The 15 Best Romantic Comedies You Can Stream Right Now

Sarah Shatz, Lionsgate
Sarah Shatz, Lionsgate

Romantic comedies don’t always get their due. The genre is as old as cinema itself, and has been making large audiences in dimly lit rooms flush with the sweeping highs and cringe-happy awkwardness of wuv (twue wuv) for more than a century. Rom-coms been through boom times and busts. They have made progress and been problematic. They've made hearts warm and eyes roll.

It also turns out that looking for the best romantic comedies available through online services is a sign of weakness for our streaming overlords. It’s not hard to find a few dozen gems, but the severe lack of any movies made before 1980 and a more general focus on schlock over substance is enough to make you want to call your congressperson. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, it’s time to up your rom-com game.

What’s more, if you don’t see a movie you absolutely love featured here, check your streaming service again. Chances are it’s not available anymore (au revoir, Amélie). Fortunately, there’s more than enough to crush a 24-hour rom-com marathon for any particular romance-centric days that might be coming up on the calendar.

Let’s cutely meet 15 of the best. (In alphabetical order.)

1. 2 Days In New York (2012)

It’ll help if you’ve seen its predecessor, 2 Days in Paris, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the all-too-real comedy at the heart of Julie Delpy’s canny sequel. The first film explored a minefield of sexual politics with a healthy side order of fragile male ego, but the second features Chris Rock as Marion’s (Delpy) new boyfriend, a fun visit from French family, and an awkward dance around casual racism. Delpy is deft at handling third-rail comedy topics while staying grounded in what it means to be human.

Where to watch it: Hulu

2. The Big Sick (2017)

Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl break up. Girl gets sick. Boy sticks around to hang with girl’s parents in a hospital waiting room. A tale as old as time. Based on their own relationship, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s Oscar-nominated script was rightly hailed as a breath of fresh air when it hit Sundance, as it's filled with an overwhelming amount of emotion. In toying with the genre (by injecting real life), they’ve made a rom-com that begins with two young people falling in love but leads to a young man proving himself to her parents … who just happen to be played by a top-of-their-game Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

Where to watch it: Amazon

3. Her (2013)

It’s possible that Spike Jonze’s sci-fi love story is sad. Maybe even depressing. But the ending is more sweet than bitter, and there’s way more silver lining than dark cloud if you squint. The movie features the stirring relationship between Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and an AI virtual assistant (“Alexa, do you maybe wanna go out sometime?”). Scarlett Johansson voices Samantha the AI who lives on the internet and appears at whim on Theodore’s smart device. He teaches her to love, she proves that he’s worthy of it, and they both get an operating system upgrade.

Where to watch it: Netflix

4. Hitch (2005)

Truly living his Willennium to the fullest, Will Smith starred in this slapstick throwback as a dating consultant who can’t get his own love life in order. He braved water skis and an explosive fish allergy to win Eva Mendes’s character’s heart, all while helping the schlubby good guy Albert (Kevin James) stay true to himself and win an out-of-his-league crush Allegra (Amber Valletta). Even with its modern slant (which thankfully isn’t about negging women at bars), it’s still about sweetness beating cynicism.

Where to watch it: Amazon

5. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

There’s nothing like this odyssey through dating life in the App Era. Former The Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams owns the hyper-confident, profoundly magnetic main role as a woman with ambitions in every corner of her life. Her unlikely romance with divorcee Boone (Chris O’Dowd) is predicated on refusing to obsess over their exes’ social media accounts anymore, but it blossoms into exactly the best kind of supportive, frantic affair that the genre promises.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. Jerry Maguire (1996)

This movie completes this list. Without it, there would be a Jerry Maguire-shaped hole. The most sprawling of the modern rom-coms, Cameron Crowe’s film is over two hours of Tom Cruise playing a character trying to climb back up the mountain after jumping into the ocean. Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger) is the only one who sticks by him, setting up a fraught relationship about staying fiercely loyal and rejecting hollow status symbols. Would they have stayed together without the Tidwells’ (Cuba Gooding Jr. and Regina King) loving partnership as a guide? You tell me.

