Romantic comedies get a bad name within cinema, but they serve a worthy purpose as they are movies to be enjoyed instead of analyzed. The Proposal is one of these movies: a light, funny, and occasionally saucy rom com featuring the one of the genre’s biggest hitters in Sandra Bullock, and an up and coming Ryan Reynolds before playing Deadpool defined his career trajectory. It’s a breezy movie that relies on the spiky chemistry of its two leads and became a huge hit when it was first released. If you’re a fan of The Proposal her are 10 more romantic comedies for you to enjoy.
The Break-Up has become a cultural relic of sorts thanks to changing trends in the rom-com sub-genre. In 2006, Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn were at the height of their fame thanks to their prevalence in the romantic comedies of the time, and The Break-Up was a huge hit for both actors. Aniston and Vaughn star as a coupe who finally call time on their dysfunctional relationship, but neither of the is willing to move out of the apartment they share. It’s a simple story with a lot of comedic potential as the estranged couple’s pranks escalate into full-on hostility. It was refreshing at the time to see Jennifer Aniston in this type of role which has sharper edges that her supporting turns in the likes of Office Space, and her time on Friends. The Break-Up is a funny update of comedies like War of the Roses and deserves another watch.
What Happens in Vegas
When looking for movies like The Proposal you don’t have to go far to find What Happens in Vegas. Like The Proposal did with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, What Happens in Vegas stars an A-list actress in Cameron Diaz, and an actor who is well on his way to becoming a household name in Aston Kutcher. Diaz and Kutcher play Joy and Jack: two polar opposites who got married after a drunken night in Las Vegas, in which they also won a huge sum of money. In true rom-com fashion, a judge freezes the prize money while also refusing to have the marriage annulled, meaning Joy and Jack have the choice of living with their decision or destroying each other. I think you know which path they chose. What Happens in Vegas is a fun ride, with both Diaz and Kutcher on fine form in what has become one of both actor’s biggest hits.
27 Dresses has become relevant to audiences again in the most unusual way. Not only is it a movie similar to The Proposal, it’s strange connection to Ryan Reynolds has only deepened thanks to the bamboozingly effect advertising campaign of Deadpool 2. The movie itself still enjoys a strong reputation, despite the controversies that have surrounded Katherine Heigl since its release. Heigl plays Jane, a woman that continually puts the needs of her friends and family above her which has resulted in her always being a bridesmaid. Things typically come to a head when Jane’s sister (Malin Ackerman) becomes engaged to the man that she is secretly in love with. Of course, no noughties romantic movie is complete without an appearance from James Marsden as a reporter who thinks that Jane’s status as a perennial bridesmaid would make a good, if a little humiliating story. He might even get the girl this time.
We can’t have a list of movies like The Proposal without getting some more Sandra Bullock in there. Miss Congeniality is an absolute hoot of a movie as Bullock’s slovenly FBI Agent must go undercover at the Miss America pageant after a terrorist threatens to bomb the ceremony. It’s a classic fish out of water story as Bullock plays down her A-list good looks, until she’s competing that is, to take a comedic stab at one of America’s strangest traditions. Miss Congeniality uses the classic Hollywood makeover movie to update its comedic take on My Fair Lady, but with shootouts, Benjamin Bratt in his prime, and a predictably witty supporting turn form William Shatner. Let’s face it, being the boss of a Miss America pageant is so James T Kirk. Miss Congeniality also has a serviceable sequel with the main attraction being Seven Seconds star Regina King forming a buddy cop partnership with Bullock.
Laws of Attraction
Classic Hollywood produced many of the best romantic comedies back when they were known as screwball comedies. This was mainly due to a smart script and an engaging lead couple, such as Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. The style and wit of these movies have rarely been matched, or even attempted in recent years but Laws of Attraction comes the closest. The movie stars Pierce Brosnan as a divorce attorney (it would be funny if all of his clients were divorcing because of a certain Mr. Bond) who goes up against his bitter rival played by the wonderful Julianne Moore. Like The Proposal, things take a turn towards matrimony as the rival drunkenly get married after a case takes the to Ireland. For the sake of their professional reputation, both lawyers try to make the marriage work even as their rivalry bubbles under the surface. It may not be up to Tracy and Hepburn standards, but Laws of Attraction comes very close.
