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    The 20 Best Rom-Coms You Can Watch On HBO Max

    Unlikely couples, meet-cutes, and zany antics, oh my!

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    1. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

    Columbia Pictures

    When Harry Met Sally... is often lauded as the best film of the romantic comedy genre, and even more than 30 years after its release, it's immediately obvious why the hopelessly romantic continue to adore this film. We get cozy autumn walks through Central Park, Billy Crystal talking about too much pepper on his paprikash, and the iconic deli orgasm scene from rom-com queen Meg Ryan. You can't forget about Carrie Fisher, who plays Sally's friend and is — in my opinion — the best, most relatable part of the movie. And don't even get me started on the New Year's Eve scene at the end. If you know, you know, and if you don't, watch this film right now.

    2. You've Got Mail (1998)

    Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan kiss in Riverside Park in "You've Got Mail"
    Warner Bros.

    Thank you, HBO Max, for giving us not just one, but two classic Meg Ryan–in–New York City rom-coms! In You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks plays Joe Fox, a man who is trying to open his family's megastore, Fox Books, across the street from the small bookstore the Shop Around the Corner, owned by Kathleen (Ryan). Joe and Kathleen become business archrivals; meanwhile, they're unaware that they're falling in love with each other online as they anonymously send each other emails after meeting in a chatroom. Oh, the innocence of online romance before dating apps! You've Got Mail is also a love letter to the Upper West Side, with beautiful shots of Riverside Park, cozy scenes in sidewalk cafés, and leisurely strolls along brownstone-lined streets.

    3. Serendipity (2001)

    kate beckinsale smiling to Jon Cusack over a frozen hot chocolate in "Serendipity"

    After an adorable meet-cute in Bloomingdale's, Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) share a magical night gallivanting around New York City in all its Christmassy glory. At the end of the night, Sara comes up with an idea: She'll put her number in a copy of a book she'll sell to a used bookstore, and Jonathan will put his number on a $5 bill. If they happen to find each other's object, it's fate that they're meant to be together. Ten years later, they're both about to get married to other people, but neither of them can get rid of that nagging pull that they're destined for each other.

    4. Notting Hill (1999)

    Universal Pictures

    Julia Roberts is just a girl standing in front of a boy and asking him to love her in this purely delightful film opposite rom-com darling Hugh Grant. One day, Hollywood star Anna Scott (Roberts) walks into Will's (Grant) travel bookstore, and what follows is a sweet romance that builds with an underlying tension because of Anna's intense stardom. Through their ups and downs, you'll be entranced with the London neighborhood that gives the film its name, with its pastel-colored row houses and lively residents. Also, Grant saying "whoopsie-daisies" while trying to jump a fence might just melt your heart.

    5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

    Toula dressed in a wedding dress next to her mother and bridesmaids in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"
    IFC Films

    Windex, Bundt cakes, and truly atrocious bridesmaid dresses all have starring roles in this laugh-a-minute rom-com. Nia Vardalos, who plays Toula, wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay based on her own experience growing up in a Greek family, and the authenticity of the humor catapulted this indie film into the romantic comedy Hall of Fame as the highest grossing of all time. Toula meets and falls in love with non-Greek Ian Miller (John Corbett), and after he proposes, Toula starts to integrate Ian into her massive, boisterous family, leading to hilarious misunderstandings. Vardalos and Corbett's chemistry is undeniable, but it's Toula's close relationship with her eccentric but loving family that'll truly pull at your heartstrings.

    6. Can't Buy Me Love (1987)

    two people on a lawn mower in "Cant Buy Me Love"
    Touchstone Pictures

    Before Patrick Dempsey was McDreamy, he was Ronald Miller, a nerd who pays his next-door neighbor and popular cheerleader Cindy (Amanda Peterson) $1,000 to pretend to go out with him to increase his clout among their high school classmates. Cindy's in a financial predicament because she has to replace her mom's fancy outfit she ruined after borrowing it without permission, so she takes him up on the offer. Get ready for big hair, classic '80s music, and Dempsey stealing your heart while riding a lawnmower.

    7. The First Wives Club (1996)

    bette midler diane keaton and goldie hawn dancing in "first wives club"

    Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn...need I say more? Okay, okay, I will. These three comedic icons star as a group of friends who seek revenge on their respective ex-husbands who have all left them for younger women. Also starring a pre–Sex and the City Sarah Jessica Parker, The First Wives Club is a bit of a unicorn: It stars middle-aged women and celebrates female friendship over romances. Confession: I rewatch the iconic scene at the end, of Midler, Keaton, and Hawn dancing to "You Don't Own Me," about once a week. Now all I need is a white power suit....

    8. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

    angela bassett and taye diggs dance in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"
    20th Century Fox

    Angela Bassett is Stella, a successful 40-year-old stockbroker in need of a break. After persuasion from her best friend, Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg), she decides to take a vacation to Jamaica, where she meets the handsome, charming Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs). Only problem? He's half her age. She has to reconcile her budding romance with her real responsibilities as a mother and a broker back home. But girl, you've got Taye Diggs on the beach, shirtless. Just stay a while! Have another piña colada!

    9. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

    Renee Zellweger stands with a confused look on her face and leaves in her hair
    Universal Pictures

    Renée Zellweger reprises her role as the lovably clumsy Bridget Jones in this sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary. After spending the first movie lost and longing for love, Bridget is in a happy place in her new relationship with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), but when she is offered a new job by her old boss and ex-lover Daniel (Hugh Grant), things get a little complicated. If you watch this movie and you're looking to completely wrap up Bridget's story, HBO Max has the third film, Bridget Jones's Baby (2016), also available for streaming.

