Netflix original movies may have started out as a cinematic equivalent of the guy your gal told you not to worry about, but I have a newfound love for the streaming service after watching its recent movie Set It Up. The adorable rom-com about two overworked assistants' quest to set up their demanding bosses wooed me in the same way that Harry's proclamation of love to Sally always inspires swooning. The film reminded us of how rare joyful romantic comedies have become, but we crave these kind of stories now more than ever before. If you're on a search for underrated movies that quench your rom-com thirst, we have the answer with these rom-coms like Set It Up that you need to watch this summer.
Although Set It Up's sunny, modern story perfectly emulates the definition of a happy-go-lucky romantic comedy, other films in the genre play loosely with what that means. As a result of this, some of the movies below have the ability to make you ugly cry just as often as they'll convince you to squeal. As long as the rom-coms end with full hearts and happy faces, it doesn't matter if characters weep at some point, right?
Additionally, we've all seen You've Got Mail and Pretty Woman plenty of times, so part of the appeal of these 16 movies is that they're not obvious picks for your girls' night movie schedule. A Set It Up sequel may not be official yet, but until then, you can spend hazy summer days broadening your rom-com horizons.
1. 'About Time' (2013)
About Time definitely draws out equally happy and sad tears, but the sweet romance between Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson will make you want your own partner to spin you to the tune of a subway busker's music. Written and directed by the same man who wrote Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary, About Time follows Gleeson's character's discovery that the males in his family can travel through time to correct unappealing situations in their own lives. While the adjustments he makes to ensure a romance with McAdams's Mary are a little problematic, the two characters work so well together that I forgive the sketchy intentions every time. If you want a rom-com that doesn't rest on whether or not a couple will be together, About Time is your answer.
2. 'Stuck in Love' (2012)
Boasting an all-star cast of Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, and Nat Wolff, Stuck in Love opens with the broken relationship between former spouses Bill (Kinnear) and Erica (Connelly). While the adults' storyline veers more into the romantic drama category, the film's focus on their teenage children's struggles with love is so earnest and relatable. Collins' Samantha is a cynical aspiring writer who is skeptical about dating Lou, played by an adorable Logan Lerman, while Wolff's Rusty is afraid to pursue his high school crush. Collins and Lerman are honestly the highlight of the movie, but check this out if you like stories about creative people inevitably hitting roadblocks in their work.
3. 'The Decoy Bride' (2011)
Doctor Who fans, this one's for you. Filmed in Scotland, The Decoy Bride stars former Doctor David Tennant as writer James, who hopes to marry his Hollywood actress fiancée without the press interfering. After they arrive on a remote Scottish island to escape from the paparazzi, James arranges a decoy wedding ceremony with local girl Katie, but in true rom-com fashion, things quickly become more complicated. This movie is quite reminiscent of a 1940s screwball comedy, so if you love Bringing Up Baby or His Girl Friday, The Decoy Bride might be perfect for you.
4. 'Letters to Juliet' (2010)
OK, so the hate-turns-to-love romance between Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Egan's characters in Letters to Juliet is actually quite uninspiring. The real love affair in this movie is that between real-life couple Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, who play teenage sweethearts that Seyfried's Sophie, a journalist, aims to reunite in Italy after 50 years apart. Young lovers coming together as elderly people is always sweet, but its gratuitous shots of gorgeous Italian scenery are what truly gives Letters to Juliet its romance label. And, yes, I even wrote my own letter to Juliet at her Verona home because of this movie.
5. 'One Fine Day' (1996)
Current-day George Clooney is dashing in that silver fox way, but it wasn't until I saw footage of him in the '90s that I said, "Oh, wait, I get George Clooney now." While you can always binge ER for your fix of young and rugged Clooney, a less time-consuming solution is to watch One Fine Day, in which he stars as a divorced dad opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, who also plays a working single parent. When both characters fail to deliver their kids to a school field trip on time, they have to work together to look after the kids and do their jobs throughout the day. The movie is ridiculously simple, but it will warm your heart at the end, which is sometimes all we need from a film.
6. 'Last Holiday' (2006)
Thank goodness for Girls Trip, because I was seriously missing a world where we could rely on a carefree Queen Latifah movie to make us smile. In Last Holiday, Georgia finds out that she only has a few weeks to live, so she embraces the YOLO theory and sets off on a grand European vacation. Her charming co-worker Sean, played by LL Cool J, follows her there, and although their romance is satisfying, the real appeal of Last Holiday is Georgia's willingness to treat herself when things have seemingly taken a dark, irreversible road.
7. 'Candy Jar' (2018)
It's not Set It Up, but Netflix original Candy Jar ticks off a need for the long-absent teen rom-com. As bitter rivals on their high school debate team, Lona and Bennett are both fixated on getting into the colleges of their dreams, but they realize that they can't achieve their goals without helping the other. Think of this movie as a slightly more grown-up Disney Channel Original Movie. It has quite a chaste, breezy romance, so if you want to introduce younger kids in your life to the art of the rom-com, Candy Jar could be a logical pick that eases them into the genre.
