For every rom-com there’s a season. Annie Hall and When Harry Met Sally are perfect-for-fall flicks. We expect our fill of Love Actually and The Holiday when the snow starts to fall. And when the weather warms up, we can’t help but gravitate toward the summer-friendly romantic comedies.
Here are 20 picks for best summer rom-coms, in no particular order. What are yours?
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Roman Holiday
It’s the movie that inspired countless royalty-in-disguise copycats. The magical combination of Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and a scooter ride through the streets of Rome makes for an almost-perfect film. After watching this classic, you’re likely to tie a scarf around your neck and go for a bike ride — or buy the first ticket to Italy.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Something’s Gotta Give
Escape to that perfect Hamptons beach house with this Nancy Meyers’ opposites-attract rom-com starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. This love-after-50 flick is a smart, refreshing break from the rom-coms for the 20-something crowd.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Under the Tuscan Sun
Based on the novel of the same name, Under the Tuscan Sun follows a divorced writer to Tuscany where she finds that rom-com-essential new lease on life — and, inevitably, new love. The film’s standout star? The dilapidated-yet-charming Tuscan villa Diane Lane’s character, Frances, calls her own.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
This might not be the rom-com to watch with your kids — or your parents — but this Jason Segal flick is charming enough to excuse any crude — or nude — moments. Hilarity ensues when a music composer (Segal) heads to Hawaii to soothe his broken heart, only to run into his ex. It should be noted that this is the only film on the list to feature a Dracula-based puppet rock opera.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: The Princess Bride
Nothing says summer like pirates, outlaws and Rodents of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S.). This cult-classic romantic comedy adventure film is 100 percent fun, complete with an against-all-odds love story that will have you laughing out loud as you swoon. Note: All bedtime stories should be narrated by Peter Falk and Fred Savage.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: My Best Friend’s Wedding
‘Tis the season for weddings. This 1997 gem showcases Julia Roberts in all her American-sweetheart glory as she attempts to sabotage her best friend Michael’s wedding in the name of love. Warning: after viewing this film, the song “I Say a Little Prayer (For You)” will be stuck in your head for the remainder of the season.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: The Wedding Planner
Speaking of wedding season, The Wedding Planner is the ultimate flick in summery nuptial eye candy. (Hello, Napa Valley.) Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lopez charm in this lighthearted film about an unlucky-in-love wedding planner and her new clients.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Mamma Mia!
It’s the highest grossing musical film of all time. With a huge all-star cast — Meryl Streep can dance! — lip-synch-worthy ABBA tunes, and plenty of gorgeous Greek-island sunshine, this film just feels like summer. Bonus: Colin Firth sings.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen’s classic novel comes to life in this 1995 film, thanks to Emma Thompson’s Oscar-winning screenplay. Summer in the English countryside (circa the early 1800s) has never been lovelier — and neither has Hugh Grant.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Wedding Crashers
This is another one of those date-friendly — but kid-unfriendly — flicks with enough gags to keep the romance from feeling sappy. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn costar in a film about men with ulterior motives accidentally finding true love.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: (500) Days of Summer
The “Summer” in the title doesn’t refer to the season, but it’s perfect for warm-weather viewing all the same. This quirky Annie Hall-inspired film is as delightful as it is heartbreaking — the life and death of a 500-day relationship told in non-chronological order. Afternoons in the park, rooftop parties, indie playlists and been-there IKEA dates make for a delightful look at young love.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Pretty Woman
This rom-com is a straight-up fairy tale — if Cinderella were a prostitute. Ignore the sugarcoated look at ladies of the night, and enjoy the sweet chemistry between a young Julia Roberts and an in-his-prime Richard Gere. Pretty Woman’s summer is a luxurious one, filled with spending sprees, polo matches, bubble baths and a happily ever. It’s just too bad about that “paying for sex” thing.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Amélie
Audrey Tatou stars in this whimsical French film. The story begins on August 31st, 1997, the day Princess Diana died, and follows young Parisian Amélie on her quest to bring happiness to others. You’ll want to move to Paris by the time the end credits roll.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Woody Allen’s films are usually love letters to New York. In this award-winning film, he pays beautiful tribute to Barcelona in the summer. The fact that Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz wed in real life after the film’s production makes their banter as exes even more entertaining in this bittersweet film.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The sleeper hit of 2002 still holds up 10 years later. The most successful rom-com in box-office history, My Big Fat Greek Wedding captures family life in a way that resonates with anyone with a relative. For those planning a wedding this summer, Nia Vardalos’ hilarious screenplay will reassure you that your family might be crazy, but it can’t be worse than hers. Bonus: You’ll never look at Windex the same way again.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: The Proposal
The Proposal is Sandra Bullock at her most charming, Ryan Reynolds at his most handsome, and summer in Alaska at its most idyllic — a feat likely achieved by filming in Massachusetts and Rhode Island instead. This hate-turns-to-love tale is a familiar one, yet it’s just so fun to watch that it’s easy to forgive the tired premise. Betty White helps up the awesome factor.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: The Graduate
This famous comedy-drama chronicles protagonist Benjamin Braddock’s first summer post-graduation and the affair that defined it. It’s a romantic comedy with twisted romance, black comedy, and an iconic performance from Dustin Hoffman. Watch when craving a little more cynicism than the usual rom-com fare.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Shakespeare in Love
Sick of summer 2012? This enchanting hit of 1998 opens on summer 1593. This delightful, mostly inaccurate tale of unlucky-in-love Shakespeare and the muse he falls for is escapism at its best. There’s also something slightly reassuring seeing the bard unsuccessful with women.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: The Philadelphia Story
Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. This quick-talking trio still rivals today’s biggest and brightest stars in wit and charm. The Philadelphia Story is a considered a “comedy of remarriage,” the only one of its kind on this list. Fun fact: Hepburn was especially proud of the fact that she did her own dive in the famous swimming-pool scene.
Best Summer Rom-Coms: Splash
Tom Hanks falls in love with a mermaid. Enough said.
What’s your favorite romantic comedy of the season — on or off of this list?
Image Courtesy: Columbia Pictures