The best romantic comedies on Amazon Prime

The best romantic comedies on Amazon Prime

Clockwise from top left: Priceless (Screengrab); 2 Days In Paris (Screengrab); Jeffrey (Screengrab); Something’s Gotta Give (Screengrab); The Big Sick (Amazon/Lionsgate); My Man Godfrey (Screengrab)
Clockwise from top left: Priceless (Screengrab); 2 Days In Paris (Screengrab); Jeffrey (Screengrab); Something’s Gotta Give (Screengrab); The Big Sick (Amazon/Lionsgate); My Man Godfrey (Screengrab)

Streaming libraries expand and contract. Algorithms are imperfect. Those damn thumbnail images are always changing. But you know what you can always rely on? The expert opinions and knowledgeable commentary of The A.V. Club. That’s why we’re scouring both the menus of the most popular services and our own archives to bring you these guides to the best viewing options, broken down by streamer, medium, and genre. Want to know why we’re so keen on a particular movie? Click the title at the top of each slide for some in-depth coverage from The A.V. Club’s past. And be sure to check back often, because we’ll be adding more recommendations as films come and go.

Some titles on this list also appear on our best movies on Amazon Prime list, but we decided romantic comedy films deserved their own spotlight since they are often not included on our year-end lists as much as other genres. The criteria for inclusion here is that (1) the film is classified by Amazon Prime as a rom-com (2) The A.V. Club has written critically about the movie; and (3) if it was a graded review, it received at least a “B.” Some newer (and much older) movies will be added over time as Netflix announces new additions to their library.

Looking for other movies to stream? Also check out our list of the best movies on Netflix, best movies on Disney+, and best movies on Hulu. And if you’re looking for a non-romantic laugh, check out our list of
the best comedy movies on Amazon.

This list was most recently updated on May 2, 2021.

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2 / 18

2 Days In Paris

2 Days In Paris

Adam Goldberg and Julie Deply
Adam Goldberg and Julie Deply
Screenshot: 2 Days In Paris

On paper, Julie Delpy’s 2 Days In Paris might well read like a light French farce, full of wacky characters and playful relationship banter that only turns serious toward the end of the film. The reality is much more raw. Playing a thirtysomething couple making a brief stopover in Paris after a vacation to Italy, Delpy (Before Sunrise) and co-star Adam Goldberg snipe at each other with casual venom, refusing to acknowledge or accede to each other’s calls for comfort or reassurance. When he says she’s special, she shoots back “Like in the retarded way, which is why I’m going out with you.” When she gives him more information than he wants about something, he says “It’s like dating public television.” They both seem a little neurotic and a little self-centered, but mostly, after two years together, they’ve apparently run out of reasons to be kind. And while their give-and-take is almost playful, both actors put an uncomfortable edge on it, fit to keep viewers squirming with alternate waves of sympathy and disgust. [Tasha Robinson]

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3 / 18

Annie Hall

Annie Hall

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen
Diane Keaton and Woody Allen
Screenshot: Annie Hall

Woody Allen’s mid-’70s masterpiece set the template for contemporary rom-coms with a staggering degree of new twists on old formulas. From the fourth-wall-breaking tactics of Allen’s nebbish protagonist to the master class in editing, the movie serves as the crowning jewel on his decade as America’s foremost cinematic humorist, and captures essential truths about urban romance at the same time. [Alex McCown]

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4 / 18

The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
Photo: Amazon/Lionsgate

Interesting anecdotes don’t always make for interesting movies; your story may kill at parties, but that doesn’t mean it belongs on the big screen. In The Big Sick, stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh on Silicon Valley, and Emily V. Gordon, the writer and former therapist he married, dramatize the rocky first year of their relationship, with Nanjiani starring as a lightly fictionalized version of himself. That may sound, in general synopsis, like a story better told over dinner and drinks; besides friends, family, and fans of the podcast the two co-host, who was clamoring for a feature-length glimpse into the couple’s courtship? But there was more than the usual dating-scene obstacles threatening their future together. Collaborating on the screenplay for The Big Sick, Nanjiani and Gordon have made a perceptive, winning romantic comedy from those obstacles, including the unforeseen emergency that provides the film its title. [A.A. Dowd]

