A lot of current events have been hitting hard lately, and while it’s important to be aware and engaged, sometimes we need time for ourselves to just unwind and relax. What better way to do that than with some films that make you laugh and smile? Here’s a list of some of the best romantic comedies right now that you can stream from the comfort of your couch.
Set It Up (Netflix)
Yes, everyone’s been talking about this film, and for good reason! It’s a witty, well-written movie about two executive assistants who decide to matchmake their demanding bosses in the hopes that romance will soften their personalities. The film features Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs as the insufferable bosses, and also has some genuine chemistry between the assistants, played by Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell. The film was so well-received that people are already asking about a sequel just two weeks after it’s debut.
Candy Jar (Netflix)
Candy Jar is another Netflix Original, and it’s an intriguing film that brings you into the world of high school debate clubs. That sounds boring, I know, but director Ben Shelton teaches you the ins-and-outs of this world in a way that’s both amusing and actually educational. The two characters at the center of this film are Jacob Latimore’s Bennett and Sami Gayle’s Lona---bitter enemies from opposite sides of the track who realize that maybe they’re better when they work together.
The Incredible Jessica James (Netflix)
Jessica Williams found fame as the young, sharp correspondent on The Daily Show, and The Incredible Jessica James is her first major foray into being a film lead. The film itself feels more like a series of humorous vignettes than a feature length, but Williams puts in a strong performance as Jessica, a struggling playwright whose dry humor hops between painfully cynical and endearingly optimistic. She’s paired up with Chris O'Dowd, whose perpetually laid-back, awkward line delivery is a good complement to William’s quick wit.
This Is Not What I Expected (Netflix)
A Chinese film from director Derek Hui, This Is Not What I Expected is, well, an unexpectedly funny film. It tells the story of a disastrously clumsy chef, Gu Sheng Nan, and a rich, arrogant hotel acquirer, Lu Jin. The film features some genuinely gorgeous food cinematography, as well as some pretty funny gags---at one point someone falls off a roof, and then later someone accidentally eats improperly prepared blowfish, leading to a hallucinatory episode.
Alex Strangelove (Netflix)
Sweet, neurotic Alex is consumed by thoughts of still being a virgin, and he can’t quite figure out why he feels he feels as much love for girlfriend as he feels attraction to this boy he just met at a party. There’s unfortunately not a ton of queer rom-com options out there, so I’d be lying if I said that Alex Strangelove is entirely without drama and heartbreak. It is a funny, quirky film that ends on a happy note though, and thankfully it never features Daniel Doheny’s Alex getting bullied.
Mamma Mia! (Netflix)
Listen, if you haven’t seen this film yet, you must. It has Preacher’s Dominic Cooper as the cheerful fiance, and features Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth as just generally embarrassing dad figures. Mamma Mia! tells the story of Sophie, a bride-to-be who invites three men to her wedding in the hopes of figuring out who is her real father---much to the chagrin of her mother. No one will judge you if you end up singing alongside Meryl Streep to every ABBA song in this, no one.
Lasse Hallström’s Casanova is an underrated gem, both smart and clever, and with numerous surprising actor cameos. Taking place in 18th century Venice, it features Heath Ledger as Casanova and Daredevil’s Charlie Cox as his socially awkward rival then protege. Casanova matches wits with Sienna Miller’s Francesca Bruni, who writes illegal feminist books under a male pseudonym. It’s a tale rife with humor, romance, mistaken identities, and uptight clergymen determined to wipe out Casanova’s philandering and Francesca’s feminine rebellions.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (HBO)
The entire Bridget Jones’s series is notable in that it’s only the second Hollywood movie trilogy to be directed entirely by women (following behind the Wachowski’s Matrix trilogy). The film itself is a very obvious interpretation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but Renée Zellweger’s Bridget is a riotous spin on Elizabeth Bennet. She’s crass, struggles with her weight and outfits, and just all around feels too old and unattractive to possibly snag a guy---that is, until she does.
She’s All That (Hulu)
A classic feel-good film that’s a modern remix of both George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion play and George Cukor's film My Fair Lady. (Translation: an arrogant dude transforms an “average” girl into a high-class beauty.) Rachael Leigh Cook wears a pita on her head. Freddie Prinze Jr. does interpretive song and dance. And the late Paul Walker is there, acting like a jerk, in one of his earliest film roles. What’s not to like?
Much Ado About Nothing (Hulu)
I know, it’s a Joss Whedon film, but if you can look past your conflicted (or just flat out negative) feelings about him, this modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is pretty decent. Nathan Fillion plays the comically useless Dogberry, who wears a ridiculously short tie throughout. There’s also Clark Gregg there as Leonato, and Alexis Denisof makes a charming and amusing Benedick.
Did we miss any films you love? Add 'em in the comments!
Images: Netflix, Buena Vista Pictures, Miramax, Lionsgate