Top Ten Tuesday: Rom-Com's you might have missed
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a Valentine's Day special (favourite romance tropes/types) and I thought I'd dedicate it to one of my favourite film genres - and one that's arguably a dying breed - the rom-com. In the nineties, romantic comedies were everywhere, with Nora Ephron and Richard Curtis churning out classics like they were going out of fashion. Good thing too, because they kind of did. Still, the noughties produced a few gems too, and below are some you might have missed out on. If you're looking for something new this Valentine's (as opposed to watching Notting Hill or You've Got Mail for the gazillionth time) why don't you try one of these? (Or if you'd rather avoid romance at all costs, see my list of Non-romantic films for a girls night!)
Bride and Prejudice
What it's about: Pride and Prejudice set in modern day India.
Why you've not seen it: A Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice sounds like it could be a bit gimicky - there aren't many big names and you missed it at the time.
Why you should give it a go: Fun songs, some clever adapting of the story and Aishwarya Rai (I tell a lie, she's a name) is great as Lalita Bakshi - the Lizzie Bennet character.
Disclaimers: I think it needs more chemistry between Lalita and Darcy and all the big Bollywood numbers might not be to everyone's taste. I love them though! (see my review: here)
What it's about: A hapless waiter falls in love with a gold digger on the French Riviera (played by Amelie's Audrey Tatou) but since he has no money to win her, he begins to pick up some tricks instead...
Why you've not seen it: It's French, with subtitles.
Why you should give it a go: A slyly funny and original storyline, a charming Gad Elmanach and the very beautiful and charismatic Audrey Tatou.
Disclaimers: It's basically a farce, but whatever. I loved it.
What it's about: Wallace and Chantry meet at a party and decide they want to keep in touch. Romance is off the table as she has a nice long-term boyfriend, but they're just so right for each other!
Why you've not seen it: Isn't that the plot of When Harry Met Sally? And is it possible to take Daniel Radcliffe seriously as a romantic lead?
Why you should give it a go: The answer is yes to both of the above. It's a well worn trope - 'can men and women really be just friends?' - but Daniel Radcliffe is adorable in a young Hugh Grant sort of way. If he was looking for a niche I think Rom-Coms would be just the ticket. Richard Curtis should get on that.
Disclaimers: Some of the humour is a bit gross - I could have done with a few less conversations about Elvis's bowel movements. Also Wallace and Chantry? Where did they get those names from?
Just like Heaven
What it's about: Mark Ruffalo is a young widower who finds his newly rented apartment haunted by the previous owner, workaholic doctor Reese Witherspoon.
Why you've not seen it: Reese Witherspoon makes some terrible Rom-coms along with the good (for every Legally Blonde, there's a Legally Blonde 2) and this looked like a bad one.
Why you should give it a go: This is actually pretty decent. It's romantic and sweet, and Mark Ruffalo is almost at his 13 Going on 30 peak of loveliness. (That's another one to check out if you haven't already).
Disclaimers: The ghost-y stuff is, admittedly, a bit weird and special effects are more Sabrina the Teenage Witch than big budget.
Sunshine on Leith
Why you've not seen it: You only know that one Proclaimers song and there wasn't much buzz around the film.
Why you should give it a go: The songs are great, the characters are relatable and it's romantic and feel-good.
Disclaimers: It's not feel-good the whole way through - there are some grim bits including a heart attack, a bomb blast in Iraq (or Afghanistan?) marital infidelity and broken dreams. But the songs do a lot to lighten the mood...
While You Were Sleeping
What it's about: A lonely young woman finds herself involved with a family not her own, when she saves the life of the eldest son on Christmas Eve and accidentally leads them to believe she's his fiancée. Things get complicated as, while he lies in a coma, she begins to fall for his brother.
Why you've not seen it: There were so many good rom-coms in the nineties this slipped under the radar. It's gentler than some and the screenwriter's not a big name.
Why you should give it a go: It's possibly one of the loveliest ever, and my favourite. Bill Pullman finally gets to be a leading man rather than the guy who gets dumped, and he and Sandra Bullock have amazing chemistry.
Disclaimers: It's a Christmas film really, but not so Christmassy that it needs to be confined to the festive period.
What it's about: A girl born with the nose of a pig has to find one of her own to love her, in order to break the curse.
Why you've not seen it: It all sounds pretty bizarre and the reviews weren't great.
Why you should give it a go: James McAvoy has never been more attractive than he is in this film. And it's actually a fun story with a good message about self-acceptance and some great actors, including Peter Dinklage, Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon (who also produced) Nick Frost and Richard E. Grant
Disclaimers: Admittedly, it is a bit weird.
What it's about: Will Smith is Alex Hitchens - a 'date doctor' who helps men present themselves the best way to get the women they want. But his own love life isn't always plain sailing.
Why you've not seen it: The premise might sound a bit sleazy - but it's not at all.
Why you should give it a go: Will Smith in a rom-com? What's not to like? And the first half in particular is really clever and fun.
Disclaimers: I didn't think the main girl (played by Eva Mendes) was quite likeable enough, and the last act isn't quite as good as the first.
What it's about: A Woman's life takes two separate paths - one where she catches that train home, and one where she doesn't.
Why you've not seen it: Again, there are so many good nineties rom-coms, you've likely not seen them all. And maybe you were too young for it when it came out.
Why you should give it a go: It's a clever and interesting premise, and I like that the two men in Helen's life are a bit different from your usual rom-com standards.
Disclaimers: Gwyneth Paltrow's fake English accent is good - but annoying. As is John Hannah as the romantic lead.
Walking on Sunshine
Why you've not seen it: From the trailer, it looked like a crap Mamma Mia - and Mamma Mia wasn't exactly great art to begin with.
Why you should give it a go: It doesn't take itself too seriously, the male lead is gorgeous, the eighties soundtrack is fabulous and feel-good and there's a scene where Greg Wise (Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, with a very dodgy tan) sings 'Faith' by George Michael.
Disclaimers: It is basically a crap Mamma Mia.
Seen any of these? Any under-ratted rom-coms you could recommend? And what are your all-time favourites?