The 38 Best Romantic Comedies (For People Who Hate Romantic Comedies)

Despite being one of the biggest comedy legends in cinema history, Eddie Murphy’s rom-com filmography is shockingly sparse. Nonetheless, his 1988 rom-com Coming to America more than suffices. Murphy stars as an African prince who, faced with an impending arranged marriage, moves to New York City in search of true love.


Recent Examples on the Web Ryan’s thoughts turn to the late Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed many of her classic rom-coms. — Julie Jordan, Peoplemag, 25 Oct. 2023 When Britney returned from the facility, Jamie Lynn pitched her on joint projects, including a sister talk show, a sitcom and a rom-com. — Katcy Stephan, Variety, 24 Oct. 2023 My only teacher has been rom-com movies, which I am told do not portray real life. — Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2023 What is Anyone but You about? Not much was known about the rom-com when it was first announced in January 2023, but the title very much implies an enemies-to-lovers vibe. — Glamour, 20 Oct. 2023 Actress Daryl Hannah and singer/songwriter Jackson Browne began dating shortly before her star-making turn as a mermaid in the 1984 rom-com fantasy film Splash. — Mark David, Robb Report, 11 Oct. 2023 The daughter of actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost, Iris’s birth dovetailed with a specific idea of Englishness, exported via Noughties rom-coms. — Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 10 Oct. 2023 Imagine seeing Marilyn Monroe and Keanu Reeves in a rom-com, or a thriller starring young Robert De Niro and Halle Berry – this isn’t just a pipe dream anymore. — Kurt Knutsson, Fox News, 8 Oct. 2023 Set in New York, the rom-com follows composer Steven Lauddem (Peter Dinklage), who is creatively blocked just weeks before the deadline for his latest commission. — Michaela Zee, Variety, 4 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘rom-com.’ Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

The 38 Best Romantic Comedies (For People Who Hate Romantic Comedies)


In the long list of “bad words” of the 20th-century to unlearn, the rom-com comes just after “carbs.” Look, we get it: There have been enough ways to spin two hot friends vowing to casually hook up and then …. (gasp) falling in love. And the repetitive network narratives of couples whose stories shockingly intertwine like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve might as well be spin-offs of Groundhog Day at this point.

We’re not here to make a case for the warm-blanket effect that the rom-com formula provides for many. If offbeat pairings and meet-cutes give you hives, cozying up to most of the classic cable reruns will feel as exhausting as sprinting through the airport to get the girl. But writing off an entire genre because of a few bad eggs would be like swearing off dating because of a few bad exes. And, well . if that’s something you’ve done, then you could probably learn a thing or two about lightening up from these movies.

Whether or not you’d like to admit it, you’re a human being who is actually pretty keen on love and laughter by nature. So, do what you need to do, whether that’s closing the blinds or clearing your watch history on Netflix.

Try a little tenderness.

Uniform, T-shirt,

38. Red White and Royal Blue

Based on Casey McQuinston’s best-selling novel, Red White and Royal Blue is a campy political romance that is sure to impress any cynic. The film follows Alex Claremont Diaz, the first son of the United States. Despite his best efforts he falls in love with his nemesis, Henry, the prince of England. As their relationship blossoms, the two political heirs jump through hoops to keep their romance under wraps. After all, it could bring international consequences.

37. Date Night

Date Night is a classic for a reason. Tina Fey and Steve Carell star in this night-out gone wrong, which follows a married couple who steal a dinner reservation in hopes of spicing up their date night routine. It’s all fun and games until they’re mistaken for the couple they’ve impersonated who are being tracked down by a dangerous gang.

36. Monster in Law

Monster in Law stars Jennifer Lopez’s as Charlie, a newly engaged woman. During what should be one of the happiest periods of her life, she’s introduced to her soon to be mother (ahem, monster) in law. The two immediately butt heads, and prove to be polar opposites. Can they get it together before the wedding, or will there be a cat fight down the isle?

35. Lovebirds

Sometimes all your relationship needs is a little excitement to spice things up. In Lovebirds, Lelani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) are a young couple heading towards a break-up. Their bond is put to the test, when they get roped into a murder mystery. In order to prove their innocence, they’ll have to remember why they got together in the first place and use that connection to save their lives.

34. 10 Things I Hate About You

If rom-coms aren’t your thing, maybe Shakespear adaptaions are? 10 Things I Hate About You is inspired by The Taming of the Shrew. This ‘90s version stars Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford, a charming yet misunderstood teenager. Her younger sister, Bianca, is told that she can’t date until Kate finds a boyfriend so she tries to set her up. Naturally, chaos ensues, hearts are broken, and an iconic monologue is delivered in English class. Did I mention Heath Ledger stars as a brooding hearthrob? Try hating this movie. I dare you.

