Romantic comedies that don’t induce vomit


Elana Katz

In the previous decade, romantic comedies earned a bad rap for good reason. With thoughtless chick-flicks that make women seem like sensitive punching bags who only care about finding a husband, it’s rare to find one with a good review in recent years.

Because these movies make so much money, studios tend to have the idea that all women idealize to be the females they see in movies, dreaming of their fairy tale ending.

While it’s understandable that many women would enjoy these films as a means of hope with a guaranteed happy ending, it is possible that just as many cringe at these films and side with the men who steer clear of them altogether.

It really is a shame considering this blend of genres has the potential to be brilliant, and once produced some of the most memorable and classic movies. Fortunately, this summer came with two answers for not only females who have given up on romantic comedies, but also males who never thought the genre was for them.

The summer began with “Bridesmaids,” the raunchy Kristen Wigg vehicle that broke down the walls of the “boys club,” of comedy. Though not advertised as one, this cleverly disguised romantic comedy not only found its happy ending, but was also one of the summer’s funniest movies.

The most pleasant surprise, however, came from the end of summer, with “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Featuring a critically acclaimed cast including Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon, the film incorporates everything that is expected from a romantic comedy, without being cringe-worthy. The script is clever and full of laughs, the performances are wonderful and it never loses the optimistic touch that rom-coms are known for.

In the spirit of romantic comedies that both men and women can enjoy, here are five more that accomplish the same.

Annie Hall- What some consider to be the best romantic comedy of all time is the winner of multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Woody Allen’s most famous film follows the rise and fall of the relationship between comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) and singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). No other romantic comedy had been quite as honest about the downfalls of a relationship until “Annie Hall.” The film has its audience rooting for the couple the whole way through and the idea that some people aren’t meant to be together hits hard.

(500) Days of Summer- 2009’s indie flick of the summer warned that it did have a happy ending the moment it started, and stayed true to its word. The relationship of lovesick Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and cynical Summer (Zooey Deschanel) presents a gender role swap for a love story that is a refreshing approach. Clearly influenced by “Annie Hall,” quotable lines and quirky directing choices (including a dance scene) make this a fun watch with a realistic view on relationships.

High Fidelity- John Cusak trades in his boom-box-holding days of “Say Anything” to play Rob, a record-store owner with an obsession of making lists. Because his record collecting causes him to struggle with adult responsibilities, his girlfriend dumps him and he spends the duration of the film recounting his top five break-ups and why things went wrong. It’s an interesting approach to what could have been a lackluster story, and is only enhanced by a wonderful cast (Jack Black and Catherine Zeta-Jones co-star,) snappy dialogue and a mean soundtrack.

When Harry Met Sally- The ultimate romantic comedy may have some sap in it, but the hilarious dialogue and now iconic scenes more than make up for it. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are at their best in this film that looks at relationships from both the male and female perspective.

Love Actually- Long before movies like “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and “Valentine’s Day” ruined the intertwined plotline device, “Love Actually” used it in a way that has never quite been matched. This British film set around the holiday season features a variety of storylines and recognizable actors like Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Liam Neeson. It is the love story for anyone, whether it is sweet (a pair who fall in love despite speaking different languages,) heartbreaking (a crumbling marriage) or funny (a couple meeting through being body doubles on an adult film.) For every “aww” moment, there is a dose of absurdity or a flash of realism that leaves the viewer more than satisfied at the end when everything comes together.