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5 / 18

Charade

Charade

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn
Photo: Charade

Charade is so Hitchcockian that it’s often been confused for the genuine article. Some have called it the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made. In fact, it was directed by Stanley Donen, famous for movie musicals like Singin’ In The Rain and On The Town. He drafted two tremendous stars from Hollywood’s golden age—Audrey Hepburn and Hitchcock favorite Cary Grant—for his own sleek thriller of the kind the master specialized in. Fun and charming, Charade does have a lot in common with a lighter Hitchcock entertainment like To Catch A Thief: impossibly good-looking leads, glamorous setting, runway-worthy wardrobe (designed by Givenchy), jazzy score (by Henry Mancini). It also uses the Hitchcock trope of the innocent person who finds themselves caught in a weblike conspiracy (which Grant had recently run through in 1959’s North By Northwest). Hepburn is the impossibly chic Regina Lampert, who meets and flirts with Alexander Dyle (Grant) at a ski resort while she ponders divorcing her husband, Charles. When Regina returns to Paris, though, she finds that Charles has been murdered, and everything in their apartment is gone. Her own life is in danger, too, as a cast of thugs, each more unsavory than the next, demands the 250,000 francs that Charles apparently squirreled away. But she has no idea where the money could be. Fortunately, Regina has help in Alex, who shows up in Paris to help her navigate this turbulent chain of events. But soon, we see him meet with a series of heavies (James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass). Whose side is he really on? Because he’s played by Cary Grant, we all know the answer, even as the character continues to shed identities and offer new fake names. [Gwen Inhat]

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6 / 18

Coming To America

Coming To America

Eddie Murphy in Coming To America
Eddie Murphy in Coming To America
Image: Buyenlarge (Getty Images)

Coming To America is disarmingly sweet fish-out-of-water comedy in which Murphy’s good-natured African prince toils as a janitor at a fast-food restaurant in Queens while wooing the pretty daughter of owner John Amos. Eddie Murphy and sidekick Arsenio Hall—whose scene-stealing performance here seemed to promise a dazzling film career that never materialized—famously donned Rick Baker’s makeup to play multiple characters, but unlike in Norbit, the effect is sweet and affectionate rather than grotesque and scatological. Murphy would soon exhaust the comic possibilities inherent in donning layers of latex to become a one-man lowbrow vaudeville extravaganza, but his shtick still felt fresh here, probably because there’s an awful lot of heart hiding under all the prosthetics. [Nathan Rabin]

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7 / 18

Friends With Kids

Friends With Kids

Illustration for article titled The best romantic comedies on Amazon Prime
Screenshot: Friends With Kids

While it’s true that most romantic comedies merely make minor tweaks to a rusted-out formula, it’s also true that many critics approach rom-coms with a sense of eye-rolling obligation, while solidly unspectacular movies like Lockout get praised to the skies. There’s formula in Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut, but feeling as well. And anyone who thinks it’s far-fetched to see two friends of opposite gender agreeing to raise a child while they continue to date other people hasn’t touched base with single urbanites in their late 30s recently. (It’s absurd, but only by about 10 percent.) If nothing else, the film deserves endless praise for its bombshell kicker, a final line that blasts through the coy innuendo at the heart of most screen romances. [Sam Adams]

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8 / 18

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear
Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear
Screenshot: Ghost Town

