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The Next Generation Of Rom-Coms Has Arrived: Here Are 7 Of The Best

© Warner Bros

Thought the rom-com died out some time in the Noughties? Think again...

There was a point, perhaps sometimes in the mid-Noughties, when it seemed that barely a week would go by without a new rom-com vying for our affections (and our cash). Jennifer Aniston would star opposite a string of increasingly generic leading men who definitely didn’t deserve her and her comic timing, while Hugh Grant played the same bemused, middle class British chap approximately 327 times (surprisingly, these two never actually starred opposite one another). On screen, airports became the perfect backdrops for romantic reconciliations, glamorous alter egos were remarkably easy to fabricate (Maid in Manhattan, anyone?) or to hide (see literally every movie featuring a secret prince or princess), and women exclusively worked as journalists for generic magazines aimed at other women (as exemplified in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days). Then, after a slew of derivative titles that (to paraphrase a lacklustre SJP/Matthew McConaughey offering from 2006) failed to launch, the romantic comedy seemed to die out entirely.

Much like the dinosaurs, there are plenty of possible theories to account for the rom-com’s extinction. The films tended towards a repetitive formula (but that same charge could be levelled at Marvel movies, and they seem to be doing just fine). Studios didn’t want to put money behind anything other than big franchises that were guaranteed to fill seats - and they seemed unwilling to appeal to female film-goers (who remain, ironically, the biggest yet least served market in cinema-going) . But, perhaps most importantly, rom-coms weren’t representative - they were exclusively populated by wealthy, white heteronormative couples – and they seemed to have stopped taking their audience seriously. Now, after a decade or so’s hiatus, the genre appears to be making a tentative return – and, in the classic tradition, it’s had a makeover.

It’s more diverse – see Crazy Rich Asians, which has already smashed box office records upon its release in America, and Oscar-nominated The Big Sick – although, as with the rest of Hollywood’s output, there’s still plenty of work to be done there. It’s playfully self-referential, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s got the Netflix seal of approval (the streaming site is driving the rom-com boom with word-of-mouth hits like Set It Up and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) and, crucially, its heart is back in the right place. As Crazy Rich Asians makes its much-anticipated arrival in UK cinemas, these are some of our favourite next gen rom-coms.

Jennifer Aniston, it’s your move: here's hoping that the genre's undisputed Queen makes her triumphant return to the throne some time soon (we'd be ready to provide a spec script, if necessary)...