The Five - Romantic Comedies
Written by: Kyley Warren
Compiled by: Amy Cable and Kyley Warren
Welcome to the Phoenix Film Festival’s daily, ‘Top 5.’ Romantic comedies are often a tricky concept to bring to life. Filmmakers are forced to walk a fine line between forbidden love stories and comedic plots, without necessarily fitting into the cliché mold of what a modern “rom-com” might typically look like. The ever-changing genre is demanding of original ideas and films that fall into this category face a seemingly shorter lifespan than other cinematic favorites. Despite this, there are still a select few that manage to capture the audience’s hearts and offer a glimpse into a much more fun, and much less complicated, world of dating. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it only seemed fitting that we reminisce on some of the best romantic comedies of all time. These pictures depict lovable (and sometimes, very unlovable) characters as they navigate the charming, comedic and oftentimes, downright embarrassing realities of romance.
While there are dozens of beloved romantic comedies that did not make our list, there are a handful that we believe still deserve honorable mentions. These films were: “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Love Actually” and “The Big Sick.” Now, onto the good stuff. Here are our picks for the top five, greatest rom-coms of all time.
5. Hitch (2005)
This picture centers around dating doctor, Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith), who prides himself on his knack for setting people up for success in relationships. He even goes as far as to claim that he can match people with their soulmates in only three dates. His smooth-talking, woman-wooing capabilities are halted when he meets Sara (Eva Mendes), a columnist with a motive to expose Hitch and his dating services as a scam. In classic rom-com film fashion, the two wind up falling in love. “Hitch” is a modern example of the idea that you can’t always control who you fall in love with. Will Smith and Eva Mendes’ playful on-screen relationship only helps to build the character’s undeniable chemistry.
4. Some Like It Hot (1959)
After witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, two musicians - Jerry (Jack Lemmon) and Joe (Tony Curtis) - flee the scene and find themselves hiding from the Mob. In an attempt to avoid recognition, the pair begins cross-dressing so that they can blend into an all-female band. Their situation only becomes more complicated when one is suddenly pursued by a millionaire (Joe E. Brown), while the other finds himself falling in love with the band’s singer (Marilyn Monroe), but unable to reveal his true identity. “Some Like It Hot” is arguably one of the greatest comedies of all time. Not only was this film considered daring and original at the time of its release, but it has also managed to stand the test of time, making even today’s young audiences laugh at the bizarre and hilarious antics of the picture’s unforgettable protagonists.
3. 50 First Dates (2004)
“50 First Dates” centralizes the idea that great love really is complicated. Henry (Adam Sandler), a veteran playboy, attempts to romance a local woman, Lucy (Drew Barrymore), who he meets at a breakfast diner. Though he sets his sights on wooing her, his plan is complicated when he discovers that she suffers from short-term memory loss and she wakes up every morning forgetful of what transpired the day before. Though Henry falls deeper in love with her, he is forced to make Lucy fall in love with him again each day. This picture offers a beautiful, complicated and truly comedic glimpse into the lengths that people are willing to go for love.
2. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
This movie is centered around Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), a 30-something year old woman whose borderline-problematic lifestyle - which revolves around reckless dating, drinking and smoking - gets to be too out of control for even her to handle. After coming to terms with the rambunctious and uncontrollable nature of her life, Bridget consciously decides to begin keeping a diary for an entire year. Within the journal, she swears to be completely honest. What unfolds from there is a refreshing glimpse into Bridget’s dating world as detailed by her, which involves everything from a forbidden affair with her boss (Hugh Grant) to an unexplainable chemistry with a disagreeable acquaintance (Colin Firth). Bridget Jones’s Diary depicts the challenges of dating past the age of 30 in a refreshing and modern way.
1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
When we heard the term, ‘rom-com,’ it was almost impossible to not immediately think of, “When Harry Met Sally.” The film begins with Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) - recent college graduates - meeting as two strangers as they share a car ride from Chicago to New York City. Though their initial interactions are arguably hostile, even the audience is aware that their relationship is far from over. As the film progresses, Harry and Sally’s friendship also begins to blossom. The pair practically coined the modern denial of a romantic relationship with their repeated excusal of: “We’re just friends,” throughout the picture. Finally, at the film’s end, after Harry admits his love for Sally on New Year’s Eve, their strong comradery eventually evolves into a full-fledged romance that had audiences everywhere reciting, “We’ll have what she’s having.”