8. 'What's Your Number?' (2011)
I'm perplexed about why people just don't talk about this movie when it clearly stars Chris Evans at a beautiful physical peak. Its sexy game of strip basketball aside, What's Your Number? follows a pre-Mom Anna Faris as Ally, who reads a magazine article about women having more difficulty in finding a husband if they've slept with more than 20 men. When an accidental hookup seemingly marks Ally's twentieth guy, she tracks down former boyfriends to see if they've become "the One" since she split with them. Evans, on the cusp of Captain America fame at the time of the film's release, plays her teasing accomplice in this mission. But, of course, romance is bound to bloom between the reluctant partners.
9. 'The Incredible Jessica James' (2017)
Another Netflix production that you probably missed upon its premiere, The Incredible Jessica James stars the hilarious Jessica Williams as an independent woman who works in children's theatre. She unexpectedly begins to fall for Chris O'Dowd's Boone, who she meets on a blind date set up by her best friend. William totally shines on screen, almost making the romance plotline seem secondary, but who said that a rom-com can't praise self-love first and foremost? You can next see Williams as an Ilvermorny professor in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel this fall.
10. 'While You Were Sleeping' (1995)
Before she was everyone's favorite girl next door, Sandra Bullock played just that in the Christmas rom-com While You Were Sleeping. Bullock stars as Lucy, a lonely Chicago Transit Authority worker who falls in love with a commuter who regularly uses her ticket booth. When she saves the commuter after he falls onto the train tracks, his family mistakens her as his fiancée, and since the man is conveniently in a coma, Lucy goes along with the ruse to save his family from more pain. The man's brother, played by Bill Pullman, isn't so easily convinced. Admit it, we all get a little tired of The Holiday, so this is a perfect Christmas movie alternative.
11. 'Broadcast News' (1987)
Before she voiced the fierce Elastigirl in the Incredibles movies, Holly Hunter played an even fiercer TV news producer in Broadcast News. Her character Jane is devoted to providing the truth in news, while Tom, an anchorman, symbolizes fluffier, seemingly less crucial stories in news. Torn between her interest in Tom and her passion for producing quality content, Jane's feelings are also conflicted thanks to her best friend Aaron, a news reporter, confessing his true feelings for her. Broadcast News is far from a traditional love story, but it feels like a mashup of When Harry Met Sally and All the President's Men, and its portrayal of TV news feels particularly relevant nowadays.
12. 'Definitely, Maybe' (2008)
Before he was a real-life DILF, Ryan Reynolds played one in Definitely, Maybe, which follows Will, a soon-to-be-divorced man finally telling his young daughter how he met her mother. The movie includes three separate love stories from different points in Will's life and leaves the mother's identity unclear until the end. Will is no Ted Mosby, so depending on how you felt when How I Met Your Mother finished, this is either a pro or a con. I miss Abigail Breslin's heyday as the token little girl in movies, and she and Reynolds add a sweet father-daughter layer that isn't often explored in romantic comedies.
13. 'Man Up' (2015)
Resembling a modern, snarkier Bridget Jones's Diary, Man Up details a blind date gone wrong when Lake Bell's Nancy accidentally crashes another woman's intended meeting with the divorced Jack and takes on the stranger's identity. Bell and her co-star Simon Pegg are relatively low-key actors, but the fact that most American audiences don't know much about them really helps Man Up shine. Anyone who studied abroad in the U.K. in college will definitely form a spot sport in their heart for this story.
14. 'Leap Year' (2010)
Critics generally hated Leap Year, but I just don't get their reasoning. It has Amy Adams! Matthew Goode with an Irish accent and floppy sweaters! The Irish countryside! Parks and Rec's Adam Scott even plays a dull, relatively harmless boyfriend who Adams's Anna plans to propose to in Dublin on Leap Day. When she's unexpectedly stranded in a seaside village en route to her boyfriend's Dublin conference, she employs Goode's Declan to drive her to the city. As all road trips tend to include, obstacles ensuring that sparks fly between the two adversaries emerge. Say what you like, haters, but watching Leap Year is honestly my idea of a perfect night in.
15. 'Kate & Leopold' (2001)
Rom-com fans worship Meg Ryan thanks to her recurring place of honor in Nora Ephron movies, but the sweetly ridiculous Kate & Leopold is a less iconic and just as joyful romp. Ryan's Kate is a workaholic with no social life when her friend inexplicably creates a time portal connecting 2001 to 1876. Hugh Jackman plays the dashing duke Leopold, who mistakenly takes the portal into contemporary times and becomes Kate's new roommate. Honestly, if a guy who looked like Hugh Jackman and claimed to be a duke popped up in my life, I wouldn't complain.
16. 'Just Wright' (2010)
Count this as my official petition for more Queen Latifah rom-coms. In Just Wright, she stars as Leslie, a physical therapist who falls for NBA basketball player Scott (rapper Common). However, Scott quickly takes interest in Leslie's god-sister, proposing to her very soon after meeting both women. When Scott is crucially injured, Leslie moves in with the engaged couple to help him heal, but such tight quarters and conflicting feelings are bound to inspire a cringe-worthy love triangle. It's a classic will-they-or-won't-they story, but even the most general rom-com trope is welcomed in the case of this movie.
In case you ever get sick of binge-watching Set It Up on a loop, here's hoping that one of these movies is your next rom-com addiction.