It takes an awful lot of effort for a contemporary comedy to win an audience back after opening with yet another “Holy crap, that guy just got hit by a bus!” scene, but Ghost Town perseveres, and eventually emerges as a likeable time-waster, albeit more sweet than funny. The bus-victim in Ghost Town’s opening scene is Greg Kinnear, a stock “asshole New York businessman” who’s working on buying a love-nest for his mistress when the city’s mass-transit system gets the better of him. Now reduced to quietly haunting ex-wife Téa Leoni, Kinnear sees a ray of hope when he meets a living man who can talk to the dead, and potentially help Kinnear sort out his unfinished business on earth. The problem? The ghost-talker is irascible dentist Ricky Gervais, who wants nothing to do with the legion of spirits who’ve been hassling him ever since a near-death experience gave him the gift. [Noel Murray]

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9 / 18

His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday

Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant
Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant
Screenshot: His Girl Friday

Even if you’ve never seen His Girl Friday, you’re almost certainly familiar with its style. Along with The Front Page (its source material), His Girl Friday created the image of journalists as fast-talking wheeler-dealers willing to do anything for the next big scoop—an archetype that’s been mocked by everyone from Zooey Deschanel on Saturday Night Live to Bojack Horseman. Aaron Sorkin and Amy Sherman-Palladino have spent their entire careers trying to recapture His Girl Friday’s magnetic mile-a-minute magic. And Rosalind Russell’s Hildy Johnson remains one of classic Hollywood’s most iconic no-nonsense dames. Russell owns the screen from the moment Hildy confidently strides through The Morning Post newsroom, warmly greeting old colleagues and wearing the hell out of a striped dress and matching Seussian hat. The film’s title may reference the “man Friday” valet character from Robinson Crusoe, but it’s clear that Hildy is no one’s servant. She barges into the office of ex-editor and ex-husband Walter Burns (Cary Grant) to inform him that not only is she leaving the Post, she’s retiring from journalism all together in order to settle down into a nice, quiet domestic life with her new mild-mannered fiancé, Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy, one of cinema’s first and best “Baxters”). Walter momentarily panics before coming up with a plan: He’ll remind Hildy that she’s got ink in her veins by getting her to cover the upcoming execution of Earl Williams (John Qualen). [Caroline Siede]

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10 / 18

Jeffrey

Jeffrey

Michael T. Weiss and Steven Weber in Jeffrey
Michael T. Weiss and Steven Weber in Jeffrey
Photo: Orion (Getty Images)

1995 marked a turning point in the AIDS epidemic in the United States. It was the year the FDA approved an antiretroviral treatment that would soon bring about a massive decline in AIDS-related deaths and illnesses. Yet 1995 was also the year in which AIDS-related deaths—then the leading cause of death among all Americans ages 25 to 44—reached their peak. Roughly 50,000 Americans died of AIDS complications in 1995. It was against that backdrop that the gay romantic comedy Jeffrey debuted. The experimental indie comedy is a cinematic tribute to the heart, humor, sadness, romance, and, most importantly, resilience of gay men living in New York City on the heels of a decade and a half of crisis. As one character sums it up towards the end of the film: “Just think of AIDS as the guest that won’t leave. The one we all hate. But you have to remember: Hey! It’s still our party.” [Caroline Siede]

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11 / 18

The Longest Week

The Longest Week

Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup
Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup
Screenshot: The Longest Week

Peter Glanz’s debut feature, The Longest Week, is clearly influenced by the works of Wes Anderson, Whit Stillman, Woody Allen. Though, as aggressively derivative though The Longest Week is, it’s clearly the work not of a lazy thief, but of a raw talent who’s still struggling to find his own voice. In the meantime, his impressions are pretty darn impressive. As the narrator (Larry Pine) solemnly explains, Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman) is a middle-aged wastrel who’s lived a frivolous life at the expense of his rich but perpetually absent parents. When they suddenly cut Conrad off during a messy separation (abroad), he’s forced to move in with his best friend, Dylan (Billy Crudup), a fellow member of what Stillman’s Metropolitan gang called the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie. This arrangement would probably have worked out fine, if not for the fact that both men have designs upon Beatrice (Olivia Wilde), who’s ostensibly dating Dylan but recently gave Conrad her phone number when they met by chance on the subway. What makes The Longest Week distinctive is its sardonically whimsical tone, which is influenced as much by European cinema in general as it is by the other filmmakers mentioned above. (One could also mention Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, which has a similar nouvelle vague feel.) Glanz is very much aware that he’s going to take some heat on this front: Near the end of the movie, a writer is asked, “How do you respond to the criticism that your novel is inherently derivative of the works of Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton?” He politely replies, “Thank you.” Hard to argue with that. [Mike D’Angelo]

