Pretty much any romantic comedy brings with it something of a built-in audience of date-night moviegoers. However, there is something about a really good romantic comedy that transcends even the usual allure of the genre. It provides surprising appeal to a wide audience that does not necessarily conform to any preconceived notions of the target market for rom-coms. A good romantic comedy is worth watching for fans of good movies in general, but a substandard rom-com is something most cinema-goers usually try to avoid. While there are no shortage of romantic comedies coming out in the next few months, these five upcoming flicks are worthwhile entries to the genre.
Director Andrew Fleming has spent the last couple of decades building a reputation as a director of solid, interesting works of comedy, including 1990s cult classics "Dick" and "The Craft." Fleming also directed an episode of the feverishly beloved television series "Arrested Development", which is enough to give him a decent amount of credibility among serious comedy fans. The upcoming "Barefoot" looks like it will follow Fleming's pattern of comedies that are both original and very funny. The story by screenwriter Stephen Zotnowski involves the ne'er-do-well, outcast, promiscuous son of a monied family and his new romantic interest. While this plot sounds like standard rom-com material, this particular love interest is unique. While recent years have seen plenty of quirky, eccentric women as cinematic love interests, the character played here by Evan Rachel Wood is literally psychotic. The impending romance in the story promises to be interesting to watch.
Steven Brill has built an impressive resume as both an actor and director involved with some of the most popular comedies in recent memory, from "The Wedding Singer" to "Knocked Up." Brill serves as both writer and director on "Walk of Shame", which boasts a very promising cast led by Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden. The plot of "Walk of Shame" is the type of uncomplicated story that often works well for comedy. Banks plays a reporter aspiring to become an anchor on her local station. However, the night before a crucial job interview, she becomes marooned in downtown Los Angeles without money or a way to get home. Of course, this occurs after a one-night stand, hence the movie's title.
Right now, the alternative comedy scene is booming, especially in New York City. Stand-up comedians throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn are in high demand. However, Donna Stern, the protagonist of "Obvious Child", is not experiencing the same luck as some others in the industry. The Brooklyn-based comic loses both her romantic partner and her job just in time for Valentine's Day. A gutsy element is added to the plot when Donna also finds out that she is pregnant. This independent effort helmed by first time director Gillian Robespierre looks to be just what the doctor ordered for anybody interested in an interesting, offbeat romantic comedy. Stand-up comedy fans recognize "Obvious Child" star Jenny Slate as an established comic, along with other famous comedians in the cast, including David Cross and Gabe Liedman.
This movie features Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. At this point, it is safe to say that the Barrymore/Sandler combination has become one of the most iconic onscreen romantic pairings of all time. The classic team returns to the screen for "Blended." Frank Coraci has directed some of Adam Sandler's most enduring pictures, and he returns for this story about a man and woman who go on a blind date that goes poorly. Even though both parties are ready to move on, they find themselves pushed by fate to spend time together when they end up at the same family resort with their kids. The story looks to be simple yet authentic and effective, and the chemistry of the two stars alone will surely make "Blended" worthwhile.
Nick Frost first gained international repute in the English sitcom "Spaced", and he holds a place in the hearts of comedy fans worldwide in the now-classic "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz". In "Cuban Fury," Frost takes a starring role as Bruce Garret, a one-time child prodigy in the world of salsa dancing. However, the story takes place decades later as Bruce has entered his mid-30s with his peak seemingly long behind him. Even though he is single and not in the best shape of his life, his attractive boss, Julia, played by the always wonderful Rashida Jones, gives Bruce motivation to at least try and turn things around. With a great cast and Frost's stellar track record, it is safe to say that "Cuban Fury" might be one of the best comedies of the year.
The best romantic comedies defy expectations and appeal to even the most cynical and jaded of moviegoers. With these five upcoming releases, it looks like this may be one of the strongest years for rom-coms in history.