10 of the Noughties best Rom-Coms
Do you love the ‘drama, drama, drama’ of romantic comedies? If you recognised that line was from How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days, chances are you’re a big romantic comedy fan.
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My wife and I love a good rom-com. Here’s a list of the 10 rom-coms from the noughties that keep making an appearance on our date night watch list. Some of these are best found on iTunes or Stuffpix but there’s something nice about actually renting a movie – and most of them are very well-priced in the $5-6 range.
So lay out the chocolate, uncork the wine, pull out some tissues and get ready to laugh, cry, and reminisce over the romantic hits of the noughties.
1. High Fidelity (2000) iTunes
Based on the Nick Hornby book of the same name, High Fidelity is set in a record store run by Rob (John Cusack), with Barry (Jack Black) as his assistant. It’s a simple premise, Rob has lost his girlfriend (Iben Hjejle) to pretentious pony-tailed Ian (Tom Robbins) and wants her back. It’s whimsical, wry, meandering, amusing and full of lists and inane facts about music. It’s completely captivating and serves as a reminder that we all have a soundtrack of our life.
2. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) iTunes / Stuffpix
The ultimate feel-good rom-com based on Helen Fielding's novel is a modern interpretation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Renée Zellweger stars as Bridget Jones with her “absolutely enormous” co-stars Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy – Bridget’s “true love” (catch the Pride and Prejudice reference?). Bridget is 32-years old, accident-prone and worried about her weight though she is more worried about finding love. This is an adorable self-help journey for the ages.
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) iTunes / Stuffpix
An endearing movie that seems to start with a Greek version of Bridget Jones – 30s, single, thinks she’s overweight – but quickly moves into a sweet story about a couple making their way through cultural and class differences. Toula (Nia Vardalos) comes from a traditional and conservative Greek family; handsome stranger Ian (John Corbett) is not Greek. Toula eats meat, Ian is a vegetarian. Toula’s family are working class, Ian is rich … will it ever work?
4. Something’s Gotta Give (2003) Netflix
A story about a senior fling that many have said is an almost autobiographical story for star Jack Nicholson. This movie is all about finding love in an unexpected lover - what gives? Though it occasionally stumbles into full-blown sitcom territory, Something's Gotta Give is a smart film with sharp performances from Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Frances McDormand and Keanu Reeves.
5. 50 First Dates (2004) iTunes
Playboy veterinarian Henry (Adam Sandler) is a one-night-stand kind of guy until he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore). The comedic twist to this love story? Lucy suffers short-term memory loss so to her, every day is new. Yes, it’s a bit like Groundhog Day but the irony here is that Henry, now that he wants true love, is in a cycle of potential one-night stands with the same woman. It’s cheesy, but it’s light-hearted fun with a quality cast.
6. 40-year-old Virgin (2005) Netflix
Rude and uproarious yet also engagingly human and feels true even if under the preposterous premise that Andy (Steve Carrell) is still a virgin at 40. But that fact becomes more plausible the more you understand his wounded self-esteem and desire to escape the world. Carrell is hilarious in this rom-com – it’s naughty and sensitive all at once.
7. The Holiday (2006) Netflix
History has been kind to The Holiday – a Christmas house-swap story starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. A slightly misunderstood film that didn’t get great reviews the first time around, but in some ways it’s the ultimate “chick flick” in that it delivers real affirmations about the need for self-care, of putting oneself first. The fact there’s no definitive happy ending – it’s all open-ended – confirms its main message is for women to love themselves first and worry about romantic bliss later.
8. Lars and the Real Girl (2007) Amazon Prime
Ryan Gosling before he was super-famous is super-good as Lars, a loveable introvert with some troubles socialising. So he “meets” Bianca on the internet and she comes to visit. He introduces Bianca to his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karen (Emily Mortimer, who is fantastic), and they are stunned because Bianca is, in fact, a life-size doll. What follows is an emotional journey for poor, sweet, deluded Lars and the people around him as they come to terms with Bianca.
9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) Netflix
Peter (Jason Segel, who also wrote the script) is left heart-broken when TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) abruptly ends their five-year relationship for a sleazy Brit musician played plausibly by Russell Brand. To escape his pain, Peter decides to get away to Hawaii where he runs into Sarah and her new beau. It’s a kind of disaster rom-com with great one-liners which is elevated to greater heights by Segel’s brilliant comic timing. He does such a great job you end up investing a lot in his seemingly elusive happiness.
10. The Proposal (2009) Neon
Sandra Bullock is delightful in this sweetly obvious but gradually appealing story. Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a high-powered editor who suddenly finds she’s about to get deported to Canada from the US. So, she says she's engaged to marry her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), who leverages his power to get a book deal for himself. You know the story – it’s an old one – a couple who don’t like each other that much at first gradually fall for each other during their arranged engagement. But Bullock and Reynolds are good enough to make it entirely believable – and the Alaskan scenery is magic.
5 Best rom com soundtracks of the 2000s – all available on iTunes
1. High Fidelity – See above but add in a fabulous soundtrack including Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello and Stevie Wonder.
2. Once – Irish singer Glen Hansard stars opposite Czech musician Markéta Irglová as two struggling singers in Dublin with a special chemistry. The pair wrote the Oscar-winning soundtrack.
3. Juno – Juno (Ellen Page) is sassy, 16 and pregnant in this critically acclaimed romantic comedy that’s also a coming of age story. The only thing more adorable than Juno is the music by Kimya Dawson.
4. Garden State – If you don’t have Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” in your head after this film you’re doing it wrong. Plus The Shins, Iron & Wine, Nick Drake, Coldplay and others.
5. Lost In Translation – The calm ambience of Sofia Coppola’s mesmerising film starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson has a perfectly matched soundtrack that’s as hazy, understated and intoxicating.