Romantic comedies have changed significantly over the years.
The days of formulaic stories starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, and Judy Greer as the best friend, are gone.
And that’s a good thing. The traditional rom-com got old, and cheapened the great ones like “Moonstruck,” “Working Girl,” and “Say Anything.”
As our culture changes, so does the entertainment. Over the past decade, rom-coms have advanced their premises, the stories they tell, and the message they send. Judd Apatow’s comedies, while vulgar, have a romantic element and an underlying message about life. Oscar nominee “The Big Sick” (produced by Judd Apatow) tells the story of a budding romance and a girlfriend in a coma, but also captures what living in the United States as an immigrant from Pakistan is like.
Romantic comedies have also made their way onto television, which has allowed the genre to take more time to tell its stories and develop characters.
Here are the 7 best modern romantic comedies, from “Knocked Up” to “The Big Sick:”
7. “The Lobster” (2015)
“The Lobster” is a dark take on the rom-com with sci-fi elements and social commentary. That’s a lot of things to pack into a rom-com. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star as single people in a society where single people have an expiration date to find someone to be with. If they don’t find anyone, they turn into an animal of their choice. With its dark, bitter take on mankind, “The Lobster” proves that rom-coms can be absurd, have sci-fi elements, and have a poignant message.
6. “Obvious Child” (2014)
“Obvious Child” follows a woman who gets pregnant from a one-night stand and chooses to get an abortion. The movie makes a typically sad story — usually saved for gut-wrenching, hard-to-watch dramas — into an adorable story about a budding romance. It makes the abortion a side story, and not the main reason the movie exists. The film is filled with sweet and funny little moments that capture the awkwardness of a new romance. The movie also proved that Jenny Slate, who had a brief stint on “SNL,” was a promising actress with some serious talent.
5. “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)
“Silver Linings Playbook” takes characters with mental illness seriously by portraying them as protagonists, and not side characters there for cheap laughs or tears. The smart and fast dialogue showed that anyone can be a hero and that a story about broken people doesn’t have to be sad. The movie has dramatic elements, of course, but the performances and chemistry from Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Julie Weaver, and Robert De Niro turned a good screenplay into an excellent movie.