WATER: A Novel/Dark/Funny/Romance

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Through his relationship with a young teenager, Grant subtly transforms from notorious womanizer into, well, a man capable of loving the beautiful Rachel Weisz. Shakespeare in Love Director: John Madden. Joseph Fiennes stars as the Bard and Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps in a film that is a treasure trove of references and mood for lovers of Shakespeare and of theater in general. They might also decide this Shakespeare guy is worth checking out. In our current climate, it feels strange to have a gay conversion therapy camp serve as the backdrop for a love affair between two young women.

Luckily for our heroine Megan Natasha Lyonne , she finds that love with Graham Clea DuVall , another kid sent by her parents to be converted to heterosexuality. Their connection and chemistry is immediate, given life by the understated and thoughtful performances by the two leads. Something Wild Director: Jonathan Demme. Something Wild offers the odd-couple pairing of Charles Driggs Jeff Daniels , a vice-president of a banking company living a comfortable existence in a Long Island suburb, and Audrey Hankel Melanie Griffith , a free-spirited woman seemingly without attachments, but also with a lot of money at her disposal to fund her devil-may-care ways.

At first introducing herself to Charles as Lulu, Audrey basically ropes this yuppie into following her on a bizarre road trip throughout a good part of the East Coast—an adventure that, true to genre form, encompasses everything from screwball comedy to violent thriller, with the tone often shifting on a dime. But the film is more than just the sum of its deliberately disparate parts—especially because neither of these two characters can be easily pinned down as types.

Instead of being about self-improvement, Something Wild is more about self-awareness: a realization of how complex human beings can be. You know those moments when you unexpectedly discover you have crossed paths with a mermaid and suddenly you start wondering if that near-death experience you thought you had at Cape Cod when you were a kid miiiiiight have been something deeper and weirder?

From drowning. Literally, followed by figuratively. Ron Howard is a natural at the Wistful School of Comedy and this film is a basically wall-to-wall feel-good. Following one of the standard romantic comedy tropes, a man in this case played by Jason Segel is tempted to chase the wrong girl Kristen Bell , ignoring the soulmate Mila Kunis right in front him. Pretty in Pink Director: John Hughes.

Her outfits are daring and incredible. She supports her deadbeat dad and essentially serves as head of their household. The first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, Beauty and the Beast , along with The Little Mermaid in and The Lion King in , composed the last push of classic hand-drawn cartoons before Toy Story tipped the form definitively toward computer animation.

When her father, an idiosyncratic inventor whose character design smacks of Albert Einstein, gets lost in the woods and stumbles upon an enchanted castle, its inhabitant—a horrible Beast Robby Benson —takes him prisoner. Her arrival is fortuitous, as time is running out to reverse the curse that has rendered Beast so, well, beastly and his staff a raft of household items, including a candelabra named Lumiere Jerry Orbach , a mantel clock named Cogsworth David Ogden Stiers , and a teapot named Mrs.

Potts Angela Lansbury.

If you like your rom-coms animated and musically inclined, the House of Mouse provides. Blank as a vaguely charismatic, vaguely confident, vaguely organic hitman—the kind of guy one would never suspect is good at killing people for a living. Like Orange County rich. And still no one seems to really remember that—back in even , when the car companies were slaying, no one expected much from a Michigander. Unlike The Hangover , which was basically a long comedy sketch, Bridesmaids is actually a movie.

This is always the big question when it comes to comedies.

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Should you aspire to make a full cinematic experience and risk coming up short Wedding Crashers or do you simply shoot for nonstop emotionless laughs and achieve wild success at a less transcendent achievement Anchorman. Bridesmaids is thoroughly hilarious, complete-narrative cinema thanks to the brilliance of Kristen Wiig. And it has staying power in the typically bro-dominated pantheon of film comedy. Nobody should have any problem with people who refuse to watch a movie with such a character in It features Audrey Hepburn at her finest, and is the main reason every Anthropologie is full of books and art prints about her.

Nia Vardalos plays Toula Portokalos, who to the consternation of her family, is engaged to a decidedly non-Greek man. Dramatically unsurprising and artistically unremarkable, it still pulls you in with its Jane Austen-esque lover-rival dynamic and general good-naturedness. Appropriate Behavior Director: Desiree Akhavan. Shirin Akhavan is a secretly bisexual woman fresh out of a break-up and dedicated to getting? Shirin can talk her way into a job and a date, but can she keep either?

But as the responsibilities, one-night stands and brushes with her ex mount, Shirin begins to realize that the real trick to communication is taking the time to understand yourself before trying to communicate that to someone else. Appropriate Behavior is undoubtedly a comedy, but also a heartfelt look at how we learn to say what we mean and be who we are.

