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25 Best Romantic Comedies to Watch Now

Illustration: By Stevie Remsberg

By now, you might want a break from baking bread or doing puzzles. So why not attempt a few hours of escapism by throwing on a cozy pair of sweatpants and cueing up a rom-com instead? Whether you want to cry your way through a box of Kleenex or take comfort in your favorite love stories, you’ll find something worth watching on the list of our favorite romantic comedies, below.


Not the most groundbreaking recommendation, I know, but it’s stood the test of time for a reason. Billy Wilder directs Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart at the top of their games as they swap longing gazes and witticisms. There’s identity confusion, physical comedy, a tennis-court dance, and the perfect deployment of “La Vie en Rose.” It just makes me happy. The 1995 remake with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford is very good too. —Rachel Bashein, managing editor

Definitely, Maybe

The premise is that Ryan Reynolds is telling his daughter how he fell in love with her mother. You see him courting three women in flashbacks, but you don’t get to find out which one he married until the end. It’s very sweet and has a much more satisfying ending than How I Met Your Mother. Also, fun scenes of ’90s New York. —Izzy Grinspan, deputy style editor

10 Things I Hate About You

There were so many excellent rom-coms released this year: Alice Wu’s The Half of It comes to mind first, as does this weird little British film, Love Wedding Repeat. But my desert-island rom-com has to be 10 Things I Hate About You. Based loosely on The Taming of the Shrew, it sees a beautiful Heath Ledger opposite a super-grumpy Julia Stiles (the movie opens with her reading The Bell Jar). It was filmed in my hometown, which would usually be a turnoff, but other than that it’s a perfect movie: Ledger sings “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” Allison Janney is a principal who writes erotica, and a teenage Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ledger’s scrawny sidekick. There’s also a really good paintball makeout scene. —Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, senior writer

Long Shot

It’s possible you still haven’t seen Long Shot, the best romantic comedy of 2019. Why are you waiting? Are you saving it for a special occasion? If so, I suggest forgoing that plan and just watching it now. You deserve it! The movie stars Charlize Theron as the United States secretary of State and Seth Rogen as a left-leaning Brooklyn journalist who becomes her speechwriter, and I know that might not sound convincing, but I promise that you will like it. —Kelly Conaboy, writer-at-large

Love Jones

It’s a simple film, set in Chicago’s jazz and spoken-word scene, about two artists — a young poet, played by Larenz Tate, and a photographer, played by Nia Long — who fall in love and struggle to stay there. It was lauded at the time for showcasing a different portrait of black life, one that wasn’t surrounded by violence or focused on strife. All of that holds up, but right now I love watching it because it’s nice to see all of the little mundane moments of life that feel out of reach right now: house parties, the satisfaction of curving a guy who shot his shot a little too hard, getting clowned by your friends at game night. A lot more romance than comedy, and VERY ’90s, but a good throwback that earns its two hours. —Adrienne Green, senior writer

Someone Like You

Who hasn’t wanted to know why someone broke up with them? It’s a question that many never get a simple answer to, and this Ashley Judd rom-com explores exactly that. Judd plays a talk-show producer who gets dumped by her co-worker and creates a theory about how men always want the “new cow.” This being a rom-com, things of course spiral out of control, and she finds love right under her nose. It’s a delightful watch and might make you consider attempting Judd’s perfect pixie cut on yourself. —Kerensa Cadenas, senior editor

Something’s Gotta Give

This one is classic Nancy Meyers: beautiful kitchens with gargantuan islands, Diane Keaton in fantastic knitwear, and an affair between a playwright mother and her daughter’s much older, womanizing boyfriend (Jack Nicholson). The scene during which Keaton cries for days on end is Meyers at her best, portraying complex emotions for an age group that doesn’t always get the spotlight. And in case the aging Nicholson isn’t your thing, the movie features Keanu Reeves as a steamy doctor. —Brock Colyar, editorial assistant

The Meddler

My favorite feel-good rom-com is 2015’s The Meddler, starring Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne. It’s great for so many reasons: the central romance is late middle-aged and accordingly complicated, and Sarandon’s pitch-perfect mom voice-mails kill me every time. It’s so funny and so sweet and not enough people have seen it. —Katie Heaney, senior writer


