What is it about romcoms that we find so alluring? Could it be the predictability of the storylines or the safety if knowing a happy ending is right around the corner? Perhaps it’s the good-looking actors who seem to live out our wildest romantic dreams on the regular.
The Guardian columnist Eva Wiseman wrote, “The glory of the romcom, whether littered with grand set pieces or the scratching reality of pain and boredom, is that it gives strangers’ voices to our deepest desire, which is to know and be known, and then, to make that thirst funny,” and we can’t help but agree.
Whether you love them or love to hate them, the genre of romantic comedies serves a purpose in the world of film, and they’re certainly here to stay. There were so many brilliant romantic comedies released in 2020, making it difficult to pick which one to watch first. We’ve made a list of the very best romcoms of 2020 to make this task a little easier for you. Keep reading to find out which films made our list of top picks.
2020 romcom Palm Springs is sort of a modern-day Groundhog Day
Andy Samberg of Brooklyn Nine-Nine fame brings the house down in the 2020 romcom Palm Springs. Described by The New Daily as “a millennial update on Groundhog Day,” the film depicts Samberg’s character, Nyles, stuck in a never-ending time loop, in which he relives the Palm Springs wedding of his unfaithful girlfriend’s two friends, day after day.
As expected, hilarity ensues. Free-spirited Niles makes the most of the situation and spends his days guzzling beers while donned in a Hawaiian shirt. His energy attracts the attention of Sarah, “the older sister of the bride and black sheep of the family.” They wind up at the site of a time tunnel, and then end up trapped in the same day together. They eventually give up on trying to escape and decide to enjoy the experience instead, which leads to a great many pranks and hilarious moments between the pair. We won’t spoil the ending, but we will tell you to keep an eye on the sparks that fly between these two from the get-go.
Emma's 2020 remake might be the best yet
If you think nothing can top the 1996 adaptation of Emma, in which Gwyneth Paltrow played the lead, we encourage you to watch the 2020 version pronto, because it just might change your mind.
If Anya Taylor-Joy seems familiar to you, that’s because you’ve likely seen her on Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. Her version of Emma is maybe a little less likable than previous versions of the character, but it might be stronger too. “There’s a touch of Liza Minnelli in the juxtaposition of Taylor-Joy’s angular face and window-to-the-soul eyes, something that enables her to telegraph contradictory emotions with apparent ease — a silent-movie quality perfectly suited to this role,” The Guardian reported.
The storyline remains much the same as in the beloved classic — spoiled young Emma, with nothing of significance to do with her time, spends her days manipulating those around her to benefit her matchmaking schemes, all the while failing to see what’s right under her nose. The film’s costumes and set design are both impressive, adding to this 2020 romcom’s entertainment factor.
A man unlucky in love sues a dating app in the Netflix romcom Love, Guaranteed
What is it about cheesy romantic comedies that makes them so captivating? Though the storyline to this 2020 romcom is highly predictable, Love, Guaranteed remains both sweet and entertaining.
Here’s what happens, as reported by Marie Claire. Nick (played by Damon Wayans Jr., who you might recognize as Coach from New Girl) engages small law firm owner Susan (She’s All That’s Rachael Leigh Cook) to sue a dating app named Love Guaranteed. He claims that though the app guarantees love, he was unable to find it even after going on 986 dates. Though Susan is skeptical at first, she takes on the case, which leads to the pair spending quite a lot of time together, both at and outside of work. You can probably guess what happens next.
Love, Guaranteed keeps its audience entertained through its “unique side characters and a corporate villain,” yet encompasses everything we romcom fans love about the genre — a little romance, and sweet storyline and a feel-good ending.
Holidate is the holiday romcom we didn't know we needed
If you’re single, you likely understand the inconvenience of having to find a date with whom to share special holidays. If you found yourself nodding your head when reading this, you need to settle yourself down on your couch, turn on Netflix, and watch the 2020 romcom Holidate.
After a chance meeting after an awkward family Christmas dinner, Sloane (played by Emma Roberts) and dashing Australian Jackson (Luke Bracey) make an agreement to be each other’s no-strings-attached dates for New Years Eve. This ends in an unfortunate accident as the pair attempt the Crazy Stupid Love version of the classic Dirty Dancing scene — you know the one. This leads to an official agreement to be each other’s “holidates” for the rest of the year. As Variety reports, “Holidate won’t change your mind about the tread-worn challenges of romantic comedies, but its leads leverage their charms nicely.” The movie covers basically every holiday on the American social calendar, even a boozy Cinco de Mayo. Of course, the pair face a few dangerous mishaps and break a few rules on occasion, but we promise the ending is one you’ll want to see.
