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by Indiewire
August 10, 2012 12:34 PM
7 Comments
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Here Are 10 of Our Favorite Romantic Comedies Set in the Big Apple, in Honor of '2 Days in New York'

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" set the gold standard for contemporary films that subvert romantic comedy conventions. Where many rom-coms render viewers numb with their transparent formula, Charlie Kaufman's narrative labyrinth, blending memories and dreams, was refreshingly stimulating in an era of feeble Heigl and Aniston vehicles. While none of the performances in the film falter, Jim Carrey arguably reached a career high with his portrayal of Joel, a devastated lover revisiting memories in the process of being erased. Michel Gondry's lush and colorful direction cement the film as a modern classic.

"Kissing Jessica Stein"
Before Jennifer Westfeldt directed her first feature "Friends With Kids," she co-penned this winning and insightful romantic comedy about a unlucky in love copy editor, Jessica (Westfeldt), who tries her hand at being bisexual after coming across a personal ad in the newspaper posted by a woman seeking a meaningful relationship (co-writer Heather Juergensen). To Jessica's surprise, she takes to the ad's author, Helen, a gallery owner who has her own share of hardships with the opposite sex. Things get messy (as they always do in rom-coms) when one of the pair wrestles with whether she's in it for the long haul, but the way Westleft and Juergensen deal with the denouement is anything from typical.

"Manhattan"
Woody Allen's "Manhattan" retains the romantic comedy framework while examining several dark and flawed romances. Building upon "Annie Hall's" sentimental story of a promising relationship's painful collapse, "Manhattan" begins with a middle aged writer, Isaac (Allen), being involved with a seventeen year old girl, a romance that both Isaac and the audience know is fundamentally amiss. Beyond the comedic facade are marriages fraught with infidelity and discontent. The black and white film stock and iconic Gershwin soundtrack imbue "Manhattan" with a sense of mythic weight and melancholy that heighten the film's dramatic moments. Though the film ends with a promise of redemption, the romantic relationships in "Manhattan" leave none unscathed.

7 Comments

  • Mark Rabinowitz | August 11, 2012 5:56 PMReply

    Nice list, but IMHO, no way does 'Working Girl' beat out 'Barefoot in the Park.'

  • jean vigo | August 10, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    Uhm, 'Moonstruck?' 'The Seven Year Itch?' 'Mr Deeds Goes To Town?' 'Mr and Mrs Smith (Hitchcock)?' 'Woman Of The Year?' 'Desk Set?' 'Splash?' 'It Should Happen To You?' 'Barefoot In The Park?'

    An argument could be made for 'Desperately Seeking Susan' - it IS a rom-com at its core.

    Woody also knocked one out of the park with 'Hannah And Her Sisters.'

  • Skippy | August 10, 2012 3:55 PMReply

    I guess this list is supposed to be from about 1970 on, right? I could name ten romantic comedies from the 1930s-40s alone that would be just as good if not better candidates for this list.

    Also, I tend to agree with the other comments--"Eternal Sunshine" was easily my favorite movie of the first decade of the 21st century, but I never think of it as a movie where New York is an important part of the setting.

  • brian godshall | August 10, 2012 2:38 PMReply

    thanks for including a gay film - TRICK was good.

  • Frank Russo | August 10, 2012 2:13 PMReply

    No PILLOW TALK with Doris Day and Rock Hudson? The granddaddy of all romantic comedies!

  • Tanner Kundrat | August 10, 2012 12:53 PMReply

    I love it, but does ETERNAL SUNSHINE really count as an NYC film?

  • randy | August 10, 2012 3:25 PM

    agreed