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The gently nostalgic script might deserve the most credit, though—a movie like this could have been ruined by lethal levels of cheese, but 13 Going on 30 has the exact right amount of crowd-pleasing schmaltz. In The Wedding Banquet , homosexuality or queerness is enough to transgress tradition.

The Taiwanese diaspora at work, folks. Houseboat Director: Melville Shavelson. Grant plays a widowed father who takes his rather bratty and coddled children to live on a busted-up houseboat, ends up with Sophia Loren as his housekeeper and falls in love with her. This film is very focused on the emotional world of the children, surprisingly clear-eyed and perspicacious about the mixed feelings kids have when their parents re-partner.

Falling in love with Sophia Loren is easy. Winning back the hearts of your disaffected children? Sleepless in Seattle Director: Nora Ephron. When they finally meet on the observation deck, the theme from An Affair to Remember swells, setting the mood for anyone with an appreciation for good rom-coms. Much has been made about the Diablo Cody-isms that permeate the script, but the heart of Juno is Ellen Page, and her coming to terms with her feelings for good pal Paulie Michael Cera.

Delivering her best performance of the 13 films she made with the director, Mia Farrow plays a lonely woman who escapes to the movies to live out her fantasies through her favorite actors. Enchanted Director: Kevin Lima. Peppered with references to the Disney canon and featuring cameos by a whole bunch of voice actors from previous animated features including Julie Andrews as the Narrator , the film is less about the romance between Adams and Dempsey than a send-up of the whole concept of fairytales: princes and princesses and happy endings and musical numbers which also parody their more earnest predecessors.

Add screwball plot, pioneering CinemaScope wide-screen production, great New York exteriors, then shake vigorously. If director Jean Negulesco stumbled a bit in his early use of the CinemaScope process, How to Marry a Millionaire packs enough star power, writing witty enough to withstand a pretty annoying premise, to potentially make you forget to notice.

Wall-E Director: Andrew Stanton. How is that not a romantic comedy?

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Nevermind the lack of dialogue. Try to take your eyes off him. Meanwhile, the trajectory of George and Lucy Helena Bonham-Carter ticks off all the steps and stages of the genre, leaving the viewer elated and satiated. The Prizefighter and the Lady Director: W. Van Dyke. The light romantic comedy stylings of this film are livened up by the star appearances of several celebrity prizefighters of the period.

Sing Street Director: John Carney. Sing Street spins art out of history, but you might mistake it for pop sensationalism at first glance. You may walk into the film expecting to be delighted and amused. Up until its recent revival thanks Netflix? Instead of subverting it, rarely has a film embraced the genre and all its tropes quite like the third film from Leslye Headland does. Ninotchka Director: Ernst Lubitsch.

Still, Garbo is transfixing in her first comedy, backed by genuine romance in her flirtations with Douglas. The Big Sick can sometimes be awfully conventional, but among its key assets is its radiant view of its characters. Based on the first year in the relationship of married screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, this indie rom-com has a mildly risky structure and some trenchant observations about the culture clashes that go on in immigrant families living in America.

But what cuts deepest is just how profoundly lovable these people are. So even when the film stumbles, these characters hold you up. Nanjiani plays a lightly fictionalized version of his younger self, a struggling Chicago stand-up who is having as much success in his career as he in his dating life. Coming to America Director: John Landis. If this movie consisted of the barbershop scenes inside of My-T-Sharp and nothing else, it would still be one of the greatest comedies of all time.

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As Prince Akeem from the fictional African country of Zamunda, Murphy travels to the great United States of America to evade his arranged marriage and find true love in Queens, obviously. Cameos from actors like Cuba Gooding Jr. You see, the aviator was supposed to die after his plane was shot down, but due to a clerical error in the afterlife, he survives and falls in love with the radio operator.

Made directly after World War II, the film poses tough yet necessary questions, and who better than the Archers to deliver them via a thoroughly entertaining and breathtaking package? Born Yesterday Director: George Cukor. With all due respect to Reese Witherspoon , you get the best not-so-dumb dumb blonde ever.

And boy, does it work. In real life, Holliday had an IQ in the s—but man, she was brilliant at playing dumb. The first of several Richard Curtis-penned rom-coms starring Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral follows our favorite bumbling Englishman as he repeatedly runs into the love of his life at—you guessed it—four weddings and a funeral. Clueless Director: Amy Heckerling.

Alicia Silverstone is Cher, a pretty, vain, superficial LA teen who goes on a mission to turn ugly-ducking classmate Tai Brittany Murphy into a Superswan, only to find herself eclipsed and adrift. From her appallingly bad public speeches to lip-syncing sad F. Richard Dreyfuss gives one of his career best performances as a blustery wannabe actor who is thrown into an apartment with a single mother Marsha Mason and her young daughter Quinn Cummings. Their love affair seems inevitable, but watching them spar and argue and try to reach some level of understanding is half the fun.

