Here Are 10 of Our Favorite Romantic Comedies Set in the Big Apple, in Honor of '2 Days in New York'
IndiewireAugust 10, 2012 at 12:34PM
With "2 Days in New York," Julie Deply's hilarious and romantic follow up to her wry comedy "2 Days in Paris," opening in select theaters today (it's also currently available on VOD), we've decided to share with you 10 of our favorite romantic comedies (though some of our choices are questionably classified as such) set on the island of Manhattan. This list is by no means definitive, so we invite you to share some of your picks below.
"Annie Hall," the romantic comedy that proved Woody Allen was an auteur of the highest order and did the unthinkable by beating "Star Wars" for the Best Picture Oscar in 1997, still holds up to this day as arguably Allen's best and most widely accessible film to date. Diane Keaton won a Best Actress Oscar for playing the titular role, a nutty yet totally loveable lounge singer with a fear of initimate relations (she needs to smoke up before sex in order to relax) and the hots for Alvy (Allen), a Jewish comic armed with a earful of self depricating wit. Prior to "Annie Hall," Allen had established himself as one of the country's most promising funnymen thanks to "Bananas" and "Sleeper." "Annie Hall" was the one to prove he could balance drama with the laughs, the perfect combination for any classic romantic comedy.
Old is gold in "The Apartment," Billy Wilder's black and white classic that pairs two of Hollywood’s most iconic stars, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, for a romantic dramedy that still packs a bite despite being over 50 years old. Lemmon’s character, C.C Baxter, to achieve ascension in the corporate world, lets four company managers use his Upper West Side apartment for their marital affairs, which isn’t as simple an arrangement as it seems. At the same time, he nurses a love for the elevator operator, played by none other than a wry and wonderful MacLaine. Also starring Fred MacMurray, the film was nominated for ten Oscars at the 33rd annual Academy Awards and won five of them including Best Pictures and Best Director.
"Breakfast at Tiffany's"
No one captures the wealth, glitz and glam of New York’s Upper East Side than Audrey Hepburn in her critically acclaimed role as socialite Holly Golighty in the 1961 rom-com classic, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Directed by Blake Edwards, this film is largely responsible for making an icon out of Hepburn (it also earned her with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress). Based on Truman Capote’s novel, the comedy follows a socialite's race to the top and all the men who come under her charming ways (these include an ex-mobster, a South American millionaire and her real love -- a struggling writer and neighbor played by George Peppard).
"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.
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.