The revival of rom-coms, it is time to put the antics back in into the movie subgenre

The return of rom-coms is promising, plus who doesn’t love a comeback story


Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher star in “Your Place or Mine.”

by Isabella Dallas, Staff Writer

Perfect pairings are rare. Sure, romance and comedy are masterpieces individually. But together? A match made in cinematic heaven. Romantic comedies have been a source of happiness, laughter and love in film throughout the last few decades.

With Valentine’s day being this week, the quintessential rom-com movie screening is inevitable. It’s admittedly the perfect time for charming meet-cutes, grand (but unrealistic) romantic gestures, silly banter and loveable leads running straight through snowfall into an airport. 

There is a rather predictable formula for the classic rom-com, so why has there been such a prominent lack of new and modern romantic comedies in the film industry? 

The notable late 90’s and early 2000’s rom-coms are beloved comfort movies that never truly lose their spark, but how many times can someone rewatch “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Clueless,” or “10 Things I Hate About You” in a row? While there has recently been a rom-com scarcity, the genre is slowly making its comeback and is actually at the cusp of resurgence.

Phoebe Griffiths, a sophomore at San Diego State University, is a self-proclaimed enthusiast of all things rom-coms.

“While I will never get tired of young Matthew McConaughey, romantic comedies do lack diversity. Audiences are not all the same, and people are starting to crave fresh personal stories and more representation,” Griffiths said. “Rom-coms are here to provide us with the hope that happy accidents can be real. So why not give that to as many people as possible?” 

In the past, this genre has struggled with its connection to modern audiences. However, recent romantic comedies can speak to the newer experiences and hopes of people from any background, age, race, income level or sexual orientation. The revival of romantic comedies needs to surpass conventionality. 

“Crazy Rich Asians,” a 2018 American romantic comedy film directed by Jon M. Chu is a perfect example of a successful film with a present-day storyline. The film follows Rachel Chu, who goes with her serious boyfriend Nick, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore.

 Rachel is surprised to learn that Nick’s family is not only extremely wealthy but he’s considered one of Singapore’s most eligible bachelors. As she quickly finds herself thrown into this extravagant lifestyle and fame, Rachel has to withstand jealous socialites, defend her background and economic status, balance unconventional families and Nick’s disapproving mother. 

Crazy Rich Asians” became the  “top-grossing Hollywood studio romantic comedy in nearly a decade  at the North American box office” and grossed over $238 million. The film received high praise for its performance and even secured awards at the 76th Golden Globes

The film industry seemed to quickly realize that authenticity is in and dated stereotypes are out. In addition to “Crazy Rich Asians,” other modern romantic comedies that are definitely worth watching include “The Big Sick,” “Set It Up,” and “Love Simon.” These films prove that giving a voice and story to unexpected rom-com leads is, in fact, innovative and effective. 

As Hollywood slowly brings romantic comedies back to life, they are also taking advantage of the latest resurgence of rom-com books. Witty romance novels are topping bestseller lists, winning awards and gaining real recognition. Like romantic comedy movies, rom-com books are fun and admirable, explore countless tropes and are filled with people falling in love. 

Major streaming platforms like Netflix have jumped on this trend and adapted books such as “The Kissing Booth” and “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” into films with multiple sequels. 

Looking at just this year, Reese Witherspoon and her very popular book club Hello Sunshine have adapted multiple books into rom-coms, including “Your Place or Mine” which came out Feb. 10. Providing books lovers with a way to see their loved characters in their own cinematic universe is a clever way to regain a devoted audience. 

The 2019 New York Times bestselling novel “Red, White & Royal Blue,” written by Casey McQuiston, was quickly picked up by Amazon Studios. To say this film is highly anticipated would be a dramatic understatement. As soon as the film adaptation was announced, fans of this book took to all social media platforms dissecting and discussing everything from the cast, plot, must-have scenes and when it would hit the screen this new year.

Even Greta Gerwig is venturing into her romantic comedy era with her upcoming 2023 film “Barbie.”

This February consider turning to those hidden gem rom-coms that are longing to be discovered. These movies are breaking the mold of typical love stories, and Valentine’s day is the ideal time to lose yourself in this genre. The return of rom-coms is promising, plus who doesn’t love a comeback story?