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There are so many different ways you can fall in love, and romantic comedies serve to remind us of that. Maybe you're dreaming of an unexpected romance, like in Something's Gotta Give or Crazy Stupid Love. You could also be looking for love stories with strong female leads, such as The Incredible Jessica James or Someone Great. Whatever kind of love story you're in the mood for, you'll find your perfect match on our list of the best romantic comedies currently streaming on Netflix.
<i>Something's Gotta Give</i> (2003)
The star-studded cast of this Nancy Meyers rom-com compares to no other. Meyers wrote the part of womanizing Harry Sanborn for Jack Nicholson, and it shows. His comedic, wildly irresponsible persona meets its match with Diane Keaton as the successful and stern writer Erica Barry. The only problem? He's dating her daughter, Marin (Amanda Peet) … at least, until a health emergency pulls Dr. Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves) into the mix, turning this love triangle into a dizzying square.
Unlikely romances are at the heart of this film, which follows Harry and Erica as they explore dating, both within their generation and outside of it. It's an unusual take on what romance looks like as we age and grow, a premise that won over Reeves, who was at the height of his Matrix fame when he took on this project. He told EW that he knew the film was unique right away, saying, "It's one of the best romantic comedy scripts — or any script — I've read in a long time. It's smart and personal and relevant and funny." And who are we to question Keanu?
If you loved the unexpected romance of Something's Gotta Give, you might also like: You've Got Mail (1998), streaming on Netflix.
<i>Crazy Stupid Love</i> (2011)
Long before Dan Fogelman was tugging on our heartstrings with This Is Us, he gave Hollywood a taste of what he could do with Crazy Stupid Love. The film stars Ryan Gosling as Jacob, a super-smooth chick magnet who passes his vast dating knowledge onto the newly single Cal (Steve Carell), whom he meets at a bar. Cal is wounded from his separation from his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), following her affair with her coworker (Kevin Bacon). But just as Cal gets the hang of the single life, Jacob suddenly finds himself falling for a girl named Hannah (Emma Stone) who's not so easily impressed.
EW's Jeff Giles didn't call Crazy Stupid Love the "Best Romantic Comedy Ever Made (Recently)" for no reason. The ensemble cast's star power and captivating chemistry makes for some fascinating, interconnected stories that highlight the ups and downs of love. Cal and Jacob's dynamic gives great bromance, while the heat between Stone and Gosling is (once again) off the charts. "They love each other in real life, and they get on like a house on fire," joked director Glenn Ficarra. "It wasn't a lot of heavy lifting on our part… It's making a move to hire the right chemistry."
If you liked the messiness of Crazy Stupid Love, you might enjoy: How Do You Know (2010), streaming on Netflix.
<i>When Harry Met Sally…</i> (1989)
There's a reason Nora Ephron movies are considered the gold standard of romantic comedies — and that reason is When Harry Met Sally…. This classic tale of "will they, won't they" follows Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as the titular characters, who first meet as college grads on a cross-country drive from Chicago to New York City. There, the two reconnect multiple times over the years in one of the most beloved, belly laugh-inducing love stories to date.
The film revolves around a single question: "Can men and women ever just be friends?" Though it never answers this outright, the evolution of Harry and Sally's ill-defined relationship gives us plenty of room to ponder. Ephron's witty, celebrated screenplay was shaped in part by Crystal's own jokes, elevating the script into absolute hilarity. But its most iconic one-liner trails Sally's fake orgasm in a restaurant, in which a fellow customer remarks, "I'll have what she's having."
Overall, the film's medley of humor and human connection is a creative feat that's rarely been matched.
If you loved the romantic ambiguity of When Harry Met Sally…, you might also enjoy: Sleepless in Seattle (1993), available for rent on Amazon Prime Video.
<i>The Incredible Jessica James</i> (2017)
Jessica Williams (The Daily Show, 2 Dope Queens) is a relatable force to be reckoned with in her debut lead role. As the uber-confident Jessica James, she's trying to find out what's next in both her work life and her love life, with New York City as the backdrop. However, a blind date throws a wrench in all her plans as she finds herself unexpectedly falling for Boone (Chris O'Dowd) though she's still not quite over her ex, Damon (Lakeith Stanfield).