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12 / 18

My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey

Carole Lombard and William Powell
Carole Lombard and William Powell
Screenshot: My Man Godfrey

One of the first and still among the best of the ‘30s screwball comedies, My Man Godfrey serves up absurdist romance and light social commentary in a fizzy mix that benefits from director Gregory La Cava’s willingness to indulge improvisation, a trait he acquired from friend and frequent collaborator W.C. Fields. William Powell stars as a willful vagrant who gains employment when dizzy New York socialite Carole Lombard finds him at a riverside trash pile and offers him a job as her family’s butler. A shave and shower later, Powell is back to playing the suave gentleman he exemplified throughout his career, but with a key note of humility; meanwhile, Lombard preens, pouts, and plots to win her man’s heart and prevent him from being browbeaten by her mean-spirited sister (Gail Patrick). My Man Godfrey is largely assembled from asides and bits of throwaway business, the most amusing coming from Mischa Auer as an Italian freeloader who loafs around the family mansion, eating and feigning a faint whenever the subject turns to money. The film as a whole dances around the issue of money, as well, implying merely that it’s easy to get and easy to lose. La Cava is more interested in the idea of responsibility, which he explores by applying the concept of “the forgotten man”—a Depression-era euphemism for the down-and-out, particularly those who fought in WWI—to the servants, and even to the casual acquaintances that self-absorbed swells take for granted. [Noel Murray]

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13 / 18

The Overnight

The Overnight

Taylor Schilling
Taylor Schilling
Screenshot: The Overnight

New to Los Angeles, where they don’t know a single soul, young parents Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are eager to make friends. So when they’re approached at the park by a fellow parent, the politely bohemian Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), the two accept without hesitation his friendly offer to have them over for dinner, where they can get to know each other while their sons enjoy an arranged playdate. Best case scenario, Emily figures, is that they expand their social circle. Worse case, they’re bored and go home early. There are, of course, multiple shapes an evening with strangers can take, and The Overnight, a sharp comedic export of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, counts on its audience to recognize famous last words when it hears them. The pleasure of the movie lies in the way it both rewards and subverts expectations, delivering on the risqué possibilities of its premise while also coming up with something smarter and a little deeper than a log line might suggest. [A.A. Dowd]

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14 / 18

Priceless

Priceless

Gad Elmaleh and Audrey-Tautou
Gad Elmaleh and Audrey-Tautou
Screenshot: Priceless

There’s no froth like French froth. And few French-froth-purveyors are as adept as Pierre Salvadori, who knows exactly how to make romantic complications and class conflict as pleasantly diverting as a day at the beach—and, for better or worse, as placid. In Salvadori’s Priceless, Audrey Tautou plays a skilled gold-digger in the Holly Golightly mold who mistakes resort-hotel employee Gad Elmaleh for a swell. They share a night of passion, and when Tautou returns a year later, they share another night. But the second time around, Tautou’s well-heeled fiancé finds her out, then kicks her out. She races back to Elmaleh, who’s so smitten that he’s willing to tap into his savings and investments in order to give Tautou the kind of life she craves. It takes less than 24 hours for her to bankrupt him. That’s when Salvadori and his co-writer Benoît Graffin concoct a smart twist. Broke and in debt in Nice, Elmaleh wins the sympathy of rich widow Marie-Christine Adam, who makes him her own “kept man.” So when Tautou and Elmaleh next meet in Monte Carlo, they compare notes about how to be a good gigolo. No one could be as absurdly servile as Elmaleh, though it’s still funny and a little poignant how quickly he adjusts to being a high-end prostitute. (“I’m so used to saying yes that I don’t dare say no,” he explains.) But the real memorable figure in the story is Tautou, who at the beginning of Priceless is so confident in her trade that she can expertly opine on how much everything costs and how much she deserves, yet by the end of the film, realizes that after years of living off men, she hasn’t really held onto anything of worth. [Noel Murray]