It may be hard to recall, but there was once a time when the world believed in Adam Sandler—and we have P. Anderson to thank for such a glimpse of hope. Compared to the scope of There Will Be Blood , or the melancholy of Boogie Nights , or the inexorable fascination at the heart of The Master , or the gut-tickling masochism of Phantom Thread , Punch-Drunk Love —a breath of fresh, Technicolor air after the weight of Magnolia —comes off like something of a lark for Anderson, setting the stage for the kind of incisive comic chops the director would later epitomize with Inherent Vice.

But far from a bit of fluff or a reactionary stab at a larger audience, Punch-Drunk Love is what happens when a director with so much untapped potential just sort of throws shit at the wall to see what sticks. A simple love story between a squirmy milquetoast Sandler and the woman Emily Watson who yanks him from his stark blue shell, the film is part musical, part silent film and all surreal comedy.

And that? Writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood weaves a powerful tale that also functions as a coming-of-age drama for two characters trying desperately to define themselves against the families that have defined them for so long. Harold and Maude Director: Hal Ashby. Though it may be dark, Harold and Maude is certainly a romantic comedy: Young Harold Bud Cort and year-old Maude Ruth Gordon do find love, their courting wickedly funny as Harold finds increasingly more gruesome ways to scare off the suitors sent by his mother.

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Story Director: Mick Jackson. Nonetheless, among his filmography, L. Story does not always get the attention shown earlier efforts such as The Jerk or Planes, Trains and Automobiles or the somewhat blander fare that came in the s. In the hands of a lesser artist, L. Pretty Woman Director: Garry Marshall. Sure, from a feminist perspective, the implication that the only way our favorite hooker with a heart of gold Julia Roberts can stop turning tricks and make something of herself is to find a wealthy businessman who needs a fake girlfriend Richard Gere is problematic to say the least.

The Apartment Director: Billy Wilder. Filmmaker Billy Wilder had an impressively diverse track record from to , tackling an Oscar-winning drama about alcoholism The Lost Weekend , two well-regarded films noir Double Indemnity , Sunset Boulevard , a war drama Stalag 17 , two light-hearted rom-coms Sabrina , Seven Year Itch a gripping murder-mystery Witness for the Prosecution and perhaps the funniest American movie of all time Some Like It Hot. Jack Lemmon plays C. Baxter, an ambitious office worker who, desperate to climb the corporate ladder, allows his bosses to use his apartment to carry on discreet affairs with their mistresses.

While it actually gets quite bleak at times, The Apartment strikes a perfect balance between laugh-out-loud comedy and emotionally honest drama. Following the career highlight that was his drag-heavy performance in Some Like It Hot , Lemmon here proves that he can play the low-key, straight man with equal dexterity. I defy you to watch this and not feel ridiculously happy. City Lights Director: Charles Chaplin. In his later years, Charlie Chaplin was known for bringing pathos into his comedy whenever he had the opportunity. City Lights is the movie where he earns every bit of it.

Sabrina Director: Billy Wilder.

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Often described as a romantic comedy, Sabrina has far more dramatic chops than giggles, and the year-old Hepburn more than holds her own against heavyweights Holden and Bogart, taking the Cinderella archetype to new levels. If you can ignore the May-December aspect of the romantic pairings on offer, I dare you not to fall in love with this winning look at romance.

Add in shenanigans involving a baby leopard, a collapsing brontosaurus skeleton and some deftly executed pre-MPAA sexual innuendos, and you have the bones of a flawlessly executed rom-com, an empirical example for all that was to come. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind traffics in his signature sleights of hand, which serve two touching and tragic love stories: between red-haired Clementine Kate Winslet and a supremely sad Joel Jim Carrey , and between headstrong Mary Kirsten Dunst and a pining Stan Mark Ruffalo.

Trouble in Paradise Director: Ernst Lubitsch. Groundhog Day Director: Harold Ramis. A more conventional film would have love resolve the chronological predicament, but instead, it falls to TV personality Phil Murray to become the best version of himself he can possibly be in order to be with Rita Andie McDowell. Do you love love? If you answered yes to any of the above, then we have good news.

While romantic comedy movies eventually run out, there are practically limitless romantic comedy books. Just as the rom-com is seeing a resurgence on screen, it's also becoming more popular in print. These books take a similarly jocular approach to unspooling a love story. The authors linger in characters' banter, in building moments of fondness that culminate contribute to sexual tension. Essentially, they give equal attention to humor and love. We've rounded up some rom-com classics and the best of the latest boom in the genre.

That said, this is far from a complete list — keep your eyes peeled for new additions.

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