    10. Amélie (2001)


    Most of us can't jump on a flight to France right now, but turning on Amélie, which was filmed throughout Paris, is a great alternative. You'll get instantly sucked into Amélie's (Audrey Tautou) whimsical world as she wanders the streets of Montmartre, the artsy Parisian neighborhood where she waits tables. After a peculiar series of events, she becomes determined to bring happiness to others, and along the way, she keeps running into Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz), a young man who collects photographs of strangers. Their growing romance carries the story along as the vibrant colors of the city and the charming quirks of our leading lady leave you delighted.

    11. Last Christmas (2019)

    Universal Pictures

    This admittedly predictable but wholeheartedly charming rom-com stars Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke as a grumpy Christmas store employee named Kate whose personal life is in the dumps. She starts to form a relationship with Tom (Henry Golding), a handsome stranger she keeps randomly running into. If you're looking for something to get you in the Christmas spirit while also losing yourself in the sparkling chemistry of two stupidly attractive people, give this one a stream.

    12. Barefoot in the Park (1967)

    jane fonda and robert redford in an apartment in "Barefoot in the Park"
    Paramount Pictures

    Robert Redford and Jane Fonda star as a young newlywed couple who move into an apartment in New York City. Corie (Fonda) is care-free and spontaneous, which attracts the more serious, shy Paul (Redford). At first, their relationship is full of passion, but the pressure of living in a fifth-story walk-up that's falling apart starts to take a toll on their relationship. (Any couple who've ever lived together in a New York apartment can 100% relate.) They also have to deal with their wacky neighbors and a pestering mother-in-law. While the comedy can be a bit cheesy and dated at times, Redford and Fonda's sparkling chemistry leaps off the screen.

    13. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

    ryan gosling laughing with hand over this mouth with steve carrell looking serious in "Crazy Stupid Love"
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Before Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone sang and danced their way into our hearts in La La Land, they re-created the famous Dirty Dancing scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and we all simultaneously lost our minds. Jacob (Gosling) starts off as a serial womanizer who mentors recently divorced Cal (Steve Carell) into getting back into the dating game. As the film progresses, Jacob begins to fall for Hannah (Stone), a quick-witted lawyer, while Cal's love life starts to spiral out of control as he successfully picks up women using Jacob's classic moves. All the characters' stories come together in a truly shocking plot twist that I'm still reeling from almost 10 years after first seeing it.

    14. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

    katharine hepburn and cary grant argue in "bringing up baby"
    RKO Radio Pictures

    Lose yourself in the old Hollywood glamour of it all as you watch Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn shine in this screwball romantic comedy. David (Grant), a straight-laced paleontologist, finds himself dealing with the wacky antics of Susan (Hepburn), a scatterbrained heiress, when her dog steals one of his dinosaur bones. Mishaps ensue, sparks fly, and oh, did I mention that Susan has a pet leopard named Baby? It's all perfectly delightful and enjoyable.

    15. Forces of Nature (1999)

    sandra bullock sits in front of a globe in "Forces of Nature"
    DreamWorks Pictures

    If Meg Ryan is the queen of romantic comedies, Sandra Bullock is the princess, and she charms in this underappreciated rom-com opposite Ben Affleck. The plot's a little chaotic: They meet on an airplane that suffers an emergency landing after a seagull (yes, a seagull) flies into one of the engines, and they both decide to drive down to Savannah, Georgia, together. It's a classic opposites-attract, everything-bad-that-can-happen-will-happen kind of rom-com, making it the perfect movie to stream on a rainy Friday night with one hand in a popcorn bucket and the other holding a glass of wine.

    16. Going the Distance (2010)

    Drew Barrymore talking on the phone while lying on the bed in "Going the Distance"
    New Line Cinema

    Portrayals of long-distance relationships are rare in film, and Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore as Erin and Justin Long as Garrett, gives a refreshingly honest spin to the genre. Usually, romantic comedies work really hard to make sure their leads are in as many scenes as possible together, but instead, geography stands in the way of this couple, leading them to stay connected through phone calls and webcams.

    17. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

    three people argue in "The Philadelphia Story"

    Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn reunite in this classic film that displays Hepburn's comedic skills as the true masterpiece that they are. It's hard to believe this film is 80 years old as the script delivers zing after zing of clever one-liners and hilarious antics. They just don't make them like this anymore!

    18. She's the One (1996)

    Mike McGlone and jennifer aniston talk on the street in NYC
    20th Century Fox

    Tom Petty scored and wrote original songs for this little-known rom-com about two brothers (played by Edward Burns and Michael McGlone) whose love lives get complicated when one of the brothers' ex-girlfriends starts sleeping with the other brother, who happens to be Jennifer Aniston, no less!! You just don't get to cheat on Jen; it's not allowed. Sorry.

    19. Two Weeks Notice (2002)

    sandra bullock raises her eyebrows in "Two Weeks Notice"
    Warner Bros

    Ah yes, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant again! They're everywhere on this list! They are experts of the genre, after all. An unlikely romantic spark develops between an eccentric billionaire and a frustrated lawyer once the lawyer puts in her two weeks' notice. Bullock plays the straight man to Grant's kooky comic, and you'll find yourself gravitating toward this feel-good rom-com after a hard day.

    20. What's Your Number? (2011)

    chris evans comes out of his apartment naked with a towel over him in "what's your number?"
    20th Century Fox

    There's nothing groundbreaking about this Anna Faris–led rom-com about a twentysomething woman who decides to reconnect with her 19 exes to see if she missed out on finding "The One." However, you do get to see Chris Evans in nothing but a towel covering the essentials, and for that and that alone, please head to your nearest streaming device immediately and turn this film on.

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