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15 / 18

Something’s Gotta Give

Something’s Gotta Give

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
Screenshot: Something’s Gotta Give

In Something’s Gotta Give, Jack Nicholson plays a man who’s worlds apart from Warren Schmidt, but who comes to wear Schmidt’s knowledge for all the world to see. That adds a touch of gravity to Nancy Meyers’ pleasantly but deceptively lightweight film, a romantic comedy that takes a rare tack by leaving its characters different from how it finds them. Nicholson begins the film as a man happy to keep reminders of aging at arm’s length: He’s driving to a romantic Hamptons weekend with girlfriend Amanda Peet, the latest in his string of nubile twentysomethings. But their getaway is interrupted by the arrival of Peet’s playwright mother, Diane Keaton, then by a mild heart attack that leaves him recuperating in the latter’s beach house. The setup is about as obvious as they come, but Meyers steers away from romantic-comedy clichés until she has no other choice. But mostly, it’s just a pleasure to watch Keaton and Nicholson learning new steps in an old dance, stumbling to grab at happiness before it’s too late. [Keith Phipps]

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16 / 18

The Terminal

The Terminal

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Screenshot: The Terminal

Scripted by Andrew Niccol, Sacha Gervasi, and Jeff Nathanson, The Terminal draws its inspiration from the true story of Iranian dissident Merhan Nasseri, who has been living in Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport since 1988 thanks, at least at first, to a series of political snafus. The film has much softer politics in mind, as it uses JFK as a stage to play out the American immigrant experience in miniature. At first confused, threatened, and hungry—think E.T. in out-of-fashion Eastern European clothing—Tom Hanks becomes resourceful in order to survive, making friends with those who can help him and plugging into the airport economy by returning baggage carts for a quarter a pop. Director Steven Spielberg gives the bulk of the movie over to this upward climb, and even fits love into the picture through Hanks’ makeshift courtship of Catherine Zeta-Jones, a stewardess still in thrall to her latest affair with a married man. Told “America is closed” when he first tries to make his way out of the airport, and continually encouraged to move on and become someone else’s problem by status-quo-minded customs chief Stanley Tucci, Hanks instead finds a little America inside, complete with the opportunity to pursue happiness, though there’s no guarantee that he’ll find it. [Keith Phipps]

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17 / 18

To Catch A Thief

To Catch A Thief

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
Screenshot: To Catch A Thief

In Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Cary Grant plays a former hero of the French resistance who can’t quite convince a skeptical world that he’s mended his ways and abandoned his glamorous old existence as a diamond thief for a life of simple, legal pleasures. Grant’s criminal history works against him in that respect, but it’s also quite possible that the film’s characters would rather inhabit a world in which Cary Grant is a debonair international jewel thief than one in which he’s a mere retiree content to while away lazy afternoons tending his garden. With the possible exception of “secret agent,” “continental master thief” seems like the only job worthy of Grant. As befits a movie with a protagonist nicknamed “The Cat,” Thief proceeds with feline grace, a blissful light-footedness that looks effortless enough, but could only have been accomplished by a master operating at peak form. If nothing else, Thief is a lesson in charisma courtesy of Grant and Grace Kelly, reluctant lovebirds who find love in larceny and larceny in love. [Nathan Rabin]

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18 / 18