Any movie with Cher is going to be good in my book, so let’s just get that part out of the way. In Moonstruck (1987), she plays a pessimistic Italian widow who believes in curses, specifically those pertaining to love. She finds herself falling for none other than Nicolas Cage, whose character, Ronny, is a bitter, volatile baker with a wooden hand who looks really good in tank tops. A perfect match! I don’t want to give too much away, but this movie is funny and insane, and genuinely sweet, and there’s a scene in which Cher plucks her unibrow. Oh, and they literally play, “That’s Amore.” —Emilia Petrarca, fashion news writer

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

This is a movie I watched tirelessly in my teens but haven’t seen for a while. For the unfamiliar: Forgetting Sarah Marshall follows Jason Segel as he attempts to flee the memory of being dumped by his cheating girlfriend (Kristen Bell) while sad and extremely naked. He goes all the way to Hawaii, only to land at the same resort where she’s vacationing with her new boyfriend, who is basically just Russell Brand as Russell Brand. High jinks — and a new, objectively better romance with Mila Kunis — ensue, plus he finds the confidence to finally birth the Dracula puppet musical he’s been gestating. Forgetting Sarah Marshall also stars Paul Rudd, Da’Vone McDonald, Jonah Hill, AND it gave me a number of satisfying one-liners, such as “*gestures broadly* the Kapua suite” and “now I have the freshest cereal” and “why won’t anybody go snorkeling with me?” These will only make sense to you if you watch the movie, and I recommend that you do! —Claire Lampen, night editor

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

This 2010 rom-com has everything: video-game- and comic-book-inspired fight scenes, a very good soundtrack, stunning visual effects, and an ensemble cast featuring both George Michael Bluth and Ann “Egg” Veal, Captain America and Captain Marvel, and Roman Roy. Looking for a break from the typical rom-com tropes, e.g., NYC skyline, questionably large apartments for a magazine-job salary? This comic-book adaptation tackles bad breakups and bringing old baggage into new relationships in Toronto, via local shows and perfectly fine house parties as slacker Scott (Michael Cera) must literally battle his new girlfriend Ramona’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven “evil” exes if they’re going to continue to date. —Erica Smith, beauty writer

Chungking Express

Most people probably wouldn’t classify Chungking Express, the high-energy 1994 film by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, as a rom-com, but it certainly has the necessary elements (it’s about love, and it is, at times, funny). Sure, it may not feature a bumbling, toothy Hugh Grant, but Chungking Express — which has a bifurcated structure, centering on two heartbroken men — is certainly more realistic. —Amanda Arnold, writer

Before Sunset

I’m not a huge Ethan Hawke fan, but in this sequel to Before Sunrise, which takes place nine years later, he’s utterly charming when his flaws spill out. Ditto for Julie Delpy and her flaws (though her singing voice is anything but flawed). The last half-hour of this film never fails to crush me with its emotional rawness. —Jane Larkworthy, beauty editor

Book Club

One rom-com I think more people should watch is Book Club (2018), which isn’t technically a Nancy Meyers movie, even though it has all the trappings of a Nancy Meyers movie (nice kitchens; luxurious, cream-colored fabrics). It’s about a group of best friends — Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen — who start reading Fifty Shades of Grey in their book club and then all become super-horny and sexually enlightened, and it changes their lives. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a great book, and this is not a “great movie” in the traditional sense of the word, but it is delightful and absurd, and fills me with a lot of joy when I watch it. —Madeleine Aggeler, senior writer


She’s a mess. He’s law and order. She’s sparky. He’s stern. Of course, love triumphs in the end. This is the smash that gave us Sandra Bullock the movie star, and when it came on cable a week or two ago, I was happy to see it holds up — and is funnier, broader, and shtickier than I remembered. It’s not a classic comedy, but it has most of the elements (the mismatched pairing, the comic-relief sidekicks, a camper-than-camp Dennis Hopper), and I contend it helped launch Bullock as a rom-com queen. (Miss Congeniality is a classic, too, by the way.) Yes, there’s a bomb on the bus. But it’s mostly the setup to a classic meet-cute. And isn’t a rom-com just a movie that makes your heart skip a beat? — Matthew Schneier, features writer

The Apartment

This film (the 1960 version with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine) is more like a satirical dramedy than traditional rom-com, but its a near-perfect romance. It begins with a somewhat sleazy setup to get ahead at work. Bud (Lemmon) lends his apartment to company higher-ups for their affairs, which leads to him meeting Fran (MacLaine) and voilà. I won’t say more, but if you like Billy Wilder movies, gin rummy, and commentary on corporate lemmings, watch this film. —Rebecca Ramsey, features director

