Love is a many splendored thing, full of joy, silliness, and slapstick. Or at least that’s true of romantic comedies, in which lovers might begin as side-eying friends, business rivals, or strangers destined to swoon. Yet there’s much more to this genre mash-up than simply jokes and love. You might find jubilant musical numbers, kooky characters, bouncy banter, luxurious settings, and even a madcap murderer!
Whatever you’re seeking from a rom-com, we’ve got you covered with a top-tier selection plucked from quirky to cute to cackle-inducing takes on happily ever after. And there’s no need to swipe right! Just hit play.
Here are the 10 best rom-coms now streaming on Max.
1. A Life Less Ordinary
Credit: Darren Michaels/Polygram/Kobal/Shutterstock
Director Danny Boyle might be best known for more serious fare, like his iconic adaption of Trainspotting, his genre-shifting zombie horror 28 Days Later, or his Oscar-winning coming-of-age tale Slumdog Millionaire. But one undersung movie from his oeuvre is this wild romantic comedy, which features a pair of avenging angels (played by the hilarious Holly Hunter and the dapper Delroy Lindo), a surprise song-and-dance number, and kidnapping as meet-cute, not to mention ’90s-era Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz as a hot and bothered couple on the run. He was a poor boy pushed to the edge; she was the heiress he hijacked in a half-cocked protest against his cruel boss (Ian Holm). But this isn’t a case of Stockholm syndrome, as they are very soon partners in crime, pulling off clever schemes, car chases, and a bank robbery — all on a path to true love. On top of some light gunplay and bonkers plot twists, A Life Less Ordinary also boasts a scorching soundtrack and Stanley Tucci as the hottest dentist to ever snarl on the silver screen. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to watch: A Life Less Ordinary is now streaming on Max.
2. Sliding Doors
If you can handle a dash of drama in your rom-com, you’ll love writer/director Peter Howitt’s 1998 head-spinner. Offering two tales of love for one subway ticket, Sliding Doors follows Londoner Helen Quilley (Gwyneth Paltrow) on a splintered story of what happens to her if she catches her train or misses it. In one scenario, she catches her philandering boyfriend (John Lynch) in bed with another woman (a deliciously devilish Jeanne Tripplehorn). In the other, she arrives too late to expose his infidelity, so their relationship rumbles along while her other persona pursues passion with a charming stranger (John Hannah). Peppered with whimsy, warmth, and some shocking turns, this one will have you gasping, but leave you grinning. — K.P
How to watch: Sliding Doors is now streaming on Max.
3. Shiva Baby
Worlds collide in this 2020 cringe comedy that’s been widely hailed by critics. When a Jewish college student (Rachel Sennott) dutifully attends a shiva alongside her parents, she’s prepared to field questions about her unimpressive job prospects and lack of a boyfriend. However, she’s not ready for her secret sugar daddy (Danny Deferrari) to show up, much less with his beautiful blonde wife (Dianna Agron) and their rosy-cheeked baby.
Making matters even more fraught, her former flame is slinging her serious side-eye. Something has got to give. In her remarkable debut feature, writer/director Emma Seligman, who went on to make Bottoms, creates laughs and suspense with an electrifying tapestry of observational humor, social awkwardness, jolting humiliation, and sexual tension. You’ve heard of feel-good comedies? Well, this is a feel-anxious-as-hell comedy, dragging us through each embarrassment with our harried heroine. And yet, we can’t recommend the experience highly enough.* —K.P.
How to watch: Shiva Baby is now streaming on Max.
4. (500) Days of Summer
Sometime in the 2000s, romantic comedies stopped trying to be funny and started trying to say something meaningful, none more overtly than (500) Days of Summer. This indie darling breaks from rom-com formula to tell a non-linear story of a relationship coming together and falling apart. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s sincerity is palpable and Zooey Deschanel, as the object of his affection, is a quirky girl so quirky she single-handedly ushered in a new era of messy bangs for millions of women everywhere. With unexpected touches of surrealism and a stellar supporting cast, (500) Days of Summer is a satisfying watch for a love story that hits you right in the gut.* — Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor
How to watch: (500) Days of Summer is now streaming on Max.
5. Singin’ in the Rain
A sing-along movie you’ll fall in love with.