Love Wedding Repeat is a delightful comedy of errors
If a light-hearted romcom is what you’re craving right now, Love Wedding Repeat is likely what you need. Starring a few big names like Olivia Munn and Sam Claflin and directed by Death at a Funeral’s Dean Craig, the movie is reportedly based on the 2012 French film Plan de Table. According to Vox, the romcom “has the cadence, mishaps, meet-cutes, and quirky characters of dozens of rom-coms before it.”
Set in a wedding in Italy for the most part, the film centers around one very importable table full of wedding guests, and the way slight changes in seating arrangement might potentially affect the outcome of the wedding. The guests on the table play pretty important roles — Marc attends to profess his love for the bride, the groom’s ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend quarrel throughout, dull Sidney bores the crowd with mediocre stories about co-workers, and “maid of honor” Bryan seeks out a path for his big acting break. We won’t let on too much about the ending, but expect to be entertained!
Operation Christmas Drop was actually based on a true story
Feel-good holiday romcom Operation Christmas Drop is about Air Force Captain Andrew, congresswoman’s aide Erica, and their efforts to drop presents and essential supplies to a bunch of island dwellers around Christmastime. According to PopSugar, the movie’s storyline is fictional, but the premise is based on a real annual Air Force tradition that is actually named Operation Christmas Drop. Having started in 1952, Operation Christmas Drop now happens on more than 50 islands. Interestingly, a volunteer named Bruce Best who has been involved in the real life operation for over 40 years, went on to play himself in the movie.
Back to the movie — Erica originally arrives at the island with “a mission from the congresswoman: to make a case for base closure.” However, after spending time with the Air Force members, their helpers, and the families who benefit from the operation, she is overcome with Christmas spirit. She may just find love in the process too.
The main characters end up in Mexico in 2020 romcom Desperados
Netflix has a way of nailing the genre of romcoms, and Desperados can sure be added to its list of greats. The movie’s plot is actually quite hilarious. As reported by The Guardian, Wesley (Nasim Pedrad), who is in her late 30s, finds out her ex is tying the knot. This leads to her going on a pretty terrible date, after which she trips over and is caught by a very good-looking Jared. Though they click immediately, Jared goes AWOL after a while. At this point, she and her two BFFs drink way too much wine, come to the conclusion she is being ghosted, and send Jared a long, brutal email listing all of his flaws. Just after she sends the email, there’s a massive plot twist — Wesley learns that her new beau is actually in a coma in a hospital in Mexico.
At this point, the trio decided to do what any group of romcom gal pals would do in this instance — go to Mexico, track down Jared’s phone, and delete the email before he reads it. The journey they embark on to reach their final destination is absolutely hilarious.
The characters in The Half of It are so likable
Though it might be next to impossible for some of us to dislike a good romcom, their characters aren’t always completely likeable. This, however, is what sets The Half of It apart. According to Vulture, “its characters [are] so likable, that you can’t help but want to give the movie and everyone in it a big hug.”
Though the storyline isn’t particularly unique, it is incredibly charming. Straight-A student Ellie Chu runs a side gig writing essays (and whatever else is requested) for students in her grade. When football player Paul Munsky approaches her for help with a letter to the prettiest gal at school Aster Flores (who Ellie secretly has a crush on too), things get complicated in a big way. The Half of It is a high school romcom made for the 21st century, and it makes a pretty decent attempt at inclusivity. This paired with its super sweet storyline has helped firmly place it among the best romcoms of 2020.
2020 romcom The Wrong Missy was produced by Adam Sandler
Made by Adam Sander’s Happy Madison production house, The Wrong Missy follows a predictable trajectory for a Sandler project, as noted by NME: “Write a script about an unlikely relationship that’s put to the test; make sure that test occurs somewhere hot like Hawaii; and crucially, make sure you hire at least one of David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin James to star in it.” Despite this, it still manages to be both hilarious and entertaining.
The movie starts with Tim, who is “an unlucky-in-love, strait-laced businessman,” going on a blind date with the very colorful Missy. The date goes so badly that Tim exits via a bathroom window. Months later, he meets beautiful, graceful Melissa, for whom he begins to really fall. He texts her to invite her to accompany him on a company retreat, which she happily agrees to do. When Tim gets to the retreat, however, Missy shows up, at which point he realizes he texted the wrong Missy. Of course, hilarity ensues. Expect to enjoy some big belly laughs while watching this one.