Where to watch it: Amazon

7. Kicking And Screaming (1995)

Noah Baumbach’s directorial debut is a new classic of angsty Gen X relationships. The kicking and screaming in the title refer to a group of recent graduates refusing to cut the academic umbilical cord completely as they head into the “real world.” It flashes between the meet-cute of Grover (Josh Hamilton) and Jane (Olivia d’Abo) in a college writing class and the relationship’s ultimate failure to weather a post-diploma adulthood. They’re dry and witty and compare their parents to presidents a lot. They’re also charming and unforgettable—especially if you’re constantly craving '90s nostalgia.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8. The Lobster (2015)

Yorgos Lanthimos’s absurdist dystopia is a romantic black comedy that envisions a world where you’re either with someone or you’re turned into an animal. At least you get to choose your animal. David (Colin Farrell) eventually falls for a shortsighted woman (Rachel Weisz) rebelling against the whole system, determined to remain single and living in the woods with like-minded friends. If you need tons of sugar in your rom-com, this may not be for you. But if you can laugh at the sheer horror of finding a permanent partner and the pressure society places on all of us to do so, there’s nothing funnier than this.

Where to watch it: Netflix

9. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Like an antidote to despair, this insanely popular jukebox musical features a fantastic cast that looks like they were paid to drink fruity drinks and party on a Greek island for a few months. Undoubtedly the singing and dancing were hard work. It’s the story of Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried), who invites three of her mother’s (Meryl Streep) former lovers (Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgård) to her wedding in the hopes of learning which one is her father. It’s as upbeat as snorting a line of breakfast cereal, goes big on the poppy musical numbers from ABBA, and tosses in a ton of love stories because one just isn’t enough.

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. Meet The Patels (2014)

It’s rare for a documentary to fall into this genre, but this movie is a real-life rom-com. Directed by siblings Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel, it focuses mostly on Ravi (an actor with bit parts in TV shows and movies), who—after breaking up with an American woman named Audrey—acquiesces to his parents’ wish that he find a partner through traditional, arraigned marriage. What results is a charismatic young man’s journey to discover himself by finding out what he really wants in a wife. It’s an absolutely charming movie that’s as realistic as it gets.

Where to watch it: Netflix

11. Moonstruck (1987)

This Oscar winner is all about personality. Cher won an Academy Award for playing Loretta Castorini, the widow who falls hard for her fiance’s younger brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage). Loretta is a slice of perfection and Ronny is a sweaty baker with a hot temper. Naturally, they look great at the opera together. Yes, it’s about falling head over heels, but it’s also about family so aggravating you’ve gotta love ‘em. It also serves as a potent reminder that Olympia Dukakis is the best.

Where to watch it: Amazon

12. Obvious Child (2014)

Tackling a topic other rom-coms are afraid to go near, Gillian Robespierre’s debut features a star-making performance by Jenny Slate as a comedian named Donna who discovers she’s pregnant and has to schedule an abortion on Valentine’s Day. Instead of hand-wringing about the choice itself, the film focuses on other elements of Donna’s life and features a grounding conversation where Donna’s mother reveals she had an abortion before giving birth to her daughter. It’s an incredibly funny movie featuring a romance that’s built on support and respect instead of mere compatibility.

Where to watch it: Netflix

13. Sabrina (1995)

It may be hard to find true classics on streaming services, but it’s slightly easier to find remakes of those classics. In this one, Sydney Pollack remade Billy Wilder’s three-way romance with Harrison Ford in the Humphrey Bogart role, Julia Ormond in the Audrey Hepburn role, and Greg Kinnear in the William Holden role. Though it's impossible to live up to the 1954 version, it’s still a delightful tale of a chauffer’s daughter enchanting two polar opposite billionaire brothers.

