Top 10 Most Original Rom-Coms

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Top 10 Most Original Rom-Coms

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: John Macanas
Throwing formulas out the window, these rom-coms didn't follow cliches. Our countdown includes "Paper Heart," "The Big Sick," "Ruby Sparks," and more!
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Top 10 Rom-Coms That Didn't Follow Cliches


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Rom-Coms That Didn’t Follow Cliches.

For this list, we’ll be looking at romantic comedy films that featured more than just epic meet- cutes, makeovers, and kissing in the rain, and instead provided fresh takes on the beloved genre.

What’s your favorite original rom-com? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “The Truth About Cats & Dogs” (1996)


“Pretty Woman,” “Four Weddings And Funeral,” and “She’s All That”: the 90s were arguably the golden age of rom-com movies. The decade was also filled with rom-com classics and cliches. “The Truth About Cats & Dogs” stood out amongst these though: it gave the insecure friend a shot at love and broke the mold of what a romantic heroine should look like. Tall or blonde? Or short and dark-haired? “The Truth About Cats & Dogs” is a rom-com about how looks shouldn’t matter, and that we should just be ourselves in life and in love. It does have some of the regular rom-com cliches, but it provides great twists around accidental coming togethers, unforeseen connections, and flawed expectations.

#9: “What If?” [aka “The F Word”] (2013)


Also known as “The F Word,” this Canadian flick gave viewers a break from the typical rom-com formula. The romantic leads are refreshingly average when compared to other typical Hollywood rom-com protagonists and don’t look like they live at a gym. Daniel Radcliffe plays med-school dropout Wallace, who hasn’t been very successful when it comes to relationships, but then he meets Chantry, played by Zoe Kazan. The two have amazing chemistry, but the catch is, Chantry lives with her boyfriend. Yes, this so far sounds like a rom-com cliche. But “What If?” is a fresh and quirky reminder that turning friendships into something more gets complicated. It also manages to make gifting loaves of bread to each other romantic. Not easy to do.

#8: “Paper Heart” (2009)


This one’s a documentary idea turned into a rom-com movie. Now that’s thinking out of the box! “Paper Heart” is about a filmmaker who is making a documentary about love. It’s based on the rumoured relationship of Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. Though Yi has stated that they never dated in real life, her on-screen chemistry with Cera is sweet and eccentric. They have honest and heartfelt exchanges, with “Paper Heart” blurring the lines between movie and documentary. It certainly isn’t your typical rom-com, and is one for all the quirky lovers out there, as well as for those who enjoy hilarious interviews.

#7: “Palm Springs” (2020)


You can’t keep weddings and romantic comedies apart. “Palm Springs” is however not your regular rom-com wedding movie. Yes, it does have some rom-com cliches. But it’s actually a rom-com, drama, and sci-fi all blended into a fun and seamless ride. Andy Samberg, who plays Nyles, and Cristin Milioti who plays Sarah, are laugh out loud hilarious and have great chemistry. This is a rom-com that tackles existential themes without being overly dramatic. It also adds a dash of mystery to keep viewers on their toes. J.K Simmons and Meredith Hagner are equally hilarious in their supporting roles as Roy and Misty. It’s just an all-around fun summer movie.

#6: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)


Rom-com fans love it when a protagonist goes through obstacles to win their love interest. But how about when they have to go through obstacles in a geeky romantic action comedy? “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” is for the hyperactive game geek in us all. Micheal Cera, who plays Scott, is arguably the best lovable loser on screen. He engages in titanic battles with the vengeful exes of his love interest Ramona Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Funny and action-packed, it also has great visual effects that create a video game atmosphere in a manga-inspired fantasy world. Get up and fight for your love!

#5: “The Big Sick” (2017)


Semi-autobiographical rom-coms are becoming a thing in the 21st century. “The Big Sick” is loosely based on the real-life courtship between actor Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon. Not only is it hilarious and heartwarming, but it also deals with cultural differences and the issues involving a marriage that’s arranged versus one that isn’t. Nanjiani plays a fictionalized version of himself and Zoe Kazan plays a fictionalized version of his wife, Emily. Their on-screen chemistry is very much grounded in reality. Nanjiani also shares some great comedic scenes with Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, who play Emily’s parents. “The Big Sick” is a feel good rom-com with a lot of layers and humanity.

#4: “Ruby Sparks” (2012)


If you haven’t noticed, this is the third movie on this list that has Zoe Kazan in it. She certainly likes pushing the barriers of the rom-com genre. Kazan actually wrote “Ruby Sparks,” which is about a nervous writer who sees one of his own characters, Ruby Sparks, come to life. He struggles with coping with the idealized version of Ruby Sparks - played by Kazan - as she seeks to gain independence. Paul Dano, who is Kazan’s real-life partner, plays the anxiety-riddled Calvin. They certainly make their romance believable on screen as well. “Ruby Sparks'' breaks all the rom-com cliches and is really a movie about the creative process, insecurity, control, and the fragility of the male ego.

#3: “Enough Said” (2013)


Finding love after divorce and later on in life is a premise that rom-coms rarely explore. But “Enough Said”is a heartfelt and funny exploration about what love means at middle age and what it means to decide that some other divorced person is the one. If you’re into movies with funny casual conversations about life and unlikely pairings, then this one's for you. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva and James Gandolfini - yes, James Gandolfini of “The Sopranos”was in a rom-com - plays Albert, her love interest. “Enough Said” is a subtle rom-com with an enormous heart, and an amazing cast.

#2: “Amélie” (2001)


“Amelie” is not just a rom-com. It’s an enchanting and whimsical joy ride through the quirky and creative mind of its titular character. Following the life of a reserved woman who works at a Parisian cafe, “Amelie” sees the waitress deciding to change the lives of those around her for the better while struggling with her own isolation. Love eventually comes her way. but the romance in this movie is a byproduct of Amelie’s love for making other people happy. It’s truly a genre-busting movie and has become one of the go-to feel good flicks of this century. It stays away from many rom-com cliches and helps solidify Paris’s place as the city of love.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Timer” (2009)
A Romance About Our Culture's Obsession with Meeting Your Soulmate

“It’s Complicated” (2009)
A Rom-Com About the Complications of a Love Triangle When You’re Middle-Aged

“Little Manhattan” (2005)
A Fresh & Adorable Take on Experiencing Young Love for The First Time

#1: “About Time” (2013)


We all would love to have the ability to time travel and change the past so that we can have a better tomorrow - especially when it comes to love. “About Time” is a rom-com that explores just that: love and its relationship with time. Domhnall Gleeson's Tim Lake has the ability to travel back in time and make alterations. The catch is that this affects something else in the future. Through various trials and errors, he soon discovers that when it comes to love, it’s better to live every moment while it’s happening and to savor it. “About Time” is a unique and heartfelt take on a rom-com that teaches us that love is best enjoyed in the present time.
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