Romantic Comedies

(2001) D: Sharon Maguire. Starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth.
A romantic comedy with a British sensibility. This is the jewel in the crown of the genre.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: When Helen Fielding wrote the novel “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” she based the character of Mark Darcy on Colin Firth’s depiction of Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice,” one of several “inside jokes” in the film that reference the famous Jane Austen book.

(1988) D: Ron Shelton. Starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins.
This is one of those rare films that men and women both love. It’s a romance, but it’s also a sports movie. And it manages to explore the complexities of the two most complicated games there are: love and baseball.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Real-life partners Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon met while making this film.

(1994) D: Mike Newell. Starring Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell.
Even the atrocious Andie MacDowell can’t ruin the sublime perfection of this English comedy CLASSIC. Hugh Grant at his best.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: According the, Hugh Grant thought the movie was awful during filming.

(1991) D: Mick Jackson. Starring Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant, Marilu Henner, Sarah Jessica Parker.
Probably my favorite romantic comedy of all time.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Director Mick Jackson mainly works in television and has only directed 6 films in his career, including LA Story and the box-office smash The Bodyguard.

(1997) D: P.J. Hogan. Starring Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Durmot Mulroney.
This film could have totally flopped if it hadn’t been for the effectiveness of Julia Roberts (to actually make us root against her) and Cameron Diaz (to actually make us root for her OVER Julia Roberts!). Even though Rupert Everett steals every scene he’s in, it’s nice to have a top-grossing comedy all about the women.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Julia Roberts hand-picked Durmot Mulroney and Cameron Diaz for this film.

(1999) D: Raja Gosnell. Starring Drew Barrymore, Michael Vartan, David Arquette, Molly Shannon.
If Sandra Bullock is the queen of self-effacing comedy, Drew Barrymore is the lady-in-waiting. Her performance pulls this film out of mediocrity and makes it extremely enjoyable.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: The first film produced by Drew Barrymore.

(1999) D: Roger Michell. Starring Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant.
I know, I know……I’m a SUCKER. But my ultimate romantic comedy trifecta that I will never live without is Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones’s Diary. I guess that makes me a Hugh Grant fan without even knowing it…
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: The house with the blue door where William lives is real; it once belonged to Notting Hill screenwriter Richard Curtis. After the film, the blue door was auctioned at Christie’s Film and Entertainment sale in London. Soon after, graffiti appeared on a wall close by saying something along the lines of “R.I.P. blue door” next to the new door.

(1990) D: Garry Marshall. Starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
This film made Julia Roberts a star for a reason. If you can check reality at the door, this one will win you over.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: The famous poster features Julia Robert’s head superimposed on body double Shelley Michelle’s body. Also, Richard Gere’s hair is brown on the poster, but graying in the movie.

(1987) D: Rob Reiner. Starring Carey Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest.
People think of this more as a romance and a comedy than a spoof, which is a testament to its huge heart and sincerity. The classic one-liners don’t hurt either.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Director Rob Reiner left the set during Billy Crystal’s scenes because he would laugh so hard that he would become nauseous.

(1999) D: Garry Marshall. Starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere.
Less insulting than Pretty Woman, this time Richard Gere and Julia Roberts play it for fun and the result is mainstream movie entertainment at its finest.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: This film was in development for 10 years before it got made.

(1989) D: Cameron Crowe. Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney.
Can anyone in their thirties hear Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and not think of that scene from this movie? Cameron Crowe may have made his mark in Hollywood with this teen romance classic, but it’s John Cusack’s movie, and he runs away with it.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: The Smithereens were commissioned by Cameron Crowe to write the theme song for the movie, and they came up with “A Girl Like You.” Crowe thought that the lyrics were too leading (they outline the entire plot), so he rejected it in favor of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” “A Girl Like You” went on to be included in the Smithereen’s next album, “11.”

(1993) D: Nora Ephron. Starring Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Bill Pullman.
The consummate chick flick. And yes, I love it. Goes well with When Harry Met Sally… and You’ve Got Mail.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: According to, Kim Basinger was also offered the role of Annie in the early script process, but turned it down because she thought the premise was ridiculous.

(1989) D: Rob Reiner. Starring Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby.
Billy Crystal’s deadpan delivery and Meg Ryan’s uncanny ability to be utterly lovable while still being a pain in the ass make this one a date night classic.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: The woman who says “I’ll have what she’s having” after Sally’s faked orgasm is director Rob Reiner’s mother.

(1998) D: Nora Ephron. Starring Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks.
For someone who doesn’t even consider herself a Meg Ryan fan, I certainly do have a lot of Meg Ryan films on my list of favorites. Chalk it up to an actress who knows her strengths and keeps playing to them.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: One of three movies to be produced by, directed by and written by Nora Ephron (the others being Michael and Bewitched.)