Many critics labeled Bride Wars one of the worst movies of all time when it was released but it’s way more fun than it seems. It has a knockout cast with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway as leads. Bride Wars’ title is no joke as Hudson and Hathaway play best friends who have been planning their own weddings together since they were children. All of that bonding goes right out the window when both women have chosen the same venue for their respective special days. The war begins in earnest when an even bigger problem is discovered: due to a clerical error both weddings have been booked for the same day. Bride Wars isn’t meant to be great cinema, it’s a movie that has fun dissecting the chaos that comes from planning a wedding, and it’s great to see two famous actresses give their all in increasingly ridiculous scenarios.
Movies like The Proposal have a lot of fun breaking down the conventions of marriage but Knocked Up swerves this topic by going straight into unplanned pregnancy, After the success of the 40 Year Old Virgin Judd Apatow teamed up with Seth Rogen (in a career-making performance) and Katherine Heigl for this hilarious pregnancy comedy. The jokes are fantastic, the leads are charming and revolting in equal measure, but they have the entire movie stolen from them by the unhappy marriage between Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd. Mann and Rudd are so good that Apatow directed a spin-off centering around these characters titled This is 40 which chronicles the trials and tribulations of a long marriage. So, basically this is two recommendations for the price of one. We like you that much. The 40 Year Old virgin is still pretty good too, but Funny People sucks. Ok, I’ll stop.
Romancing the Stone
Before Robert Zemeckis made his name with the Back to the Future Trilogy and won Oscars for Forrest Gump, his biggest hit was Romancing the Stone. Many of the movies on this list poke fun at the conventions of marriage and romance, but romancing the Stone goes one better by plunging it’s main character into the type of romantic adventure that she could only write about before. Kathleen Turner plays Joan Wilder, a romance writer that is plunged into a real-life adventure after her sister has been kidnapped. Reluctantly joining Joan on this adventure is Michael Douglas as the roguish Jack Colton, the exact opposite of the kind of heroes in Joan’s novels. Romancing the Stone is a thrillingly funny adventure movie that loves the conventions of romance enough to skillfully spoof them, especially in the running gag that shows that even hardened criminals and warlords love Joan’s books.
Much Ado About Nothing
William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy has had many versions over the years, but we can only choose one. Ok, let’s go for Joss Whedon’s modern retelling that stars frequent collaborators Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker as Benedick and Beatrice. Shot at Whedon’s own home while he was supposed to be taking some time off after directing The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing combines the wit of Shakespeare’s play with Whedon’s own brand of hilarity. Both Denisof and Acker share fiery chemistry which their tragic romance in Whedon’s Buffy spin-off Angel will have helped with that. At least it did for the Wesley/Fred shippers. While Much Ado About Nothing is fairly minor compared to Whedon’s other, more divisive directorial efforts, it may actually be his strongest movie overall, as it has been credited as the best contemporary adaptation of the Bard’s work since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.
The Philadelphia Story
Earlier in this list I mentioned the fact that classic Hollywood was responsible for some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made, so it should come as no surprise that one of the best of the lots closes this list. Back in an era where star power was everything, The Philadelphia Story didn’t just have Katherine Hepburn, or Cary Grant, it had Jimmy freaking Stewart as well. Now that’s a strong love triangle. Like The Proposal, The Philadelphia Story is centered around a marriage, in this case Hepburn’s socialite. This is complicated by the arrival of her ex-husband, played by Grant, and a tabloid reporter, played by Stewart, who is sniffing around for a juicy story. All three are spellbinding, especially Stewart who won a well-deserved Academy Award for his role. The DNA for thousands of romantic comedies can be found in The Philadelphia Story, some of which are present on this list.