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama, Reese Witherspoon’s most underrated movie, is a perfect fit for anyone who’s ever wanted to adopt a fake name, move to a bigger city, and hide a secret husband. The actress plays Melanie, a haughty fashion designer who’s caught in a love triangle between the New York City mayor’s son (Patrick Dempsey) and the high-school sweetheart (Josh Lucas) she’s already married to back in Alabama. —Jordan Larson, editor

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians is my fave, not just because it was the first time I’d ever experienced an all-Asian cast in a major Hollywood film. It was also the first time I was able to relate to a movie’s humor on a deeper level, specifically to the nuances pertaining to familial relationships in big Asian families. Right from the opening scene, I felt proud and satisfied when the matriarch cleverly responds to racism against her family. Plus, the costumes are so glamorous! — Andrew Nguyen, editorial assistant

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Whenever I want to momentarily escape my adult responsibilities and reminisce, I see what funny teen love stories Netflix has to offer me. This is definitely in my top five for teen movies. —Devine Blacksher, fashion assistant

500 Days of Summer

We follow hopeless romantic Tom as he falls in love with Summer, who very early on declares she “doesn’t believe in love.” As he tries to cling on to her, and have her cling on to him, we watch their relationship through the ups and downs and, eventually, the heartbreak that ensues when she tells him she just wants to be friends. I suppose I tend to be cynical when it comes to love, and this movie certainly fits the bill for people like me. There’s a scene in which the actors break into Hall & Oates’s “You Make My Dreams,” but it doesn’t have some massive declaration of love, and, most important, it doesn’t give us a sappy ending. —Daise Bedolla, social-media editor

It’s Complicated

Another Nancy Meyers tryst with even more kitchen porn, but this time with Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and Meryl Streep. Streep is a perfect portrait of a late-middle-aged woman’s complicated desires — sleeping with her ex (Baldwin) and trying to date again after her divorce. The scene during which the three get stoned together is peak comedy-in-a-romantic-comedy. —Brock Colyar, editorial assistant

Empire Records

It’s a 1995 movie starring Liv Tyler as a girl who works at a record store and Johnny Whitworth as the co-worker who secretly loves her. The record store is about to be sold to a big evil corporation (a thing people worried about a lot in the ’90s), and this is their last day of independence. It’s also the day that a corny Bryan Adams–esque soft-rock star named Rex Manning is visiting the store, and Tyler has decided to lose her virginity to him. The cast is great, and the fashion is so good that it’s worth watching for that alone (Tyler’s baby-blue fuzzy sweater and mini plaid kilt are truly iconic.) —Izzy Grinspan, deputy style editor

The Sweetest Thing

First of all, if Cameron Diaz is in a rom-com, it’s a guaranteed classic. Diaz plays a successful interior designer who isn’t interested in finding love until a chance encounter with a guy at a club turns out to be more complicated than it originally seemed. Plus, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair play her friends — the perfect recipe for fun. — Kerensa Cadenas, senior editor

The Princess Bride

I loved this movie when I was a child. I loved it when I was a teen. I still love it as a 30-year-old woman. Its appeal simply does not wither with age. Let me tell you about the plot: A young Robin Wright falls for a young Cary Elwes and his teeny-tiny ponytail. The pair are ripped apart by medieval financial circumstances, and Wright (Buttercup! What a name!) is conscripted into wedding a horrible prince. Spidey senses tingling, Elwes comes back as a Dread Pirate, eventually with two stunning sidekicks in tow (Mandy Patinkin and André the Giant) and … there’s so much more, but if you have not seen this movie yet, the time has come. —Claire Lampen, night editor

The Ugly Truth

The Ugly Truth is incredibly problematic, but I am obsessed with it. It follows the relationship between an uptight news producer (Katherine Heigl) and the star of a misogynistic relationship-advice show (Gerard Butler). Heigl is the most heartwarming and hilarious control freak I’ve ever seen, and Butler is the toxic, scruffy man of my dreams. The enemies-to-lovers trope between their two characters is executed so perfectly that, by the end, you will scream when they finally admit their love for each other. —Alexia LaFata, SEO editor

25 Best Romantic Comedies to Watch Now