33. But I’m a Cheerleader

Don’t let its 42 percent Rotten Tomatoes score fool you: This is the ultimate mark of a true cult classic. But I’m a Cheerleader is not only one of the few lesbian rom-coms to gain widespread attention over the years, it’s also a feat of pure campy satire. The now-beloved film sees Natasha Lyonne star as a teenaged cheerleader whose growing interest in women (and vegetarianism) lead her parents to send her to a conversion therapy camp. What results is an oddball romance packed with humor, high-camp costuming and production design, and appearances from the likes of Clea DuVall and RuPaul.

32. Bros

Bros may be an extremely recent addition to the rom-com canon, but it’s already gaining a reputation for making waves in the genre. (Starting with the fact that it’s the first R-rated LGBTQ+ comedy ever made.) Created by and starring Billy Eichner, the film is a refreshing twist on the rom-com genre, not just for its queer representation—but also for its meta lampooning of the rom-com itself. Eichner stars as Bobby, an openly gay podcast host who is tasked with creating a big-studio gay rom-com. As one does in a rom-com, Bobby stumbles into a meet-cute with macho player Aaron, and is soon forced to reckon with his romantic guardedness.

31. Crazy Rich Asians

The highest-grossing rom-com of the 2010s, Crazy Rich Asians is a given on any “Best of” list—both in the rom-com genre and beyond. With a cast including Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh, the film broke barriers in Hollywood as one of the first blockbusters from a major studio to star a majority cast of Chinese descent. Based on the hit novel by Kevin Kwan, the film follows a Chinese-American professor who, upon traveling to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time, learns that they are one of the most affluent families in Singapore. The comedy also includes plenty of classic genre tropes, like competing suitors and, of course, a disapproving mother-in-law.

30. Palm Springs

If Groundhog Day is your favorite rom-com, then this fellow sci-fi rom-com will have you wishing you were in a time loop to watch it on repeat. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs adds some unique stakes to a wedding guest meet-cute—as their one-night stand turns into an infinite time loop.

29. Fire Island

If you’re not into classic rom-coms, but are into classic literature, then this modern adaption of Pride and Prejudice might be the refreshing rom-com you’re looking for. Featuring an all-queer cast, Fire Island follows a group of friends whose annual trip to the seemingly-gay utopia Fire Island Pines unexpectedly unravels. With Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang at the helm, along with performances from the likes of Margaret Cho and Matt Rogers, the comedy offers a unique perspective on intersectionality and the role that discrimination plays in the queer community.

28. Coming to America

Despite being one of the biggest comedy legends in cinema history, Eddie Murphy’s rom-com filmography is shockingly sparse. Nonetheless, his 1988 rom-com Coming to America more than suffices. Murphy stars as an African prince who, faced with an impending arranged marriage, moves to New York City in search of true love.

27. Always Be My Maybe

If you’re looking for a rom-com that’s heavy on the comedy, then this Ali Wong and Randall Park-led friends-to-lovers story is sure to capture your heart and tickle your funny bone. The film follows two childhood best friends whose friendship has been frayed for decades since an awkward sexual escapade in their teen years. When a chance encounter reunites them years later, the duo are forced to reckon with their strange schism and undeniable chemistry. Any tenderness and emotional depth that might scare away cynics is Trojan-Horsed in by Wong’s signature raunchy comedy and, of course, a Keanu Reeves cameo.

26. The Lobster

Any rom-com fan might view The Lobster as anything but romantic or comedic. But, you’re not just any rom-com fan, right? Sure, the premise of Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster—in which single adults are sent to a hotel and given 45 days to find a partner before being transformed into an animal—is certainly dark. But, there’s also something deeply hilarious about it, too. If you’re unsure about embarking on this surrealist journey, you might be assured to know that the film stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz as its romantic leads, as well as appearances from Olivia Colman, John C. Reilly, and Léa Seydoux. Which is pretty much as foolproof as casting gets.

25. Silver Linings Playbook

Bradley Cooper stars alongside Jennifer Lawrence in this quirky love story about two outsiders who find belonging in one another. Cooper plays Pat Soltano, a man with bipolar disorder recently released from a mental institution, on his redemption tour to win back his wife. Along the way, he meets Tiffany Maxwell, a widow who offers to assist in his mission in exchange for entering a dance competition with her. The movie spirals into a celebration of love, resilience, dance, and, of course, the Philadelphia Eagles.

24. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

While a typical lighthearted rom-com, this film’s bold performances and hilariously eccentric characters bring a perspective as fresh as Windex to the genre. Adapted from the one-woman off-Broadway show written and played by Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the story of the thirty-something Greek-American Toula and her journey to find love. What the film lacks in depth, it makes up for in heart–and above all, comedy. The antics and anecdotes of Toula’s extended family are the kind you’ll chuckle at upon remembrance.

23. Knocked Up

If you haven’t already seen it one of the thousands of times it has played on E! Network, now is the time to watch Knocked Up. The tender comedy stars Katherine Heigel and Seth Rogen as an unlikely couple who come together after Heigel’s character gets pregnant from their awkward one-night stand. If you’re a fan of the stoner comedy, consider this your gateway to romantic comedies.

22. Moonstruck

Cher stars as Loretta Castorini, a Brooklyn bookkeeper and soon-to-be-wife whose fate takes a turn when she enters an unexpected affair with her fiancée’s brother Ronny Cammeri, played by Nicolas Cage. An iconic ’80s celebration of New York, Italian-Americans, and hopeless romance.

21. Something’s Gotta Give

In this unexpectedly warm-hearted comedy, Jack Nicholson stars as Harry Sanborn, a bachelor with a habit of courting women half his age. He finds himself in an unexpected love affair with Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), the mother of his recent girlfriend. Keaton and Nicholson navigate this romance’s wacky circumstances with the grace and depth that only two veteran actors could manage to deliver.

20. The Wedding Singer

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are really the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan of the gross-out comedy, having appeared opposite each other in four mindless rom-coms. Their first pairing, of course, is their best. Sandler plays the titular character, the beaten-down wedding singer who falls for Barrymore’s Julia, a similarly down-on-her-luck waitress who’s engaged to a womanizing meathead. All of that’s set amid the wild and wacky 1980s, a silly premise that serves plenty of sight gags and pop-culture references. As far as dumb Adam Sandler movies go, this one is one of the sharpest.

19. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Jason Segel bares his heart and soul (and also his junk) in this raunchy comedy about a down-on-his-luck composer named Peter whose actress girlfriend (Kristen Bell) breaks up with him after five years together. When Peter attempts to put it all behind him with a getaway to Hawaii, his plans are ruined when he winds up at the same resort as his ex and her new rock-star boyfriend. Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Jack McBrayer, and Paul Rudd round out the comic cast in his Judd Apatow-produced film.

18. Obvious Child

Girl meets boy; boy gets girl pregnant. That’s not really the typical set-up for a rom-com, which is precisely why Obvious Child is so brilliant. Jenny Slate plays a standup comedian whose lost her sense of direction, a problem only acerbated when a one-night stand with a handsome guy (Jake Lacy) leaves her pregnant. Can a romance blossom out of an awkward turn of events that lead to an abortion? You’ll end this one feeling pretty hopeful for these two kids.

17. Four Weddings and a Funeral

This Best Picture-nominated film is almost the platonic ideal of a British comedy. It does, after all, begin with a string of comic expletives as a frazzled Charles (Hugh Grant) rushes to make it to a wedding on time. It’s at that first of many social occasions that he meets Carrie, a flirty American woman played by Andie MacDowell, who quickly becomes the object of his romantic pursuit over the course of a few other weddings (and, yes, a funeral). It’s a sharp, biting comedy about romance, heartbreak, and other societal woes.

16. The Big Sick

Husband-and-wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon earned Oscar nominations for the crazy-but-true story of their courtship, starring Nanjiani as himself and Zoe Kazan as Gordon’s on-screen counterpart. When the couple break up because of their cultural differences (Kumail’s parents are pushing for an arranged marriage, per Pakistani tradition), the pair assume their shot at love is lost. But when Emily goes into a medically induced coma, Kumail is left to deal with her parents (played by a perfect Holly Hunter and Ray Romano). The trio form a bond as they watch over Emily during her illness, and it forces Kumail to come clean to his parents about his own romantic ideals and dreams.

15. Libeled Lady

William Powell and Myrna Loy shared one of the most beloved onscreen romances in Hollywood history, and in Libeled Lady it’s easy to see why. Powell plays Bill Chandler, a debonair reporter hired by the New York Evening Star to seduce a wealthy high-society woman (played by Loy) after she sues the paper for libel. Naturally, Powell soon falls for his mark in earnest, and he must decide how best to tell the love of his life that he’s been assigned to all but ruin her. It’s classic screwball romance at its most hilarious, emphasizing biting wit over sentimentality.

14. My Best Friend’s Wedding

Look, we know what you’re thinking: “Julia Roberts? Weddings? That is nota romantic comedy for people who hate romantic comedies.” And all we can say is: trust us on this one.