Credit: Moviestore / Shutterstock
Easily one of the greatest movie musicals ever made, Singin’ in the Rain tells the story of Hollywood’s shift from silent films to talking pictures. Caught in this transition is leading man Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), whose leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) has the most grating voice imaginable. With the help of his best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and aspiring actor Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), he plans to make a movie musical. What follows are some of the best musical numbers in history, with show-stopping choreography accompanying catchy tunes. The title number is an absolute joy, as are “Good Morning” and the comedic masterpiece “Make ‘Em Laugh.” But it’s the 13-minute “Broadway Melody” sequence in all its Technicolor glory that solidifies Singin’ in the Rain as one of the all-time greats.* — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Singin’ in the Rain is now streaming on Max.
6. 13 Going on 30
If you haven’t watched 13 Going on 30 yet, what exactly are you doing? An absolute staple of the rom-com genre, the film follows Jenna Rink, an awkward 13-year-old girl whose only birthday wish is to be “30, flirty, and thriving.” Well, lucky for Jenna, her wish surprisingly comes true, and she wakes up the next day to find that she’s now her 30-year-old self (played by the incomparable Jennifer Garner) in the ripe year of 2004. From timeless quotes to swoon-worthy romance and some of the most memorable scenes to ever bless a rom-com, 13 Going on 30 is a must-see. Plus, it’ll give you the biggest crush on Mark Ruffalo ever. — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Freelance Contributor
How to watch: 13 Going on 30 is now streaming on Max.
7. Just Like Heaven
From Mark Waters, the director of Mean Girls. comes a boy-meets-girl comedy with a Ghost Dad premise. In this romantic comedy, Reese Witherspoon stars as an E.R. doctor too fixated on work to consider her personal life — that is, until a car crash seems to have ended it. As a disembodied spirit, she haunts her old apartment as the unwelcome roommate of its handsome and bewildered new resident (Mark Ruffalo). At first, the two are a couple at odds, but despite their differences — and life status — they fall in love. Deeply sweet and silly with a side of supernatural slapstick, Just Like Heaven is a delight. And yes, despite its seemingly grim premise, it has a happy ending. — K. P.
How to watch: Just Like Heaven is now streaming on Max.
8. So I Married An Axe Murderer
Want a rom-com that’s off the beaten path? Check out this oddball offering starring Mike Myers as a quirky poet who’s looking for love but may have found an on-the-lam serial killer. Sure, Harriet (Nancy Travis) seems like a dream, boasting a great sense of humor, a varied arena of interests, and an appreciation for sex despite his nosy Scottish parents. But spurred by paranoia and a fear of commitment, this black comedy’s romantic hero begins to fear her bodycount is more homicidal than horny.
A provocative play on the erotic thrillers of the ’90s, So I Married an Axe Murderer is a wacky wild watch for a cozy night in. — K.P.
How to watch: So I Married An Axe Murderer is now streaming on Max.
9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Break out the Windex and fall in love with this film.
Credit: Moviestore / Shutterstock
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is just as loud, energetic, and sweet as you remember.
The sleeper movie hit has 30-year-old Toula (Nia Vardalos) meeting the handsome Ian Miller (John Corbett) one day while waiting tables at her family’s Chicago restaurant. The pair reconnects after Toula begins working for a travel agency, and it’s not long before Ian puts a ring on her finger. Unfortunately for Toula, before the wedding can happen, Ian must get the approval of her giant, overbearing Greek family. — B.B.
How to watch: My Big Fat Greek Wedding is now streaming on Max.
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are without a doubt the best pairing ever. In Blended, the reigning king and queen of rom-coms return for another hilarious yet heartwarming story you’ll want to watch whenever you’re in the mood for love. The film follows Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Barrymore), two single parents who meet on a blind date that goes horribly wrong. But unlike the lucky rest of us who can just ghost and block, Jim and Lauren accidentally end up in the same African safari resort while on vacation with their children. Can you guess what happens next? — Y.H.
How to watch: Blended is now streaming on Max.
Asterisks (*) indicate the entry has been modified from a previous Mashable list.
UPDATE: Oct. 24, 2023, 4:38 p.m. EDT This post has been updated to reflect current streaming options.