Where to watch it: Amazon

14. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

There’s a new(ish) series on Netflix based on it, but you can also stream Spike Lee’s raucous movie about a young woman’s battle against monogamy. Tracy Camilla Johns stars as Nola Darling, a Brooklynite having sex with three different men who can’t handle the idea that she’s having sex with three different men. Their insecurity sparks a profound change which Lee mines for depth, heartache, and laughs with his cutthroat genius. It’s an evocative masterpiece featuring one of the most revolutionary modern characters and a healthy subversion of harmful rom-com tropes.

Where to watch it: Netflix

15. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Based on Jenny Han’s wildly popular novel, Susan Johnson’s adaptation is a thoroughly modern rom-com with nods to the 1980s classics as well as a powerful reminder that, if you’re going to write love letters to all your crushes, make sure your precocious little sister doesn’t mail them. That’s exactly what happens to Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor), a shy teen trying to keep her head down while harboring strong feelings for her life-long friend Josh (Israel Broussard), who’s off-limits because he dated Lara Jean’s sister. After the letters go loose in the wild, Lara Jean agrees to fake a relationship with latter-recipient Peter (Noah Centineo) so she can pretend her feelings for Josh aren’t real and so he can win his ex-girlfriend back through jealousy. It’s a tangled web worthy of Shakespeare that’s funny, sweet, and as enriching as drinkable yogurt.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Space Force: The Office's Greg Daniels and Steve Carell Aren't in Scranton Anymore

Steve Carell stars in Greg Daniels's Space Force.
Steve Carell stars in Greg Daniels's Space Force.
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Greg Daniels and Steve Carell helped to make TV history when they collaborated on NBC's The Office. Now they've teamed up again for a brand-new show—and they're clearly not in Scranton anymore.

Daniels, who developed the American adaptation of The Office and co-created Parks and Recreation, is back with another workplace comedy—this time for Netflix and taking place in space. Space Force will follow Carell as the protagonist, and also stars big-name actors such as Ben Schwartz, Lisa Kudrow, and John Malkovich. As the title indicates, it's believed to be a spoof on Donald Trump's military branch of the same name.

This week, the first official images for Space Force were released, showing Carell and his co-stars in action—and it appears the beloved actor will have his hands full as the head of the Space Force.

In addition to starring in the series, Carell is also its co-creator (alongside Daniels) and one of its executive producers. Space Force will arrive on Netflix on May 29, 2020. In the meantime, you can check out some of the early images from the series below.

John Malkovich stars in Space Force
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Steve Carell and Lisa Kudrow in 'Space Force'
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Jimmy O. Yang in Space Force
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Steve Carell and Ben Schwartz in 'Space Force'
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

YouTube Will Air a Different Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical for Free Each Friday

Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2018.
Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2018.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Broadway may have temporarily shut down all productions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but Andrew Lloyd Webber is here to make sure that musical theater aficionados still get their fill of top-notch content for the foreseeable future.

According to Broadway Direct, Webber’s production company, The Really Useful Group, has partnered with Universal on a new YouTube channel called “The Shows Must Go On!,” which will air a different Webber musical each Friday at 2 p.m. EST on YouTube. If you can’t tune in right at that time, don’t worry—the show will stay posted for 48 hours after it airs.

The series debuted last Friday, April 3, with 1999’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which stars Donny Osmond in the titular role and an ultra-talented supporting cast with Richard Attenborough, Maria Friedman, Joan Collins, and more. This week’s offering, tying in nicely with Easter, will be the 2012 Live Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, featuring Tim Minchin, Melanie C—a.k.a. the Spice Girls’ Sporty Spice—and Ben Forster. (If you’re interested in comparing it with 2018’s live concert version with John Legend and Sara Bareilles, you can catch that on NBC this Sunday.)

The schedule for future Fridays hasn’t been released yet, but Webber did mention in the announcement that it’ll include what he calls “the most important one, my disaster musical, By Jeeves,” a 1975 production based on P.G. Wodehouse’s classic stories. Other potential productions that could be part of the series include The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, School of Rock, and, of course, Cats.

In addition to full-length Broadway musicals, the channel will also post individual songs and behind-the-scenes content about how musicals go from stage to screen. You can subscribe to the channel here so you don’t miss any opportunity for a living room singalong.

[h/t Broadway Direct]

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