The romantic comedy is a more-than-familiar cinema genre with a long and prosperous history of delighting audiences. While people and places will inevitably vary from film to film, the building blocks of a rom-com often remain the same: Two people fall in love, whether they plan to or not. Around their budding romance, a world of comedy ensues. Maybe it’s a case of opposites attract. Maybe what begins as a rivalry evolves into something more endearing. Whatever the case, by the third act, love is heavy in the air, and the viewing audience is either laughing, crying, or checking their watch or phone to see when the runtime expires (we’re not all fans of the genre). If you’re a Hulu subscriber, the streaming platform is home to hundreds of noteworthy romantic comedies. To help you wade through the murky waters, we’ve put together this roundup of the best rom-coms on Hulu this month.
50 First Dates (2004)
Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is the island heartthrob of Oahu. A marine veterinarian by trade, the animal doctor spends his off time launching into fling after fling with the women that roll through his Hawaiian paradise. When Henry’s boat breaks down, he docks at the Hukilau Café, where he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore). The pair share a flirty exchange over breakfast, leading Lucy to request a second date. But when Henry returns the next morning, she no longer remembers him. It turns out Lucy has a certain kind of amnesia that forces her to relive the same day over and over, unable to process new memories. Henry is smitten, though, and will do whatever it takes to get close to Lucy, whether she remembers his goofy mug or not. An endearing rom-com with iconic Sandler slapstick woven throughout, 50 First Dates is on Hulu all month.
Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Stars: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider
Director: Peter Segal
Runtime: 96 minutes
Young Adult (2011)
Young Adult stars Charlize Theron as young adult fiction writer Mavis Gary. Fueled by resentment, alcohol, and an unfulfilling career, Mavis leaves Minneapolis to return to her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota. Her intention: To steal her old high school sweetheart, Buddy (Patrick Wilson), from his married life. Mavis and her narcissistic tendencies are in for a rough ride though when a former classmate named Matt (Patton Oswalt) begins to infiltrate Mavis’ selfish plans for a glory-days homecoming. Powered by a rich lead performance by Theron and a biting script by Diablo Cody, Young Adult is a lesser-remarked-upon Jason Reitman flick but a worthy one all the same.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson
Director: Jason Reitman
Runtime: 94 minutes
Palm Springs (2020)
It’s November 9th, and Nyles (Andy Samberg) is heading to the wedding of friends Tala and Abe — again and again and again. It turns out that after entering a strange vortex in a desert cave, Nyles is stuck in an unbreakable time loop. The situation becomes more complicated once Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the maid of honor and sister of the bride, enters the portal with him, thereby cursing herself to the same vacuum. Oh, and let’s not forget that Nyles is being hunted by a man named Roy (J.K. Simmons). Taking the rom-com genre by storm, Palm Springs dishes out violence and hearty humor in all the right doses. It’s one you don’t want to miss. And miss. And miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons
Director: Max Barbakow
Runtime: 90 minutes
What Men Want (2019)
A light adaptation of the early 2000s film What Women Want, What Men Want follows sports agent Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson). Frustrated after being passed over for a major promotion, Ali turns to a psychic named Sister (Erykah Badu). The mystic gives Ali a mysterious elixir that suddenly gives her the ability to hear what men are thinking. Hijinks and hardships ensue as Ali uses her newfound gift for the betterment of her own life. But when will her magical abilities go too far? Taraji P. Henson has unbelievable chops as Ali, leading an excellent cast of top-notch performers. While the film doesn’t take the rom-com to mighty new heights, it’s still a worthy watch for your weekend.
