Why We're Falling In Love With Romantic Comedies Again

What is it about 2020 that has us falling in love with the classic rom-com genre?


Rosie Lourde and Cindy Busby on the set of Romance on the Menu. Photo / The Steve Jaggi Company

We love love. There is something about sitting down to watch a movie and knowing that the two main characters will end up together in the end that is so comforting, especially amidst the uncertainty that has been 2020.  

Speaking from her home in Sydney, Rosie Lourde, director of the highly anticipated romantic comedy, Romance on the Menu agrees with the need for romance. “With everything being so dire, audience data is showing that people are looking for lighter stuff,” says Lourde. Best known for her role as Darcy in the award-winning online-to-TV series Starting From... Now, this is Lourde’s first time directing a full-length film. When asked what she hopes people will get from her film, Rosie simply replies: “I just want people to smile, everything is so hard right now, we all need that.” 

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Romance on The Menu is charming, relatable and beautifully shot, showcasing Australia’s famous coastline with laid-back ease. Romance’s lead character, Caroline (played by Canadian actress Cindy Busby), a high-end chef at a New York restaurant, inherits a café in Sydney from a beloved, but not often seen aunt. With the aim of selling the café and returning State-side as soon as possible, Caroline jumps a plane for Australia.

What follows is very much to be expected, she meets the very handsome Simon (played by Tim Ross) and, well, you can imagine. What makes the film so likeable is that there is genuine chemistry between the two leads, the scenery and location choices ooze charm and there is Spatch, an adorable little white dog who somehow anchors the entire film. Spatch’s important role is due to Rosie sticking to her guns, “I kept telling them ‘we need more Spatch.’” Romance On The Menu is streaming now on Netflix.

While on the subject of romantic comedies here are some of the other films streaming right now that are the perfect romantic escape. 

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story 

From the writer-directing team of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson ,Sugar), this is a very different species of romantic comedy. Set in a mental health facility, IKOAFS focuses on depressed teen Craig (played Keir Gilchrist), who checks himself into the facility without really thinking it through.

Shocked to learn he has to spend five days in the facility before he can be discharged we have the pleasure of following Craig along his journey of discovery and enlightenment with the help of two fellow patients, Bobby (played by Zach Galifinakis) and Noelle (played by Emma Roberts). The acting from the three main characters is stand out and the pace of the film is intentionally slow, giving an observation feeling to the viewer.

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This is a quirky, heart-warming story with characters you find yourself really caring about. 

Let It Snow 

This movie’s cute Christmas carol-inspired title belies the charming, funny, teen-based film within. A group of small-town kids navigate life and love on a snowy Christmas eve.

The outcome of the main love stories is obvious from the start but a mixture of great music (not a cheesy carol to be heard), some loveable characters, a wonderful supporting role from the legendary Joan Cusack and a stand-out love story involving out-and-proud waitress Dorrie (played impeccably by Liv Hewson) and struggling-to-come-out cheerleader Kerry (played by Anna Akana), makes this at times syrupy comedy something worth watching. 

Falling Inn Love 

This is definitely one to watch on the down low. The premise is pretty nonsensical; Gabriela, an aspiring architect, played by Christina Milian, loses her job in San Fransico and, instead of trying to find a new one, she enters a competition to win an adorable New Zealand country inn.

The 'win’ is, of course, too good to be true and she finds herself in Aotearoa with nothing to show for it but a dilapidated building and a goat named, Gilbert (who is adorable). The remainder of the film centres around Gabriela’s efforts to repair the inn with the help of handsome, eco-friendly builder Jake, played by Australian actor Adam Demos (UnREAL, Janet King). 

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New Zealand is the real star of this film, with gorgeous scenery and some wonderful performances from Kiwi talent such as Anna Jullienne (Shortland Street) and Claire Chitham (Outrageous Fortune).

Work It 

There is just something about a dance movie, you are pretty much guaranteed a romantic sub-plot and a happy ending, which is just what life needs sometimes. 

Work It gets most of its likeability from its main character Quinn, played by singer and former Disney star, Sabrina Carpenter. Quinn, with her sassy best friend (played by dancer and You Tube star Liza Koshy) by her side, sets out to start a dance team in order to impress the admissions officer at her college of choice.

A misfit crew of dancers is formed, then enters the handsome yet-reluctant choreographer and you get the idea. Some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments follow, many of which take place in an old-folks home, and by the time the credits roll you have been utterly charmed.

Dumplin 

A commentary on beauty and the inflated value we place on it, Dumplin is sad at times and laugh out loud funny at others. Daughter of a beauty pageant legend named Rosie (played by the always captivating Jennifer Aniston), curvy waitress Willowdean (Australian actress Danielle Macdonald ) doesn’t fit into her mother’s world or the small town in which they live. 

Perhaps angry at the lack of attention from her mother or just looking to make a point, Willowdean signs up for the local beauty pageant that Rosie now produces.

Add to this act of rebellion some meaningful extra layers like a handsome co-worker (Bo, played by Luke Benward), a loyal best friend (Ellen, played by Odeya Rush) who shares Willowdean’s unstoppable love for Dolly Parton and a motley crew of glamorous drag queens (led by the dynamic Harold Perrineau) and you have a film that delights, without ever stumbling into sentimentality 

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