The 17 Best Romantic Comedies This Decade
Page 2 of 210. About a Boy (2002)
"No man is an island"
No stranger to romantic comedies, Hugh Grant delivered perhaps his best performance ever in About a Boy, a different kind of rom-com. Through his relationship with a young teenager, Grant subtly transforms from notorious womanizer into, well, a man capable of loving the beautiful Rachel Weisz. Grant's relationship with the boy is tender and thoughtful, much like the film itself.
9. Juno (2007)
"I don't really know what kind of girl I am."
Much has been made about the Diablo Cody-isms that permeate the script, but the heart of Juno is Ellen Page, and her coming to terms with her feelings for Michael Cera. Sure, it takes getting pregnant for her to realize the man of her dreams is the wimp in yellow shorts, but then, the characters in Juno aren't like normal people anyway. Page's heavy-lifting deserved every bit of that Oscar nomination.
8. Knocked Up (2007)
"You're prettier than I am."
Sure, there's a graphic scene involving a baby coming out of a womb. Yes, there's nudity and plenty of expletives. And ok, it is sort of strange how a schlub like Seth Rogen can get a girl like Katherine Heigl. Even so, there's an inherent sweetness to Knocked Up that make it such a pleasure to watch. Judd Apatow's treatment of the supporting characters, like Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, also help catapult the film into one of the genre's very best.
7. Sideways (2004)
"I like to think about the life of wine. How it's a living thing..."
Sideways is a pretty great buddy comedy (featuring a hilariously brazen performance from Thomas Haden Church), but it's an even better romantic comedy. At its heart is the tender relationship between Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Maya (Virginia Madsen), two bruised divorcees who forge a tenuous connection to each other. From both of their beautiful speeches expressing their love of Pinot Noir to the wonderfully poignant open-ended knock at the door, their romance is note-perfect.
6. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
"I'm lookin' at your face and I just wanna smash it...you're so pretty."5. High Fidelity (2000)
No doubt about it: Punch-Drunk Love is an odd little film. Director Paul Thomas Anderson recruited Adam Sandler, of all people, to star in his offbeat romantic comedy about a emotionally immature businessman prone to explosive fits of rage. He meets a kindred spirit in Emily Watson, leading the two to proclaim same rather curious declarations of love. The power of Punch-Drunk lies in the thrill that, after ages of loneliness, someone can come along and understand you with just one quick glance.
"Did i listen to pop music because I was miserable?
Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
It's no coincidence Nick Hornby wrote both About a Boy and High Fidelity, and both movie adaptations show up on this list (let's ignore Fever Pitch for the time being). Hornby really is tapped into the psyche of the 20th century male. John Cusack plays the every-man type who retraces his past girlfriend history only to find he let the perfect woman slip through his fingers. Funny, insightful and insanely quotable, High Fidelity plays like an ultra-hip Woody Allen movie, which is a very good thing indeed.
4. Wall-E (2008)
"Computer: define dancing."
Before you cry foul, let's think about the plot of Wall-E for a second: lonely boy meets girl, falls in love, and chases girl to the ends of the earth—or, in this case, the universe. How is that not a romantic comedy? Nevermind they're robots. Nevermind the lack of dialogue. Nevermind it's animated. When Wall-E and Eve dance together in the sky amongst the stars, we might as well be watching the second coming of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
3. Amélie (2001)
"A surge of love, an urge to help mankind overcomes her."
A delicate, delicious little French trifle, Amélie is easily the most romantic film on this list. The adorable Audrey Tautou launched herself into the American consciousness as the quirky do-gooder waitress who sends her secret crush photos and riddles masking her identity in order to make their first encounter—and first kiss—the most romantic moment of her life. Endlessly imaginative and beautifully photographed, Amélie is a film to be treasured.
2. Before Sunset (2004)
"You were, for me, that night / Everything I always dreamt of in life."
Two people meet on a train and spend a romantic night together in Vienna—talking, walking, philosophizing and falling in love. Ten years later they meet again by happenstance. That's the premise for Richard Linklater's Before Sunset, a lovely tone poem that stands as a bookend to 1994's Before Sunrise. Actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have a tremendous rapport together, and imbue their characters with just the right mix of cynicism and hurt, but also passion and longing. Sign us up for a third film in 2014.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
"Come back and make up a goodbye at least. Let's pretend we had one."
Leave it to Charlie Kaufman to redefine the romantic comedy. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play a couple who, after a violent, destructive end to their relationship, decide to erase each other from their memory. Problem is, once Carrey begins to relive those memories, he realizes their love transcends all the jealousy, bickering and insecurity. Endlessly inventive and achingly real, Eternal Sunshine depicts love at its most beautiful and brittle, delivering laughs and heartache along the way.