Romantic comedies have a bad rap. Usually belittled as “chick flicks,” rom coms have a lot of fun and don’t usually take themselves too seriously. Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching two attractive people laugh, argue, fight and fall in love over an hour and a half. The stories may all be basically the same, but we still love them.
Everyone has that one rom com they come back to over and over again like visiting old friends. There are dozens of classics, like When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Pretty Woman and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. So with Valentine’s Day coming up, here are some classic and under-rated romantic comedies to add to your watchlist.
What’s Your Number? (2011)
The setup: Ally (Anna Faris) finds a magazine article claiming that women who have more than 20 romantic partners are less likely to get married. Shocked at her personal number, Ally – along with her neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans) – tracks down her previous relationships in the hopes of rekindling a long-lost flame that will settle down with her.
What’s Your Number is pretty bold in its central concept, and it toes the line in its message at times. But Faris and Evans are so ridiculously charming and their relationship feels natural and inevitable. Plus, there’s an incredible set of actors portraying Ally’s former lovers: Chris Pratt! Anthony Mackie! Martin Freeman! Zachary Quinto! Andy Samberg! Joel McHale! It’s fantastic.
Cheesiest line: “Being in love means being yourself.”
The Notebook (2004)
The setup: A Romeo and Juliet-style love story of Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams), who fall in love before being separated by World War II. Years later, they reunite and have to rekindle their love after life took them in different directions.
You know it. You love it. The Notebook is the seminal rom com for the Millennial generation and turned Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams into superstars. It also launched (along with A Walk to Remember) the never-ending parade of Nicholas Sparks-based love stories. Everyone came for Gosling and McAdams but stayed as sobbing messes over the older version of the couple years later.
Cheesiest line: “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
The setup: Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepares to reopen her mother’s hotel in Greece. As she reminisces about her mother’s early days on the island, we see a young Donna (Lily James) meet three men, each of whom could potentially be Sophie’s biological father.
This movie has no right to be as charming as it is. The first Mamma Mia was a decent hit, using the songs of ABBA to tell the story of Sophie tracking down her birth father. In this sequel, we get like six love stories, including how Sophie’s mother met her three potential fathers, and the story is wild but incredibly heartwarming. And the ABBA music is somehow even better this time around. The younger cast is fantastic and it’s easy to see the returning cast from the first movie has such a love for this story and these characters.
Cheesiest line: “That’s the best kind of party, little girl.”
The Proposal (2009)
The setup: Book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) learns she’s in danger of being deported back to Canada, so she coerces her personal assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) into a fake marriage.
This movie is insane and I love it so much. The Proposal is a textbook example of the classic rom com trope of two characters who initially hate each other slowly fall in love over the course of the movie. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock are so, so good together in this and have great comedic chemistry. Bullock especially shines – the way she pronounces “Alaska” when she learns that’s where Andrew is from will forever be burned into my brain. And let’s not forget the iconic Betty White stealing the show.
Cheesiest line: “So Margaret, marry me, because I’d like to date you.”
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
The setup: Laura Jean Covey’s (Lana Condor) life gets turned upside down when her secret love letters are mailed out to the boys she used to love. She strikes a deal with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centieno) to fake-date in order to make her current crush jealous.
This movie uses a lot of tried-and-true rom com clichés, but they’re used so convincingly that they feel fresh. Condor and Centineo are incredibly charismatic and hold the movie together. You know where this story is going, but you just enjoy the ride because the cast is so fun. A special shoutout to Laura Jean’s little sister, Kitty, who is truly delightful.
Cheesiest line: “You gonna break my heart, Covey?”