The Lovebirds is just hilarious
The Lovebirds is no ordinary romcom. As noted by The Verge, it begins with the early dating life of Jibran and Leilani (played by Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae), but very quickly turns into a murder mystery with a whole lot of romantic comedy.
After showing viewers how the pair met, the film fast-forwards about four years to one night when the couple argues about how they would handle being on The Amazing Race, which lead to them splitting up while driving to a party. Sadly, they accidentally hit a pedestrian on the way. This is when things take a turn — as The Verge reports, they “get carjacked by a man posing as a cop who then runs over the same man multiple times to make sure he’s dead.” The rest of the movie follows the couple as they try to convince the cops they didn’t kill the pedestrian, and then try to find the guy who did. They learn about some pretty crazy conspiracies along the way and even end up at a cult meeting. All because they fought about how they would hypothetically fare on The Amazing Race.
Before it was a 2020 romcom, The Prom was a Broadway musical
Lovers of musicals, this one’s for you. Based on the Broadway musical, Ryan Murphy’s film version of The Prom features silver screen stars like “Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, and newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman,” as reported by Indie Wire.
The film follows Dee Dee and Barry Glickman, who star in a less-than-well-received musical about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. Once the horrendous reviews are published, the pair decide to boost their reputations by getting involved in charitable causes. Which cause do they choose, you ask? Well, the pair decides to join a few fellow actors in supporting high school senior Emma Nolan, who has been banned from escorting her girlfriend to the prom.
The industry veterans involved in this film put on a great show, that’s for sure. Streep brings the house down as the narcissistic Dee Dee, Kidman showcases some incredible jazz moves, and Washington is involved in what can only be described as a “spectacular show-stopping final number.”
To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You was worth the wait
We waited two years for the sequel to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, one of the best romcoms on Netflix you can watch right now and one of the best romcoms of the past decade, but it certainly was worth the wait. To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You was well timed. According to The Guardian, it dropped on Netflix right around Valentine’s Day 2020, just when we all felt the need to indulge in a good old-fashioned romcom.
Thankfully, most of the original cast members came back to reprise their roles in one way or another in the sequel. Lana Condor, of course, is back as Lara Jean, who is “now dealing with a second crush after having secured the boy of her dreams.” Cue a whole lot of teen angst, wistful stares, and dramatic scenes, making for one wholesome romantic comedy. If teen romance with a side of hilarity is your cup of tea, To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You is well worth watching.
The romcom Valley Girl is a remake of an '80s favorite
Referred to as a “kitschy cover version of the early-’80s teen movie romance” by Variety, the 2020 remake of Valley Girl is not the romcom you know and love. It’s now a musical drenched in ’80s nostalgia in the best way possible.
Its premise is very similar to that of the original: Jessica and Randy, who are from families who do not get along, meet by chance and fall in love — much like Romeo and Juliet. Jessica has her heart set on attending New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, while Randy is a musician in a punk band. This, of course, lends its way to fabulous costumes and musical numbers. La La Land’s Mandy Moore (not to be confused with This Is Us star Mandy Moore) choreographed the dance numbers in the film, so you just know they are top notch. Valley Girl isn’t just a 2020 romcom; it’s a visual and musical feast. Add it to your list of must-see movies pronto!
Things get complicated in The Kissing Booth 2
Those who loved The Kissing Booth, which was based on a 2012 YA novel by Beth Reekles, will be excited to learn that the sequel to the 2018 hit is now out. According to IMDb, The Kissing Booth 2‘s storyline revolves around how Ellie (played by Joey King), who is now a senior, juggles a long-distance relationship as well as the other stresses of the final year of high school, such as college applications.
Things get complicated when Ellie forms a bond with her good-looking new classmate Marco. To complicate things further, Elle’s college boyfriend, the dreamy, drop-dead-gorgeous Noah, grows close to a female friend at Harvard. As any teen would, Ellie becomes stressed about the situation, but she does her best to navigate the drama without crossing too many lines, all in order to figure out what she truly wants. Directed by Vince Marcello, who also led the original film, The Kissing Booth 2 is a 2020 romcom that really encapsulates the trials and tribulations of teen romances.
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