10 romantic comedies that won’t make you nauseous on Valentine’s Day
Forget to book your favourite restaurant? Here's your fail-safe emergency fallback
If your Christmas credit card bill and spending in the January sales means you’re broke, there’s a decent chance that you and your significant other could be staying in with a movie this Valentine’s Day. That’s if you’ve not booked tickets to La La Land – excellent by the way, go watch it.
A rom-com of some sort is probably on the cards, but rather than resorting to something which stars Ashton Kutcher, why not try a film that will stoke the fires of romance without making you heave?
Here’s a choice selection of romantic movies for thinking men and women everywhere.
WARNING – not all the video clips are suitable for work or the faint-hearted
Andie McDowell is considered by many to be Danny Dyer’s inferior when it comes to acting, but even her averageness was no match for the sheer comedy chops of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Harold Ramis’ 1993 film tells the tale of Phil Conners, a self-centred meteorologist who finds himself doomed to live the same day over and over again. Trapped in the snow-filled backwater of Punxsutawney, he eventually reconsiders his life and falls for his hippyish colleague.
There are few things less romantic than turning up at a stranger’s wedding, drinking all their booze and bedding their relatives, but bear with us. The charlatans in question (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) eventually meet their match courtesy of Isla Fisher and Rachel McAdams. The result is an excellent comedy which popularised the term ‘motorboat’ and launched the career of Bradley Cooper. There’s also an epic cameo from a near-deranged Will Ferrell…
One of the most unspectacular but underrated films of the last decade, this drama-comedy tells the tale of two friends; Miles (Paul Giamatti) an unsuccessful writer and his soon-to-be-married friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church). The pair take a wine-tasting trip to the Napa Valley, where claret aficionado Miles looks to get over his recent divorce while his friend hopes for one final fling before tying the knot. The result is a moving piece of cinema in which Giamatti shines as the moping but lovable lead. The film also sent sales of Pinot Noir – Miles’ favourite tipple sky-rocketing in the States.
500 Days of Summer
Starring kooky ‘New Girl’ Zooey Deschannel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (of Third Rock and Inception fame) this indie rom-com was a massive hit back in 2009 and features an excellent and utterly unmushy soundtrack. Listening to The Smiths is pretty unhealthy at the best of times, but when you’re mourning a girl, Morrissey & Co. can have disastrous consequences. An alternative, funny, but ruthlessly genuine look at love and relationships, this one will probably remind you of someone you know.
Dustin Hoffman’s break-out performance as the nervous post-grad Benjamin has entered the pop-culture hall of fame in the decades since its 1967 release and its fine reputation is richly deserved. Anne Bancroft co-stars as Mrs Robinson, the archetypal MILF, with the iconic shot of Dustin standing non-plussed in the doorway as she wiggles her leg provocatively in the foreground one of the most famous in film history. Along with that harbour scene in Free Willy, of course…
There’s Something About Mary
Inadvertently getting a girl to rub semen in her hair under the pretence that it is styling gel isn’t one of the most romantic things you can do during a date, although it certainly beats hospitalising yourself with your own zipper. Ben Stiller should know, because his hapless character does both in this gross-out rom-com from the Farrelly brothers. Â Following the mishaps of a string of feckless men harbouring unrequited crushes on Cameron Diaz, There’s Something About Mary contains heart and puerile humour in equal measure.
The American President
Written by Andrew Sorkin, who would later go on to pen a little-known series called The West Wing, this rom-com follows the relationship between widower President Michael Douglas and an environmental lobbyist played by Annette Bening. Sorkin once claimed that he wrote most of the screenplay while high on crack cocaine, which is ironic when you consider that the passage of a crime control bill forms one of the film’s main sub-plots. And the fact the current President may well be dabbling in mind-altering substances of his own…
After being dubbed ‘The Hangover for girls’, Paul Feig’s comedy had a lot to live up to when it hit cinemas, Thankfully, it proved to be a massive hit with both sexes (although many gents will refuse to say so in front of their mates). Melissa McCarthy steals the show and received an Oscar nomination for her role as the butch but hilarious Megan. Kristen Wiig’s character Annie is also superb.
The 40-Year-old Virgin
With Steve Carell starring as the virgin in question and an excellent support cast including Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Jane Lynch bringing us the first proto-type of Glee’s Sue Sylvestor, this warm-hearted comedy is the perfect Valentine’s Day film and should please girls and guys alike. Described as “funny, sweet and wise” by fearsome movie critic Roger Ebert, Judd Apatow’s directorial debut is probably his best piece of work.
A Fish Called Wanda
We might be playing fast and loose with the term rom-com here. (Comedy by the bucket-load. Romance? Sort of…) But this 1988 crime caper is a classic that shouldn’t be missed. Starring John Cleese, Michael Palin, a booty-shaking Jamie Lee Curtis and a wonderfully eccentric Kevin Kline, this Charles Crichton film was universally popular upon its release in the late eighties and has not aged a day since. Kline even won an Oscar for his supporting role as a manic Anglophobe with a penchant for philosophy.