Julia Roberts is the queen of romantic comedies. With a magnetic smile, charm to spare, and an innate ability to make us laugh, Roberts became an international superstar in the 1990s thanks to her memorable roles in rom-coms. In addition to her remarkable talent, what sets Roberts apart from other leading ladies at the time was her bankability at the box office. The five films listed below combined for a worldwide box office gross surpassing $1.3 billion.
It’s impressive and unfathomable since that would never happen at the box office in 2022. With Roberts making her long-awaited return to romantic comedies in Ticket to Paradise, we explored her five best movies in the genre that capitulated her to stardom.
Mystic Pizza (1988)
After a few appearances in TV and film, Roberts broke out in Mystic Pizza. The coming-of-age film stars Roberts and Annabeth Gish as sisters Daisy and Kat Araújo. Along with their friend, Jojo Barbosa (Lili Taylor), the three girls work at Mystic Pizza in the seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut.
Daisy starts a relationship with Charles (Adam Storke), a wealthy young professional. Because of her ethnicity (Portuguese), Charles’s family is unkind to Daisy, causing problems in their relationship. Mystic Pizza is a charming depiction of friendship as the girls try to figure out their respective futures.
Stream Mystic Pizza on HBO Max.
Pretty Woman (1990)
If Mystic Pizza put Roberts’s on the map, Pretty Woman made her a star. Roberts plays Vivian Ward, an eccentric sex worker hired by wealthy businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) to pose as his girlfriend for the week. While Richard teaches her proper etiquette, Vivian shows Richard how to live a vibrant and fun life.
The two opposites fall for each other, but their past lives attempt to pull them apart. Directed by Garry Marshall, Pretty Woman became the third-highest-grossing film of 1990, and Roberts received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. It’s easy to see why, as Roberts shows such charisma and knack for comedy that the film is still the one she’s most known for three decades later.
Stream Pretty Woman on Prime Video.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
After a few years of so-so hits (the guilty pleasure Sleeping with the Enemy) and outright bombs (the awful period thriller Mary Reilly) in the mid-’90s, Roberts returned to her rom-com roots with the 1997 smash-hit My Best Friend’s Wedding. Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a 27-year-old food critic who receives a call from Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney) that changes her life. Years prior, the two friends agreed to marry each other if they were unmarried by 28.
Shortly before her 28th birthday, Michael tells Julianne he will marry Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz) in four days. With the help of her friend George Downes (Rupert Everett), Julianne flies to Chicago to destroy the relationship and win Michael back. Come for Roberts’s charm and the engaging supporting cast, but stay for the iconic rendition of I Say a Little Prayer.
Stream My Best Friend’s Weddingon Peacock.
Notting Hill (1999)
If Roberts is the ’90s rom-com queen, then Hugh Grant is the ’90s rom-com king. The two successful actors shared the screen in 1999’s Notting Hill. Will Thacker (Grant) is a bookstore employee struggling to get past his divorce. One day, Anna Scott (Roberts), an international movie star, walks into Will’s bookstore, which sets off a series of chance encounters between the duo.
Sparks fly after they kiss in Will’s apartment, and Will and Anna sporadically flirt and act on their romance over the next few years. However, as Anna’s star rises, her relationship with Will takes a back seat. Once again, Roberts showcases what makes her excel in the rom-com genre: great chemistry with her co-star and a disarming sense of humor that makes her relatable to everyone watching.
Stream Notting Hill on Peacock.
Runaway Bride (1999)
Roberts, Gere, and Marshall reunited in 1999’s Runaway Bride. Roberts stars as Maggie Carpenter, a woman who previously left three men at the altar. As a result, Maggie is dubbed the “Runaway Bride” by journalist Ike Graham (Gere). Ike’s reporting is called into question when he cannot verify his source. To restore his reputation. Ike travels to Maryland to report about Maggie and her fourth attempt at marriage.
As Ike learns more about Maggie, he falls for her, jeopardizing the entire article. Although it’s not as good as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride is still worthy of your attention thanks to the strong chemistry between Gere and Roberts. They’re terrific together, which makes one sad that they never teamed up again after this movie.
Stream Runaway Bride on Netflix.