While it’s true that romantic comedies are primarily targeted towards women, not all romantic comedies are “chick flicks.” In fact, there are quite a few romantic comedies that appeal to men as much, if not more, than they do to women. Here are five of the best such movies that guys can watch by themselves without feeling bad about it.
Why does this adult fairy tale appeal to guys so much? First: fencing. Guys love sword fights. Even in this day and age where swords are pretty much irrelevant, guys still love watching a good sword fight. Why do you think Star Wars is so popular? Sword fights and spaceships. Of course, there aren’t any spaceships in The Princess Bride, but there are plenty of other things that appeal to guys, like cliffs of insanity, fireswamps, and a pit of despair. The villains, a douchebag prince and his six-fingered friend, are great, too. Plus there’s all that stuff about Wuv, Twue Wuv. The story is so good that even young Fred Savage, whose grandfather (Peter Falk) is reading the story of The Princess Bride to him within the movie, warms up to the kissing parts before the movie ends.
John Cusack is the king of the quirky romantic comedy. (See Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, Say Anything, Serendipity, Must Love Dogs, Being John Malkovich, Grosse Point Blank, and so on for more examples of this phenomenon). In this movie he plays a list-making record store owner who keeps getting in his own way when it comes to finding love. The reason this movie has so much appeal to guys? The idea that a depressed weirdo with a crummy apartment and a massive record collection could actually get attractive women (like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lisa Bonet, among others) to have sex with him. The movie also explores the idea that no matter how happy we might be right now, there’s always the potential that something better is lurking just around the corner and how that idea can leave you afraid of commitment and perpetually unhappy. That’s something Cusack’s character has to learn over the course of the film. He has to lose his girlfriend to Tim Robbins first and spend an unusual amount of time standing outside in the rain, but it’s a lesson he does eventually learn.
In this movie about February’s other big holiday, Bill Murray’s self-centered, self-loathing weatherman keeps living the same day over and over and over again. On the one hand, who wouldn’t want to do this? You get to make as many mistakes as you need to before you get things right, and you don’t have to suffer the consequences of those mistakes. On the other hand, if you’re a slow learner you’re going to be stuck in the same spot for a very long time. Murray’s character eventually learns his lesson, of course, and ends up getting the girl (Andie MacDowell). Along the way he commits suicide a multitude of different ways, learns how to ice sculpt and play the piano, and teaches a groundhog how to drive.
Here’s another romantic comedy featuring an obsessive, depressed, non-threatening male lead. But who can blame Jason Segel’s character for being obsessed with Kristen Bell’s Sarah Marshall? The real question is how a puppet-loving musician got a movie star to date him in the first place. That’s part of the appeal of these movies, though. You’ve got ordinary guys with weird personality quirks that end up with women who are probably a little bit out of their league.
Yes, it’s possible to have zombies in your romantic comedy. Every romantic comedy presents obstacles the two would-be lovers have to overcome in order to be with each other, so why not zombies? That isn’t the only obstacle Shaun (Simon Pegg) has to overcome to find love, of course. For that matter, it’s not even the biggest. His lack of direction and ambition is a far bigger hindrance to his quest for love, but the zombies don’t help matters any. And they make this the kind of movie that appeals to guys, even if it is at its heart a love story.
Other romantic comedies for guys that are worth watching: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Rushmore, Say Anything, Wedding Crashers, and Kissing a Fool.
Dan Slaten is a movie enthusiast from Montgomery, Alabama.