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50 Best Romantic Comedies: Funny Movies We Love About Love

There’s something uniquely cinematic about romantic comedies — something that makes them a natural fit for the movies, and vice-versa. There’s a special alchemy that allows us to believe in the magic of meet-cutes, happily ever afters, and all of the agonizing contrivances that tend to pop up between the two; that gives storytellers permission to transpose the stuff of operas and fables into the fabric of real life.

On paper, a film like “Pretty Woman” might be a retrograde fairy tale about a hooker with a heart of gold and the rich businessman who can afford it, but the chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere is so explosive that you surrender to the sentiment of it all. It’s hard to imagine how the mismatched couple in “Something Wild” might possibly sustain a lasting relationship after the credits roll, but where that movie leaves you — and the journey it takes to get there — is so thrilling and alive that you can’t help but trust it. Literally nothing in “Love Actually” makes sense if you stop and think about it for even a few seconds, but love, actually, always seems to add up in the moment.

Richard Curtis’ magnum opus was a British production (in case you couldn’t tell), but even some of its many storylines find something naggingly American about the aspirational nature of the rom-com genre. No other country is populated by such radically different strangers, nor so enriched by the unexpected collisions between them; from “Bringing Up Baby” to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Hollywood has always been eager to sell the idea that we’re all just one chance encounter away from happiness. That might help to explain — if only in part — why the rom-com canon is as white and heteronormative as the history of the American film business, and

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