7 Underrated Rom-Coms to Stream for Valentine’s Day

We all love “Notting Hill” and “When Harry Met Sally,” but if you’re looking for something new, here are some romantic comedies you might have missed

A split image of stills from the films "Sleeping with Other People" and "Long Shot"
"Sleeping with Other People" and "Long Shot"

It’s never a bad time for a good rom-com. The mood-boosting genre has had to fight for respect at times — once ubiquitous, rom-coms were written off as passé “chick flicks” for a while. But romantic comedies had a comeback in recent years, in no small part thanks to success on streaming.

Even so, there haven’t been that many recent theatrically released films in the genre, even fewer that were studio supported, so there are plenty of great romantic comedies you might have missed. Not to worry, we’ve put together a curated list of some of the best underrated romantic comedies to watch on streaming right now. From old school hidden gems to slept-on indie darlings of the 2020s, here are seven great underrated rom-coms to stream this Valentine’s Day.

“It Could Happen to You” (1994)

(TriStar Pictures)

Where It’s Streaming: Netflix

“It Could Happen to You” possesses a loveliness and fairy tale quality we rarely allow ourselves in 2020s rom-coms. Sweeping gestures, characters with integrity, outright deplorable antagonists and a through-line of general goodwill; it’s a balm of a film. Nicolas Cage stars as a New York cop who splits his lottery jackpot with a down-on-her-luck waitress (Bridget Fonda) after a promise made in lieu of a tip. Cage and Fonda make for just about the kindest, most joyful on-screen sweeties you could ever hope to root for, while Rosie Perez and Stanley Tucci are deliciously despicable as their respective exes. If you’re looking for a pure, old-fashioned romantic comedy you might have missed, this 1990s gem is a feel-good winner.

“Palm Springs” (2020)

(Hulu)

Where It’s Streaming: Hulu

Widely acclaimed when it first debuted, then lost to the memory fog void of the early pandemic, “Palm Springs” is too good to be forgotten. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti star as a pair who meet at a Palm Springs wedding and strike up an instant connection – then they get trapped in a time loop together and “Palm Springs” shakes off the trappings of a straight-up rom-com and transforms into a more singular and strange, but still oh-so-romantic comedy. Samberg and Milioti have great chemistry, both as romantic leads and a comedic duo, and the film is blessed with a powder-keg performance from J.K. Simmons, who along with Andy Siara’s script, always keeps you guessing.

“What If” (2013)

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan share an umbrella i in the rain in "What If..."
(Entertainment One)

Where It’s Streaming: Paramount+ With Showtime and FuboTV

Odds are you’ve never heard of this 2013 rom-com starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis but it’s an absolute delight. “What If” takes a familiar trope – what if you became best friends with someone, only to then secretly harbor romantic feelings for them as they’re in a long-term relationship – and executes it with tremendous charm. Radcliffe is the lovestruck medical school dropout and Kazan plays his BFF, with “supportive friend” roles played by Driver and Davis and a terrific Rafe Spall as Kazan’s boyfriend. Set in Toronto, this one’s swoon-worthy, and Driver – fresh off “Girls” but before “Star Wars” – is hilarious.

“Long Shot” (2019)

long-shot-movie
(Lionsgate)

Where It’s Streaming: Netflix

Sweet, sexy, smart and laugh-out-loud funny, “Long Shot” is the total rom-com package. Seth Rogen stars as journalist Fred Flarsky, who sparks up an unexpected romance when he reunites with his first crush; his old babysitter, Charlotte (Charlize Theron), who also happens to be the Secretary of State. As the title and premise make clear, it’s an odd-couple romance, but Rogen and Theron’s chemistry reads with total authenticity. Rogen’s regular collaborator Jonathan Levine (“50/50,” “The Night Before”) directs, and Levine is a hell of a genre chameleon. Here, he leans in fully on the beloved trappings of romantic comedy. The result is one of the most mature, heartfelt and refreshingly optimistic romantic comedies of the 2010s.

“Sleeping With Other People” (2015)

Alison Brie smiles at Jason Sudeikis in "Sleeping With Other People"
(IFC Films)

Where It’s Streaming: Hulu, AMC+, Roku, Tubi, Kanopy and Pluto

“Sleeping With Other People” writer-director Leslye Headland described her approach to this 2015 rom-com as “like ‘When Harry Met Sally’ with assholes.” The film begins in 2002 with Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis as college students who lose their virginity to each other. They never strike up a relationship, but the film charts their yearslong friendship as they’re each in different relationships but maybe kinda-sorta are into one another – but will they ever admit it? This one has the R-rated raunch of “Bridesmaids” and a biting wit, with a supporting cast that includes Adam Scott, Jason Mantzoukas, Natasha Lyonne, Amanda Peet, Adam Brody and Billy Eichner.

“Dinner in America” (2020)

dinner-in-america
(Best & Final Releasing)

Where It’s Streaming: Hulu

Perhaps the most slept-on movie in this whole list due to a festival run that was largely waylaid by the lockdown era, “Dinner in America” is a rollicking Anarcho punk head-rush of romance. A punk rocker (Kyle Gallner) on the run from the law teams up with his band’s biggest fan (Emily Skeggs) and brings out her inner rebel – and innate talents. Funny and funky, “Dinner in America” is a real one-of-a-kind feel-good movie for your inner freak, utterly unafraid to find the tenderness in its eff-you duo, with a subdued and sensual songwriting sequence that will warm your heart.

“They Came Together” (2014)

they-came-together
(Lionsgate)

Where It’s Streaming: Peacock

If you’re looking for an anti-rom-com, or if you’re so sick of the rom-com formula you want something to break the mold, check out “They Came Together.” This absurdist comedy finds Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler riffing on the formulaic nature of romantic comedies by pushing everything to an 11. They both live in New York City, she owns a cute little candy shop, his girlfriend just cheated on him, and they end up wearing the same costume to a Halloween party: Benjamin Franklin. The film hails from David Wain and Michael Showalter, the filmmakers behind “Wet Hot American Summer” and “Wanderlust,” and carries with it the same delightful weirdness that makes those movies sing. Plus Rudd and Poehler are clearly having a blast sending up every rom-com trope in the book. This is for the real ones.

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