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Stream Romantic Comedies, Best Rom-Coms to Watch
Like any film genre, romantic comedies tend to fit into a proven formula with no shortage of familiar tropes.
A mismatched couple "meets cute" and initially dislikes each other. When they're brought into close proximity through circumstances beyond their control, they find they have immense chemistry. A further sequence of events forces them to choose between budding love and their previous agenda. There's a frantic last-minute solution for the "meant to be" to end up together, everybody lives happily ever after, and the credits roll.
When something works this well time and time again, filmmakers get to introduce a variety of settings, and delight audiences with subtle variations on the theme.
The best romantic comedies take advantage of our expectations to rediscover a new way to make a surprisingly uplifting impact - and maybe inspire a little romance between any couple watching the film on a date or movie night.
If you’ve got love on your mind, Suddenlink has you covered. Check out where to stream all the best romantic comedies:
When Harry Met Sally... (Rated R, trailer) | (Available to stream on HBO Max)
When Harry Met Sally… is a romantic comedy classic. And that’s because of its timeline. Most rom-coms take place over a few weeks or months. When Harry Met Sally… tells its story over the course of a decade.
There's realism here that other rom-coms lack (thanks in part to the inclusion of "how we met" duologues from couples). "Can we just be friends" isn't a question that Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) can figure out over a weekend. In many real-life relationships, it takes time for human beings to figure out how they feel about each other. People tend to ping pong around: they'll get close, fall out of touch, and get back together again. When Harry and Sally figure it all out, it's a pleasant reminder that the rest of us can too.
10 Things I Hate About You (Rated PG-13, trailer) | (available to stream on Disney+)
Where does the romantic comedy formula come from? Shakespeare is one possible answer, with story structures that endure to this day across a variety of genres. 10 Things I Hate About You borrows and modernizes the basic structure and characters from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Bianca Stratford isn’t allowed to date anyone until her sister Katarina does, but Kat has no interest in dating.
The film moves the action from Shakespeare’s original to an American high school, and gives the female characters a more modern degree of agency. The result is a much funnier and warmer version of Shrew, with young Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt chewing the scenery to announce their ascendance as lead actors.
Coming to America (Rated R, trailer) | (rentable on Amazon, Apple, YouTube)
As it turns out, the basic plot developments required for a romantic comedy can be pared down to allow plenty of room for world-building, character work, and good old fashioned ad-libbing. All you need is a simple but flexible premise. That’s what Coming to America delivers. An African prince moves to Queens, New York to find his queen. That’s all it takes to set the stage.
Coming to America is many films at once. It’s a fish-out-of-water farce, a showcase for Eddie Murphy’s prodigious comedic talent, and a loving celebration of Black community. But its heart (and storytelling spine) is all romantic comedy, with as satisfying a resolution as any you’ll find.
Love, Simon (Rated PG-13, trailer) | (available to stream on Hulu, Fubo)
Simon Spier is trying to solve a mystery. He's been emailing "Blue," a highschool classmate. The two have bonded over their shared experience as gay, closeted teenagers. As their connection grows, Simon resolves to figure out who Blue is.
It's a blast to watch a rom-com where the lead doesn't know who he's fallen in love with. And mysteries are fun to solve. But what separates Love, Simon is how much it cares about its characters. It's warm but not cloying, clever but not mean. You'll want Simon and his friends to succeed, to figure out what they want from life and where they're going next - to the extent that any teenager can.
Mamma Mia! (Rated PG-13, trailer) | (available to stream on Peacock)
Jukebox musicals are all the rage on Broadway. Ain’t Too Proud, Jagged Little Pill, Escape to Margaritaville: countless high-visibility theatrical productions have replaced traditional show tunes with pop songs, and worked backward to build a script. This recent surge owes a debt to the runaway success of Mamma Mia! The 2008 film version of the 1999 Broadway ABBA songbook musical basically launched a new movie subgenre - known stars singing known songs.
Beyond the lasting appeal of some of the catchiest songs ever written sung by familiar faces such as Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, the plot is also strung together on the recognizable frame of a classic romantic comedy.
13 Going On 30 (Rated PG-13, trailer) | (available to stream on HBO Max and FuboTV)
It's 1987 and Jenna Rink wants nothing more than to be popular. Humiliated by a group of girls at her birthday party, she wishes she was 30 and goes to bed.
It works. She wakes up in 2004 in a Fifth Avenue apartment. She's the co-editor of her favorite fashion magazine. She's best friends with Lucy, one of the girls who embarrassed her at her party. And she's played by Jennifer Garner.
Nowadays, Garner is a romantic comedy stalwart, starring in films like Valentine’s Day, Catch and Release and Love, Simon. 13 Going On 30 is the star making performance that made it possible. Her signature blend of innocence, comedy chops, and earnest authenticity is the perfect fit for the role of a 13-year-old girl who just woke up 17 years in the future, totally confused.
Crazy Rich Asians (Rated PG-13, trailer) | (available to stream on HBO Max)
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an economics professor at New York University, flies with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his best friend's wedding in Singapore, where Nick grew up. They arrive, and - surprise! - Rachel discovers her unassuming boyfriend is the scion of an incredibly famous and wealthy family dynasty. Nick introduces Rachel to his mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeon), who takes an immediate dislike to Rachel due to her working-class American background. Rachel has to prove herself to the family while navigating the strict, hierarchical structure of Singaporean high society.
A romantic comedy with an all Asian cast (the first from a major Hollywood studio in 23 years), Crazy Rich Asians is just as fresh and exciting as it was in 2018. Three years later, its dazzling visuals and biting, hilarious examination of wealth and class hit harder than ever.
Sleepless in Seattle (Rated PG, trailer) | (available to stream on Starz)
Sleepless in Seattle is unique among romantic comedies in that it’s carried by the chemistry of lead actors who spend most of the film apart.
After losing his wife Maggie to cancer, Chicago architect Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle to start a new life with his eight-year-old son, Jonah. After hearing Sam talk about Maggie on the radio, reporter Annie Reed (Ryan) writes a letter, suggesting they meet on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. Sam needs convincing before he’ll go.
You’ll spend all of Sleepless in Seattle rooting for Sam and Annie to meet. It’s that central tension that makes the whole thing work. The near misses, phone calls and last minute decisions allow Hanks and Ryan to play off each other without actually appearing in all that many scenes together. Any moments they do spend together are that much more special.
Hanks and Ryan had starred in a rom-com together before in 1990’s Joe Versus the Volcano. They’d team up for the third time in 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. You could do all three in a marathon, but if you only choose one, Sleepless in Seattle is it.
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