Big Sick' (2017)

kumail nanjiani and zoe kazan in The Big Sick

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Director: Michael Showalter

Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

Rom-com tropes: Forbidden romance

Romances are always sweeter when based on real-life stories, which is why this rom-com from Nanjiani is such a breath of fresh air. It grounds the typical rom-com tropes in a time of Uber and dating apps, portraying an interracial romance between stand-up comic Kumail (played by himself) and his wife Emily (played by indie rom-com queen Kazan). They face their biggest challenge when Emily develops a sudden sickness that lands her in a coma.

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'Bros' (2022)

billy eichner in bros

(Image credit: Alamy)

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Stars: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract, fantasy/vacation setting

Billed as the first major studio rom-com about a gay romance, Bros follows the ups and downs of a relationship between two very different men—one who’s proudly out and is well-known among the LGBTQ+ community (Eichner) and one who’s much quieter about his sexuality (Macfarlane)—and the things they learn from each other about embracing their identities and pursuing their dreams.

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'Crazy Rich Asians' (2018)

constance wu in Crazy Rich Asians

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Director: Jon M. Chu

Stars: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh

Rom-com tropes: Fantasy/vacation setting, opposites attract

For the first time, Asians finally got the representation and recognition they deserved on the big screen with this smash blockbuster based on Kevin Kwans best-selling novel. In the heartwarming film, Wu and Golding star as a couple who visits his family on a summer trip to Singapore. He fails to mention a few details—like how his family is mega-rich, hard to please, and, oh yeah, that he's the country's most eligible bachelor.

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'Definitely, Maybe' (2009)

ryan reynolds and isla fisher in Definitely, Maybe

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Director: Adam Brooks

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Rachel Weisz, Abigail Breslin

Rom-com tropes: Old flames reignited

A father (Reynolds) going through a divorce is thrown for a loop when his 11-year-old daughter (Breslin) asks about his romantic past. As Reyonlds narrates a sanitized version of a 1992 bachelor lifestyle, we get to guess with Breslin which woman becomes her mom.

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'Enchanted' (2007)

amy adams in Enchanted

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Director: Kevin Lima

Stars: Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden

Rom-com tropes: Grumpy guy meets sunshine girl, love triangle

A Disney fairytale is brought to life in this mostly live-action film following a princess (Adams) sent to New York City on the eve of her wedding by an evil queen (Sarandon). Expect the sweet moments, musical numbers, and light-hearted jokes as you would in any Disney movie, plus an unbelievably good performance from Marsden as the stereotypical Prince Edward.

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'Fire Island' (2022)

bowen yang in Fire Island

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Director: Andrew Ahn

Stars: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho

Rom-com tropes: Fantasy/vacation setting

It's a beautiful thing when a film manages to nail a queer storyline, but the fact that this film combines queer and Asian American narratives makes it a real storyline. Fire Island follows a group of gay best friends as they head to, you guessed it, Fire Island, for their annual week-long romp on the beach. Not only is it hilarious, but it's also inspired by Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice.

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'Happiest Season' (2020)

kristen stewart in Happiest Season

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Director: Clea DuVall

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy

Rom-com tropes: Christmas-time

This film nails a lot of things simultaneously: It's a funny rom-com, an adorable, sweet, sensitive love story between two women, and a painfully relatable story about complicated family dynamics and how we present ourselves to the world. And it's a perfect holiday movie? It's got everything!

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'The Idea of You' (2024)

anne hathaway in the idea of you

(Image credit: Alamy)

Director: Michael Showalter

Stars: Anne Hathaway, Nicholas Galitzine

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract

In this instant smash for Prime Video based on Robinne Lee's novel, an almost 40-year-old single mom (Hathaway) takes her daughter (Ella Rubin) to Coachella, expecting nothing more than to watch the teen finally get to meet the boy band she’s loved for years. Instead, said single mom catches the eye of one of the boy band’s members (Galitzine), more than a decade and a half her junior. Thus begins a whirlwind romance straight out of a good old-fashioned fanfic.

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'Just Wright' (2010)

queen latifah in Just Wright

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Director: Sanaa Hamri

Stars: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers

Latifah plays a down-on-her-luck physical therapist who finds herself in the employ of a hotshot basketball player (Common) after he suffers from a career-threatening injury. The chemistry in this one is something—prepare to swoon.