Though the love story at the center of The Incredible Jessica James may seem a little trope-y and basic at times, the protagonist is anything but that. Jessica is a joyful, empowered character who faces her mistakes head-on without beating herself up about them. EW's Devan Coggan celebrated the rom-com for its not-so-delicate balance, writing, "Even when the film falls into indie clichés, Williams keeps things moving with her cleverness and charisma, whether she's chastising manspreaders on the subway or introducing an as-yet-unborn baby to the fight to dismantle the patriarchy."
If you liked the empowerment of The Incredible Jessica James, check out: Resort To Love (2021), streaming on Netflix.
<i>Alex Strangelove</i> (2018)
A coming-of-age rom-come that sees a popular teen wrestle with his sexuality may sound like a familiar narrative, but Alex Strangelove adds its own spin. Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) lives in an especially progressive and supportive environment for a high school tale, nearly void of the common prejudices against queerness. Still, Alex doesn't know what — or who — he wants, and he has to learn about himself before he can know for sure.
Many LGBTQ+ rom-coms tend to focus on protagonists that are working against societial' biases, but Alex Strangelove offers a more joyful take on the queer experience. EW's Leah Greenblatt praised the film's underlying theme beneath its (occasionally cringey) twist and turns, writing, "It's hard to fault the bigger message here: that we all deserve the right to be true to who we are, even if it takes a few hard turns — and some collateral emotional damage — to get there."
If Alex Strangelove tugged on your heartstrings, check out: Handsome Devil (2016), streaming on Netflix.
<i>Set It Up</i> (2018)
Overworked assistants Charlie (Glen Powell) and Harper (Zoey Deutch) have a corporate meet-cute in their shared office building when they bond over their demanding, miserable bosses: venture capitalist Rick Otis (Taye Diggs) and sports media maven Kirsten Stevens (Lucy Liu). Desperate to make their jobs (and lives) easier, Charlie and Harper hatch a plan to merge their superiors into a happy power couple. But playing matchmaker might be way above their pay grade.
A romantic comedy in the same vein as The Devil Wears Prada, this film has its fair share of gaslighting, but the twist is its good intentions. Charlie and Harper feel genuine admiration for their successful bosses, and though their motives are self-serving, it's all in the name of love, right? What follows is a satisfying take on the feel-good genre, complete with meditations on work lives, love lives, and everything in between. EW's Dana Schwartz hailed Set It Up as the "gold standard for the frothy summer rom-com," and she was right on the money.
If you're looking for a rom-com that follows the life and love of ambitious people, you might enjoy: Candy Jar (2018), streaming on Netflix.
<i>Always Be My Maybe</i> (2019)
Who says you can't go home again? Ali Wong shines in this romantic comedy about childhood best friends who cross paths years after an awkward teenage romance ended badly. Fast forward 16 years, and life has taken celebrity chef Sasha Tran (Wong) and unsuccessful musician Marcus Kim (Randall Park) to some very different places. Much has changed, but their chemistry sure hasn't as the two come face-to-face with their many differences on the road to reconciliation.
The co-stars Wong and Park are also co-writers for the film, and given the hilarity of Wong's Netflix stand-up specials, it's no wonder Always Be My Maybe was an instant hit. The central love birds have a lot of healing to do from their complicated youths before they can live happily ever after, but the laughter makes it that much sweeter. Throw in a disastrous double-date featuring Keanu Reeves playing, well, Keanu Reeves, and you've got yourself a chaotic love triangle unlike any you've seen before. EW's Leah Greenblatt highlighted the film's graceful lack of tokenism as well: "Always Be My Maybe … joins a burgeoning if still too-small club of mainstream movies centered without any special pomp or circumstance on Asian-American characters." Seriously, what's not to love?
If you loved the longevity of Always Be My Maybe, you'll appreciate: The second chance romance of When We First Met (2018), streaming on Netflix.
<i>Someone Great</i> (2019)
This charming directorial debut by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson proves that break-up movies can make for great rom-coms. Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) lands her dream job at Rolling Stone, but it costs her her longtime boyfriend (Lakeith Stanfield). Desperate for a last hurrah in New York City before her big move, the new bachelorette rallies friends Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) to help send her off, though it proves to be anything but a clean break.
