Movies with Michael: Romantic Comedies

Movies with Michael: Rom-com Suggestions

Lift Movie Expert Michael Gendron makes his romantic comedy suggestions for people who don't like rom-coms.

It’s a New Year and that’s always a great excuse to try new things–like checking out some movies you’ve never seen. For the longest time, I thought I was one of the people who just didn’t like romantic comedies, but, keeping with genre tropes, something I once wrote off is now something I love. Here are 4 great romantic comedies for people who think they don’t like romantic comedies.

The Lady Eve

We’re turning the clock back all the way back to 1941 for my first choice, Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve. Barbara Stanwyck plays a con-artist who hones in on a wealthy bachelor played by Henry Fond, but ends up feeling more for her mark than she expects. Romantic comedies need two things to be successful. They need to be funny and, most importantly, the leads have to have great chemistry. Stanwyck and Fonda have incredible chemistry in this one. There’s a scene early on where Stanwyck is doing her initial seduction of Fonda in his ship cabin and you’ll swear steam is just coming straight out of your screen. The Lady Eve is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel and is also available on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Next, we’re jumping to the 1990’s; a decade I know many consider the best decade for romantic comedies. I have to give a shot out to my wife’s 90s favorite While You Were Sleeping, but I’m going with P.J. Hogan’s My Best Friend’s Wedding staring Julia Roberts. When her longtime friend gets engaged, she starts a mission to make sure she ends up his bride. Roberts, Cameron Diaz, and Dermot Mulroney are all charming in their own way, but Rupert Everett really steals this one for me in a supporting role. Every scene he’s in is hysterical. I recently bought the 4K Ultra High Definition disc of this one and, right from its opening credits, this movie is just gorgeous beginning to end; beautiful people, beautifully shot. If you’re not on the physical media train, this one is also on Netflix.

Anyone but You

If you’re looking to get out of the house and catch a movie for a date night, fortunately there’s a great rom-com in theaters now that I actually think is also a fun movie for people who don’t usually like the genre. Anyone but you is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and stars up and comers Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney. I had zero expectations for this one and thought the trailers actively looked bad, but I ended up having a lot of fun with this one. Some people use words like “light”, “breezy”, “silly”, and “cute” like criticisms, but not me. With a movie like this those are the features. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it serves its purpose. We’ve been starved for good date night movies for so long, that I’m just happy to laugh a few times in a theater while attractive people bicker and fall in love. Between this and No Hard Feelings starring Jennifer Lawrence earlier in the year, it really feels like star powered rom coms are making a comeback.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Like I said in the beginning, rom-coms need to be funny and the leads need to have chemistry and nothing is quite as funny or as steamy as the love triangle between Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Two of those three have Oscars, but these are still probably my favorite performances from any of them. Diary is relentlessly charming and the cheeky humor comes at a mile a minute. Tt really carriers the torch of the classic screwball romances of the 1930s and 1940sand feels like a natural evolution of the genre. The Blu-ray can be picked up cheap and its also streaming on Paramount+.