Nonstop Movies: Fab Five Romantic Comedies

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Remember when romantic comedies used to be about real characters and not gimmicks, such as how many bridal dresses someone owns or how many days it takes to break up with someone? Romcoms nowadays seem to be built around novelty rather than substance. Smartly written romantic comedies have become rare, with Hollywood preferring to produce easily marketable slapstick rather than dialogue and intelligence. Unfortunately for movie fans, smart romantic comedy writing will be even more scarce now with the passing of screenwriter/director/author Nora Ephron yesterday.

I’ve been meaning to write this piece for a while and was finally inspired to do it when I heard of Ephron’s passing. She is responsible for the brilliant dialogue of hit films such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail,” basically making Meg Ryan’s career. I’ve even enjoyed her lesser known films such as “My Blue Heaven” and “Michael.” It’s very sad that Hollywood lost one of its brightest writers.

But with her passing, I’ve decided to celebrate the genre she was best known for and present my Fab Five Romantic Comedies. So what makes a good romantic comedy? For me, it has to have three attributes – 1) stands up to repeat viewings, to the point if you come across it on cable TV, you have to stop and watch it to the end, 2) has smart characters, and 3) makes you believe in love again.

With that, I present to you my Fab Five Romantic Comedies.

#5 - 'Serendipity'

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What is it about New York City that seems to make romance come alive?

"Serendipity" is a story of two beautiful people in New York City who share a great evening, then leave their fates up to a $5 dollar bill and a used book. It sounds gimmicky but John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale pull off the novelty of the plot with ease. I realize that the premise of this film somewhat epitomizes what I claimed was wrong with romantic comedies today, but the two leads are so good together that the movie works on a level past the gimmick. Their chemistry is incredible and believable enough so that you too will believe that destiny is real.

I’m sure I left some of your favorites off my list. Please feel free to share.