Rom-Coms: The Genre I Thought I Hated

I’ve never really considered myself much of a fan of romantic comedies. I even turned down an invitation to see The Ugly Truth with some friends tonight in favour of seeing the new Harry Potter movie (and because The Ugly Truth looks fairly terrible). There’s so much mindless crap out there that’s targeted towards women looking for pointless escapism, and these so-called rom-coms usually aren’t very romantic or funny. I knew that there were a few I liked out there, but then I stumbled across Paste magazine’s list of the 17 best romantic comedies of the decade. I realise that their article is six months old, which makes it either obsolete or nostalgic in internet terms, but if you want a testament to how current I am, read the subtitle of this blog. ANYWAYS, the point of this is to say that Paste came up with a pretty good list! You can click here to read the full article. 

As they admit, they use the term “romantic comedy” pretty loosely. Personally, I never really considered Wall-E or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to be comedies, much less romantic comedies (where’s Hugh Grant? And the sappy airport endings?), but I think it was a great choice to include them. Those movies offer an alternative to the usual cheesy fare that always seems to test my gag reflexes. And while movies like Waitress, About a Boy, and High Fidelity are slightly more conventional takes on the genre, they’re also a cut above the rest. They have much better acting, and you can tell that genuine affection went into making these films. I really enjoyed all of the movies on this list that I’ve seen, so what does that say about me? Perhaps I’m not the cold-hearted realist I like to think I am? Perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with me for tearing up during the trailer for The Time Traveller’s Wife for no apparent reason? Perhaps I can enjoy movies where people don’t die and aren’t addicted to drugs and don’t have to deal with real world problems? Maybe all it takes is a good love story.

And speaking of that, here are 10 more “romantic comedies” from this decade that I really enjoyed:

10. Kate and Leopold (Kind of your typical rom-com, but the leads are charming, and the fish-out-of-water story is amusing)

9. 2 Days in Paris (Adam Goldberg is hilarious. The French setting lovely, and it manages to be both incredibly charming and funny.)

8. Meet the Parents (More of a straight comedy, but Ben Stiller goes through it all in the name of love.)

7. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (It balances a film-noir spoof with a romantic side plot, and both are equally strong.)

6. Elf (Don’t even deny it.)

5. Wristcutters: A Love Story (Stories about suicide are not generally good romantic comedy fare, but this one pulls it off. Darkly funny and romantic.)

4. Definitely, Maybe (Ryan Reynold is charming, and this well-constructed, sweet story is what The Proposal wished it could be.)

3. Almost Famous (Great coming-of-age story that happens to involve rock stars.)

2. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (It received mixed reviews, but I thought Michael Cera and Kat Dennings had great chemistry.)

1. Garden State (Okay, this one’s a little sappy – and if I remember correctly, the climax takes place in an airport – but even I could not resist cheering for the perfect hipster couple.)

EDIT: Oh, yeah, and how good does (500) Days of Summer look?! I’m dying to see it, but it’s still in pretty limited release, so it’s not playing near me.

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