The misadventures of their big night out inspire each woman to reflect on whether they've been choosing their relationships over themselves. The result is an empowering, modern spin on what's expected from the genre, placing sisterhood and self-love at the center stage. Ever the rom-com expert, EW's Leah Greenblatt heralded Something Great as "... a newer breed of movie: the scrappy female-POV in which the love story at the center is as much about friendship or the face in the mirror as it is about any one man."
If you loved the camaraderie of Someone Great, you might enjoy: The Sweetest Thing (2002), streaming on Netflix.
<i>The Lovebirds</i> (2020)
The relationship between Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) is on its last legs and fading fast when the struggling couple is invited to a dinner party. On their way there, a chance encounter with a criminal changes the course of their night — and their separation. If they want to make it out alive and clear their names, the two will have to work together, but not without throwing a few passive-aggressive jabs at each other in the process.
The Lovebirds gives viewers a different kind of second-chance romance. It's light on the romance and heavy on the antics, making it an honest portrayal of all that can make or break a relationship — romantic or not. Still, the chemistry between Rae and Nanjiani eliminates any question of their potential as a couple. They bicker in that comfortable, weathered way that shows strain, but that edge may be just what they need to see their situation to the other side. And confronting it all is just as challenging as solving the murder they witnessed. EW's Leah Greenblatt noted, "What feels freshest, maybe, is the mere fact of two leads of color taking on all the tropes of the genre and making it feel as modern as they do."
If you love the high energy of The Lovebirds, you may get an equal jolt from: Mr. Right (2015), streaming on Netflix.
<i>The Half of It</i> (2020)
In a modern retelling of the classic French play Cyrano de Bergerac, Ellie (Leah Lewis) starts ghostwriting love letters for a jock, Paul (Daniel Diemer), in exchange for some much-needed cash. But as she continues to correspond with Paul's dream girl, Aster (Alexxis Lemire), Ellie finds they have a lot in common and wonders if she's actually her better half.
Though the romantic tension between the unknowing Aster and the unfortunate Ellie pushes the film forward, the true heart of this story is the blossoming friendship between Ellie and Paul. He may not be able to write to save his life, but Paul speaks up where it counts, causing an intimate and (somewhat) overlapping love triangle between teens who are just trying to learn what life is all about. The characters' bond is rooted in Lewis and Diemer's genuine affection, too. "Daniel is like my brother now," Lewis told EW. "His belief in me as Daniel definitely translated onscreen where Ellie finds the courage to perform because of Paul's belief in [her]."
If you liked the teen angst in The Half of It, you might enjoy: The Edge of Seventeen (2016), streaming on Netflix.
<i>Along for the Ride</i> (2022)
Based on the novel by Sarah Dessen, night owl Auden (Emma Pasarow) displeases her type-A mom (Andie MacDowell) by going to stay with her absentee dad (Dermot Mulroney), his wife (Kate Bosworth), and their newborn over the summer before college. Now on a mission to taste all the teenage experiences she's missed out on, Auden soon makes her first real group of girlfriends and roams the beach town in the wee hours of the morning. Doing so brings her to meet another night-type, Eli (Belmont Cameli), who has a repressed past of his own.
Sofia Alvarez is no stranger to teen rom-coms, given that she adapted To All the Boys I've Loved Before into the hit Netflix film franchise. Now, she's made her feature-length directorial debut with Along For The Ride, having collaborated with Dessen, queen of the beach read, on this quintessential summer romance film. "I have always really loved those nostalgic summertime movies that I grew up watching, and I think I immediately saw the potential for this movie to be one of those," Alvarez told EW. "I really wanted it to be the kind of summer movie where you smell the sunscreen through the screen… or it has a soundtrack that everyone is singing in their cars this summer when they're driving to the beach." Spoiler alert: This movie (and its soundtrack by Beach House) achieves all of that and more.
If you loved Along for the Ride, you might enjoy the growing pains of: The Last Summer (2019), streaming on Netflix.