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15 Unsung Rom-Coms That Are Actually Awesome

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    Watching a good rom-com yields a particular type of satisfaction, and we fully understand the pleasures of rewatching When Harry Met Sally… for the millionth time, reciting every word, and singing along to “Surrey With The Fringe On Top.” But sometimes revisiting the same classics over and over again can get numbing, so here are some under-loved options for your viewing pleasure.

    Our criteria for this list is multi-layered. Some of the films were brushed off by critics upon release, others were beloved but underseen, and many have somewhat faded into obscurity. We’ve got a range of choices here, including big-budget Hollywood flicks starring rom-com kings and queens like Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. And then we've got some indies. Some are on the melancholy side. The work of Jennifer Westfeldt is strongly represented. It's not a comprehensive list, just a couple of our favorites from the past few decades.

    So click ahead and enjoy. All that’s required is a willingness to believe that love is real.


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    The Wedding Banquet (1993)
    Ang Lee’s film often ends up on lists of the best romantic comedies, but it still flies under the radar. Twelve years before Brokeback Mountain, the Oscar-winning filmmaker co-wrote and directed the bilingual story of a Chinese gay man living with his boyfriend in New York. To please his traditional parents and help his friend — an artist living in Williamsburg looooooong before it was cool — get her green card, he gets married. Charming, sensitive, and funny.

    Available: Amazon

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    Two Weeks Notice (2002)
    In the grand scheme of Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock’s individual rom-com oeuvres, this is definitely a lesser entry. And yet, their collective skills are put to delightful use. He plays a playboy billionaire; she’s the awkward activist lawyer who starts working for him.

    Available: Amazon, iTunes

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    Brown Sugar (2002)
    Rick Famuyiwa (the mastermind behind this summer's indie hit Dope) wrote and directed this charming ode to love — and love of hip-hop. Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan star as the (immensely attractive) friends from childhood who may just be perfect for each other, despite the fact that Diggs' character proposes to and marries another woman. Brown Sugar did decent business when it was released. Thirteen years later, it's time it enjoyed a renaissance on the small screen.

    Available: Amazon, iTunes

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    Ira & Abby (2006)
    As the totally fit Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project, Chris Messina pretty much plays the ultimate boyfriend. But, long before that, he was the schlubby Ira in Jennifer Westfeldt’s little seen indie, which starts with the impulsive (very impulsive) marriage of the two leads.

    Available: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes

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    Music and Lyrics (2007)
    Again, not a top tier Hugh Grant romantic comedy, but yet another one that will suck you in — if for no other reason than the absurdly catchy song it features: “Pop! Goes My Heart!”

    Available: Amazon, iTunes