I’m feeling a little guilty over beating up on nearly every romantic comedy released in the past few years, so I think I should defend the ones I love, just for good measure. The thing about truly great romantic comedies is that they have to give you that warm, glowing feeling. You know – when suddenly the only word you’re capable of speaking is “Awwww.” Here’s my list of “Awwww”-inspiring rom-com’s:
When Harry Met Sally: Harry and Sally often remind me of my husband and me, especially during the formative years of our relationship, which I’m sure is one of the reasons I love this flick so much. But you need no personal stake in it to enjoy it. The dialogue is the star here – so smart and witty and true and just utterly entertaining. Billy Crystal is hilarious (isn’t he always?) and Meg Ryan is adorable and together they make you feel like friends of theirs watching, from the inside, their love blossom and eventually bloom. The climactic scene at the New Year’s Eve party is perfect, with Billy Crystal giving the best “I love you” speech ever captured on camera. Not to mention, the memorable, often-imitated deli scene in which Meg Ryan publicly fakes an orgasm just to prove a point. They don’t write them like this anymore.
You’ve Got Mail: If I had to rank them, this may be my absolute favorite romantic comedy. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have such bewitching chemistry (they proved that in the oh-so-sweet Sleepless In Seattle) and even though I’ve seen this flick enough times that I’ve basically got it memorized, I will still sit and watch it if I catch it on TV. It was made when internet dating was still new, unfamiliar territory to most people. Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly “meet” somehow on the world wide web and an innocent affair via email ensues. The dialogue between them is mildly flirtatious and completely endearing. They become something of a confidante for each other- admitting through the anonymity of the internet their sincerest dreams and their most hidden insecurities. They meet in real life (not knowing, of course, who they are on the web) and become rivals in business. She’s the charming owner of a children’s bookstore, he the heir to a chain of bookstores similar to Barnes & Noble and their respective businesses simply cannot co-exist in the same neighborhood. Timing is everything and the evolution of their relationship (both personal and professional) is paced exactly right, so that by the time they get together in the end, I can do nothing but sigh in complete contentment.
Say Anything: I know I’m going way back on this one, but John Cusack standing outside the house of the girl who broke his heart, in the middle of the night, holding a boom box (remember those?), blasting their song, is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen. Not to mention this movie revolved around the idea of a sweet, lovable under-achiever winning the heart of the beautiful, over-achiever valedictorian – something of an underdog story. And we all know how I feel about those underdogs. 🙂
The Wedding Singer & Bridget Jones’s Diary: I simply adore these movies, but I won’t dwell on my explanations of why because Annie already has, so eloquently, here.
Honorable mentions: Hitch – Will Smith and Eva Mendes have chemistry almost as appealing as Will Smith and Kevin James. It’s funny enough that guys will dig it but plenty heartfelt for us ladies, too. Brown Sugar – Two childhood friends grow up and fall in love- played out, I know. But Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs make it work like few others have. The intimacy of their friendship seems as real as the sexual tension between them and the progression of their relationship feels natural. The cool twist on this all-too-familiar plot line is Sanaa Lathan’s narration throughout. She’s a magazine editor writing a book about her love of hip-hop and the parallels between her relationship to music and her relationship with Taye Diggs adds depth to the somewhat predictable tale.
Which romantic comedies make you feel like a Glow Worm?