5 Rom-Coms Even Guys Can Enjoy
Not all romantic comedies suck.
Really, it"s true. The name "Aniston" doesn"t have to be synonymous with "obligatory date night movie," and "Heigl" doesn"t have to be a unit of measurement (i.e. "Along Came Polly" gets 2.5 Heigls out of 5).
And good romantic comedies aren"t as elusive as you might think. They"re just outnumbered by the lousy ones, like Slash in a Super Bowl halftime show.
With Valentine"s Day lurking around the corner, here are five romantic comedies that laugh in the face of formula and both guys and gals can enjoy.
"So I Married an Axe Murderer" (1993)
One of comedian Mike Myers" best, "So I Married an Axe Murderer" is the story of poet Charlie (Myers), who falls in love with the girl of his dreams, a beautiful butcher named Harriet (Nancy Travis). Already wary of relationships, Charlie grows paranoid when he suspects Harriet of being the notorious "Mrs. X," a serial killer who slays her husbands on their wedding night. Hilarity a?" and lots of it a?" ensues, thanks to the antics of a pre-"Austin Powers" Myers and a winning supporting cast, including Travis, Anthony LaPaglia and Amanda Plummer, with hysterical cameos from Phil Hartman, Charles Grodin and Stephen Wright.
Directed by sitcom guru Thomas Schlamme, "So I"" is the kind of movie that gets funnier with each go-around, and Charlie"s poems ("Woman. Whoa, man. Whoooooaaaa, man.") are the stuff of catchy-tuned legends.
"Coming to America" (1988)
When it comes to "80s comedies, director John Landis is royalty. Kind of like Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem in "Coming to America," the tale of an African prince (Murphy) journeying to New York City to find his future queen in Queens.
With royal manservant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) in tow, Akeem seeks a wife who will love him for who he is, rather than what he is, even it if means working at a fast-food joint called McDowell"s, living in an apartment that"s "a real *$%@hole" or accepting advice from the ornery regulars of a local barbershop (almost all played by Murphy and Hall).
Hilarious, thoughtful and packed with memorable lines, "Coming to America" seamlessly blends romance with comedy in an era when Eddie Murphy was still Eddie Murphy a?" namely funny and unafraid of an R rating.
"Romancing the Stone" (1984)
Before Robert Zemeckis was directing creepy computer-animated people with haunting, vacant eyes in "The Polar Express," "Beowolf," etc., he made movies with heart and, well, actual people. Case in point is "Romancing the Stone," a charming and exciting romantic comedy that throws high-flying adventure into the mix.
Kathleen Turner is Joan Wilder, a romance novelist whose life couldn"t be further removed from the heroines in her books a?" until her sister is kidnapped in Colombia, South America. Traveling there to meet the criminals" demands, Joan is greeted with peril aplenty. Fortunately, rogue adventurer Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) saves the day accompanies Joan on her quest a?" through jungle dangers, hordes of gun-toting drug dealers and a ne"er-do-well Danny DeVito. Adventure, intrigue and romance ensue.
"Shaun of the Dead" (2004)
"A romantic comedy. With zombies." With a tagline like that, what do you expect? Try "brilliance." From director Edgar Wright and writers/actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, "Shaun of the Dead" offers an incredibly human story that just happens to be set during an unfortunate zombie outbreak.
It may seem an odd choice, but "Shaun" fits the romantic comedy framework to a tee. When everyman Shaun (Pegg) is dumped by girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), he resolves to turn his life around and win her back by proving his worth, with the help of his slacker roommate, Ed (Frost). But another fellow has eyes for Liz, meaning Shaun must move fast and take responsibility for his actions. Oh, and to do so, he and his cohorts must fight through a zombie horde.
"Shaun" is somewhat of an anomaly, remaining true to the genres it parodies so well (it"s been dubbed a rom-zom-com), while delivering well-written laughs, peppered with poignancy and memorable lines.
"The Princess Bride" (1987)
Inconceivable! Sure, it has a frou-frou title and a princess named Buttercup (Robin Wright), but this fairy tale adventure also features Andre the Giant and Billy Crystal a?" not to mention a slew of memorable lines ("My name is Inigo Montoya"") and bountiful laughs ("Anybody wanna peanut?").
Cary Elwes is Westley, a farm boy turned buccaneer, who must rescue the love of his life (Wright) from the evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). Along the way, he must brave the Cliffs of Insanity, fight Rodents of Unusual Size and engage in a battle of wits with the sharp-tongued Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), whose cohorts (Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant) experience a welcome change of heart.
Adventure, comedy, romance, cheesy soundtrack a?" it has it all. Further, the story"s told by Peter Falk (TV"s "Columbo") to a pre-"Wonders Years" Fred Savage.