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Tracy Morgan, Aldis Hodge
Director: Adam Shankman
Runtime: 117 minutes
Date Night (2010)
When Phil and Claire Foster (Steve Carrell and Tina Fey) decide to spice up their mundane date-night routine, Phil chooses a hot and popular Manhattan restaurant for him and his spouse. The only issue is they didn’t call ahead, and there are no more tables. No worries. Phil, ignoring Claire’s protests, takes the table of a no-show couple known as the Tripplehorns. While dining, Phil and Claire are approached by Collins (Common) and Armstrong (Jimmi Simpson), two mob enforcers that believe the Fosters are the Tripplehorns and that they’ve stolen from their boss, Joe Miletto (Ray Liotta). What follows is an action odyssey, buoyed by two incredible comedic performances from Carrell and Fey.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Stars: Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg
Director: Shawn Levy
Runtime: 102 minutes
Pretty Woman (1990)
When Edward (Richard Gere), a corporate dismantler, is dumped by his girlfriend, the businessman takes off in his friend’s sports car and soon finds himself lost in the red-light district of the Hollywood Hills, and he can’t drive stick. There, he meets Vivian (Julia Roberts), a prostitute who knows her way around a manual transmission. So Edward hires Vivian for the evening — not for what you think, but to get him back to his hotel. When the duo arrives, Edward offers Vivian $3,000 to play the role of his girlfriend for six days. She agrees, launching the pair into a fast friendship-turned-romance that neither party was exactly prepared for. A modern Cinderella story, Pretty Woman is often recognized as a rom-com classic, netting Julia Roberts an Oscar nomination for her performance and delivering big at the box office.
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Stars: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy
Director: Garry Marshall
Runtime: 125 minutes
Miles (Paul Giamatti) is a down-on-his-luck English teacher with dreams of being a published author. Hoping to show his good friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) a fun, final buddy outing before he gets married, Miles leads the duo on a journey into the Santa Ynez wine country for what’s supposed to be a relaxing getaway. But when Jack makes it his priority to get laid before the ring hits his finger, a frustrated Miles must contend with his friend’s more-than-flirtatious ideology while vetting a new love of his own — a woman named Maya (Virginia Madsen). Sharply written and featuring an amazing ensemble of performers, Sideways is a rom-com-meets-road-film mashup that hits all the beats of both genres.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh
Director: Alexander Payne
Runtime: 127 minutes
The Terminal (2004)
It hasn’t been the greatest day for Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks). The European tourist arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, only to be confined to the terminal. It turns out that Viktor’s home country of Krakozhia has entered into civil war. With his nation divided, Viktor is prohibited by U.S. Customs from entering the United States or returning home, stranding the traveler at JFK. Taking up residence at a gate, Viktor begins making friends with airline employees and other travelers, chief among them being Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a flight attendant. Viktor quickly falls for Amelia, but Dixon (Stanley Tucci), the acting airport customs director, is hellbent on getting Viktor out of the terminal. Steven Spielberg’s post-9/11 rom-com is delightful, funny, and an excellent vehicle for the undeniable talent that is Tom Hanks.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Stars: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci
Director: Steven Spielberg
Runtime: 128 minutes
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Based on Miklós László’s 1937 play, Parfumerie, You’ve Got Mail stars Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly, a struggling mom and pop bookstore owner in an unsatisfying relationship with a newspaper reporter (Greg Kinnear). Kathleen’s major business competition is Fox Books, a chain of giant bookstores run by one Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). When a new Fox Books opens across the street from Kathleen’s shop, Kathleen chooses to discard her workplace woes by way of a nightly AOL chat with a mystery lover. Her fling is with NY152 — the screen name of Joe Fox. Neither bookstore operator knows they’re digitally wooing the other. You’ve Got Mail is a sweet rom-com with a majestic final shot and a soundtrack that’ll nestle its way into your mind and heart.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey
Director: Nora Ephron
Runtime: 119 minutes
Friends with Kids (2011)
Best friends Julie and Jason (Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott) are entering their late 30s with successful careers but no children. Their other friends are all married with kids. As Julie and Jason watch these romances unfold, the close pals decide to have a child together, but without any kind of romantic connection. Their idea is to get parenting out of the way, with the hope that they’ll find true love while raising their child — a left-field idea that comes under question from friends and familiars, especially when Julie and Jason begin developing feelings for each other. Westfeldt and Scott are the mighty anchors of this intelligent comedy that touches the heart and challenges the conventions of the genre.
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Jennifer Westfeldt, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Adam Scott
Director: Jennifer Westfeldt
Runtime: 107 minutes
- The best comedies on Hulu right now
- The best rom-coms on Amazon Prime right now
- The best romantic comedies on Netflix
- The 77 best movies on Hulu right now
- The best romance movies on Netflix right now