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'Long Shot' (2019)

seth rogen and charlize theron Long Shot

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Director: Jonathan Levine

Stars: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan, O'Shea Jackson

Rom-com tropes: Old flames reignited

Who knew Rogen would be the ideal rom-com lead? This seemingly odd couple pairing between him and Theron makes perfect sense once you get them in a room for five minutes. Pair it with sharp, literally laugh-out-loud dialogue and this becomes an underrated gem.

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'Palm Springs' (2020)

cristin milioti and andy samberg Palm Springs

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Director: Max Barbakow

Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons

Rom-com tropes: Fantasy/vacation setting

Two guests at a wedding (Samberg, Milioti) have to relive the same day over and over again, in true Groundhog Day style. If you've ever had to go to multiple weddings in the same year, it's even more relatable.

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'Plus One' (2019)

maya erskine and jack quaid in plus one

(Image credit: RLJE Films)

Director: Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer

Stars: Maya Erskine, Jack Quaid

Rom-com tropes: Friends to lovers

Each facing down a long list of weddings to attend all summer and no significant other to go with, a pair of friends (Erskine, Quaid) from college agree to be each other’s plus ones. With all that time spent together watching other people’s declarations of everlasting love, it’s no surprise that things quickly get complicated.

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'Red, White, and Royal Blue' (2023)

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine in Red, White, and Royal Blue

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Director: Matthew López

Stars: Taylor Zakhar Perez, Nicholas Galitzine, Uma Thurman

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers, forced proximity

This much-beloved rom-com book got the adaptation treatment for Prime Video. In case you weren't one of the millions to read the novel, the story follows a British prince and the son of the American president who have hated each other since they met. When their sour relationship threatens U.S. and Britain relations, the two are forced to act as best friends, and (of course) this leads to a different kind of relationship. Sure, some parts are especially cheesy, but that makes this movie more entertaining.

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'Set It Up' (2018)

glen powell and zoey deutch in Set It Up

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Director: Claire Scanlon

Stars: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu

Rom-com tropes: Enemies to lovers

Nothing's better for our nostalgic hearts than a film that takes inspiration from the best rom-coms of all time. Underlings Harper (Deutch) and Charlie (Powell) use all the tricks from the book to set up their demanding bosses Kirsten (Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs), with interesting results for both of the pairs.

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'Sleeping With Other People' (2015)

alison brie and jason sudeikis in Sleeping With Other People

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Director: Leslye Headland

Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Jordan Carlos

Rom-com tropes: Old flames reignited, friends to lovers, the player falls in love

This subversive rom-com has been called the "raunchy When Harry Met Sally." It stars Sudeikis and Brie as college exes who reconnect and decide to stay platonic friends as they look for love with super-messy consequences (both are prone to cheat and they meet again outside a sex addiction meeting).

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'Someone Great' (2019)

gina rodriguez in Someone Great

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Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Stars: Gina Rodriguez, LaKeith Stanfield, Brittany Snow

Rom-com tropes: Main character who works in New York media

Right before she's supposed to move across the country, Jenny's (Rodriguez) boyfriend of nine years (Stanfield) breaks up with her, leaving her devastated. To cheer her up, Jenny's best friends give her one last hoorah in the city, which amounts to some hilarious moments. While this may not be your typical love story, it is a story about love and the loss that can come with it.

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'Trainwreck' (2015)

amy schumer in Trainwreck

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Director: Judd Apatow

Stars: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton

Rom-com tropes: Opposites attract

Hader should be the leading man in everything. Forever. And Schumer's immense writing and acting skills are on full display. This movie is a perfect storm of a great script, great casting, and great chemistry.

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'Think Like a Man' (2012)

kevin hart in Think Like a Man

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Director: Tim Story

Stars: Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Regina Hall

Rom-com tropes: Multiple storylines, the player falls in love, opposites attract

This rom-com based on Steve Harvey's best-selling advice book considers what happens when single women start acting more like the men they date. Instead of focusing on one romance, the film follows multiple couples in a star-studded cast, including Union, Michael Ealy, Hall, and Megan Good.