Ah, love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which makes this the season of romantic comedies. If you and your significant other are looking for rom-coms to watch on Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a selection of sweet treats streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and HBO Max.
The romantic comedy genre has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, thanks to streamers. Narrowing down the vast catalog to a reasonable number of options wasn’t easy, but we found a selection of rom-coms that should appeal to just about everybody. There are classics and newer hits on our list, plus a range of characters and relationships. But they all have one thing in common: the belief that love conquers all.
Here are our seven recommendations for romantic comedies to watch for Valentine’s Day.
10 Things I Hate About You
This modernized take on William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew follows independent, acerbic Kat (Julia Stiles) and her boy-crazy sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). Their strict dad’s dating rules mean Bianca can’t date Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) until Kat has a boyfriend. A senior also interested in Bianca pays rebellious outsider Patrick (Heath Ledger) to woo Kat so he can take the younger sister to the prom and have sex with her. Kat rebuffs Patrick at first, but finds herself falling for his devilishly charming ways. When the truth comes out at prom, everything falls apart. As Shakespeare himself wrote, the course of true love never did run smooth.
Stream on Disney Plus
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Let’s talk about sex, baby — and not having any. That’s the dilemma faced by Andy (Steve Carell), a shy 40-year-old electronic store worker. He’s never had sex and after various failed attempts, he lives alone and spends most of his time playing video games and collecting action figures. His friends (Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen) decide to help him achieve the milestone with advice, social events and even a hooker. When Andy starts seeing Trish (Catherine Keener), he’s relieved when she sets a 20-date rule for having sex. But when the time approaches, will Andy be too nervous to do the deed?
Stream on HBO Max
Always Be My Maybe
This delightful romantic comedy stars Asian American leads, and that's something that’s far too rare in Hollywood. Comedian Ali Wong and veteran actor Randall Park play childhood best friends — she’s literally the girl next door — who grow apart after an awkward sexual encounter as teens. When they meet again years later, she’s a celebrity chef and he’s still living at home, and they both have significant others. They still connect over their shared history and their chemistry is undeniable (even with Keanu Reeves in the picture).
Stream on Netflix
Will Smith turns up the charm dial up to 11 as a professional dating coach who helps men woo women. He’s good at it, as we see when he successfully helps schlubby investment advisor Albert (Kevin James) romance his celebrity client Allegra (Amber Valletta). But when Smith falls for gossip columnist Sara (Eva Mendes), none of his smooth techniques work on her. Not only that, his job threatens to drive her away and ruin Albert and Allegra’s relationship. Date doctor, heal thyself.
Stream on Peacock
The adaptation of a popular YA novel isn’t the first coming-of-age gay love story to hit the screen, but it is one of the first to be made by a major studio and see mainstream success. Simon (Nick Robinson) is a closeted teen who befriends, then falls for an anonymous gay classmate over email. When a school play castmate threatens to out Simon by releasing those emails, Simon is forced to overcome his fears about telling his family and friends the truth of who he is. And he must gather the courage to seek out his mysterious crush.
Stream on Hulu
Sandra Bullock is one of the many queens of the romantic comedy genre, having appeared in classics like Miss Congeniality, While You Were Sleeping and Two Weeks Notice. But our favorite might be The Proposal, which pairs her with the quip-tastic Ryan Reynolds. Bullock plays a high-powered publishing executive who is facing deportation to her native Canada and tells immigration that she’s engaged to her assistant, Andrew. He agrees to go along with the charade, but imposes a few conditions, including flying to Alaska to meet his family. As they open up to each other, the ruse starts to become a reality.
Stream on Hulu
Silver Linings Playbook
Romantic comedies tend to be overlooked by the Oscars, but Silver Linings Playbook beat the odds thanks to a cast of heavy hitters. Bradley Cooper stars as Pat, a man with bipolar disorder who leaves a mental facility to move back in with his parents. In an attempt to win back his ex-wife, he teams up with a vivacious young widow Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) in a dance competition. As they practice, a strong connection blossoms and Pat begins to see Tiffany as more than just his dance partner.
Stream on Netflix