I love a good romantic comedy. Let’s be real, kids, I also love a bad romantic comedy (you’re looking at someone who has seen Failure To Launch in its entirety). I love mediocre sexist drivel that attempts humor and is not so much about romance as it is about the wedding-industrial complex (I own the DVD of Bride Wars). I know my taste is questionable at best, so it’s never surprising to me that when lists are released of the “Best Romantic Comedies”, I haven’t heard of a lot of them, let alone seen them. I know what I like in a movie; I haven’t the foggiest what makes a movie critically “good” (what does cinematography even mean?). Movie critiquing is an art that I haven’t the faintest hope of figuring out. I’m much more of a numbers person. Math is objective.
So it’s surprising to me that I’m even more baffled by this list of the top-grossing romantic comedies of all time. Highest grossing implies people went to see it, which you’d think would indicate either popularity or quality, but there’s a number of films that made the list which I don’t think have either (and in some cases, I don’t even think should be classified as rom-coms). Also, the slideshow is misleadingly titled “Top Romantic Comedies of All Time”, and I think we’ll agree that “made the most money” does not always mean “best”. Let’s break it down.
10. As Good As It Gets
So we’re leading off the list with a movie I haven’t seen, mostly because I think Jack Nicholson is too old for Helen Hunt. Apparently other people did not share my sentiment, to the tune of almost $150 million. The fine folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t hate this one either, so maybe I’m just being ageist.
9. Knocked Up
Do I buy that this was a popular movie? Sure. Would I classify it as a romantic comedy? Certainly not. What I’m about to say may be controversial, but I didn’t find anything particularly romantic or comedic about two rather incompatible people trying to force a relationship for the sake of a child conceived by mistake.
8. Runaway Bride
This was a cute movie, and no one would doubt it’s a rom-com, but one of the top ten, ever? Color me dubious.
7. Sex And The City
I have no doubt this movie made a ton of money, and I’d be a giant liar if I so much as attempted to pretend I didn’t enjoy it. That said, I’m not sure you can call it one of the best romantic comedies of all time when the movie was basically an extended fashion show that did its best to ruin every one of the relationships that existed in the show (with the exception of Charlotte, because the movie mostly forgot she existed).
6. The Proposal
This is the first movie whose presence on this list I”m not going to fight. We have an awesome female lead, a cute male lead, and Betty White. Sold. I think it was a funny movie, and managed to appeal to more than just the typical chick-flick crowd, so I’m not surprised it made this list.
5. There’s Something About Mary
So I haven’t seen this one in anything more than occasional bits and pieces on TBS. This one is similar to Knocked Up in that, while it was certainly a popular movie, I always put it more in the ‘gross out buddy comedy’ category than ‘rom-com’. Does “romantic comedy” now just mean “a comedy movie that happens to feature a romance somewhere in the plotline”?
4. Pretty Woman
There should be only one Roberts-Gere movie on this list, and this should be the one. Classic.
Seriously, list? This movie was fine, but it always struck me as more of a ‘straight-to-basic-cable’ type movie than the third best romantic comedy ever. Also, I like Will Smith best when he’s fighting aliens, not giving love advice to Kevin James, but that’s my personal preference. Apparently $180 million worth of people disagree with me.