Film & Television

Happily Ever After — Rom-Coms to Stream
this Spring

Remember when Harry met Sally? Or when a little boy was worried because his widowed father was sleepless (in Seattle)? Or when AOL’s robotic voice promised romance when it announced that, ‘you’ve got mail?’

The late 80s and 90s were a heyday for romantic comedies, with familiar female leads — Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Renée Zellweger. Several perennial favorites were penned and/or directed by Hollywood’s godmother of rom-coms Nora Ephron

These films were often referred to (with affection or derision, depending on who was doing the referring) as “chick flicks.” Each was a contemporary fairytale, with a relatable princess beating the odds (rivalries, distance, prostitution, pride or prejudice) and winning her prince charming.

They were thoroughly formulaic, which was no small part of their charm. Each centered around love. (Or to quote 1987’s The Princess Bride, “Wuv, twue wuv.”)

The 2000s added to the genre. But, in some of the decade’s most memorable titles, romance was secondary to the heroine’s career journey. So, Andy wins her boyfriend back after she quits her job at Runway to fulfill her dream of being a real journalist (The Devil Wears Prada). Toula marries dreamy Ian after she transitions from waitress to travel agent (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). And, Elle gets engaged after she graduates from Harvard Law (Legally Blonde).

Whether love is at the center or not, there seem to be fewer romantic comedies in movie theaters than there once were. Instead, we’re offered a glut of big-budget superhero epics and ever gorier horror films. 

So, what’s a rom-com fan to do?

Stay home and watch one (or more) of multiple new romantic comedies on Amazon and Netflix. Taking the place, perhaps, of the ubiquitous holiday movies, these titles offer unabashed romantic escapism. They don’t require much analytical thinking (in fact, the experience is typically better without it). But, they do go particularly well with a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn.

Here are half a dozen for your consideration …

About Fate (Amazon)

Margot (Emma Roberts) and Griffin (Thomas Mann) are meant to be together. They live in identical condos, have identical cats, and both believe Breakfast at Tiffany’s (nod to a classic rom-com there) is the greatest movie ever made. The problem is … they’re about to become engaged to other people. A chance meeting, drunken night, mistaken identity, and wedding blackout add up to true love conquering all. 

Book of Love (Amazon)

Any woman who has ever watched a man take credit for her work will relate to single-mother heroine Maria (Verónica Echegui). She’s the Spanish language translator of a boring novel by equally boring author Henry (Sam Claflin). The book becomes a bestseller in Mexico thanks to all the passion she’s added. When Henry’s publisher requests an equally spicy sequel, Maria and Henry have to work together, And, I’m sure you know where that leads them.

Love in the Villa (Netflix)

School teacher Julie (Kat Graham) has always dreamed of visiting Verona, home of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers. When her boyfriend bails, she finds herself in Italy alone — except, of course, for hot British hunk Charlie (Tom Hopper) when her Airbnb is double-booked. In tried and true rom-com form, it’s hate at first sight, and they each set out to sabotage the stay of the other … that is, until they fall in love.

Shotgun Wedding (Amazon)

With credits that span Maid in Manhattan (2002), Monster-in-Law (2005) and the recent Marry Me (2022), Jennifer Lopez is no stranger to romantic comedies. Here, she’s bride-to-be Darcy, paired with fiancé Tom (Josh Duhamel) and sexy ex Sean (Lenny Kravitz) for a destination wedding turned hostage crisis. The movie is predictable but fun, with memorable cameos from Sônja Braga and awards season “it girl” Jennifer Coolidge.

Somebody I Used to Know (Amazon)

Reality television producer Ally (Alison Brie, listed also as a screenwriter) returns to her hometown when her series is canceled. There, she reconnects with lost love Sean (Jay Ellis) only to learn that he’s getting married in three days. She befriends fiancée Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), who is justifiably suspicious. Best rom-com reference from the bride: “You’re not going to pull some Julia Roberts Best Friend’s Wedding type shit, are you?’

Your Place or Mine (Netflix)

Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) are one-night stands who become best friends who finally find love. But first they have to switch places. So, Debbie moves into Peter’s Manhattan bachelor pad so she can take a graduate accounting exam. And, Peter moves into Debbie’s California bungalow to watch her tweenage son. Soon enough, a youth hockey injury triggers an “I hate you/I love you” airport confrontation. 

Even the best rom-com (and, truthfully, none of these really fit that bill) won’t solve the world’s problems. But, a 90-minute romantic respite can be a refreshing diversion. 

Because rest assured that, you guessed it, they all live happily ever after.

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