Though the gay and lesbian scene will eventually manage to break into the genre, right now the standard rom-com formula is one-part-man, one-part-woman. If one or the other is lacking in any way, the whole movie will fall apart. It has happened before – though some actors can manage to carry a movie with their performance alone. Here are five of the best leading men who can save any romantic comedy.
Has he ever done much of anything besides happy-sappy films? Yes, but Hugh Grant will always be best known as the face on a slew of romantic comedies: “Love Actually,” “Notting Hill,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” … the list goes on. Some performances are more nuanced than others, but Grant is nevertheless a man with his hand on the pulse of his audience’s heart. His casual wit and sparkle will always land him roles in romantic comedies, primary or secondary in nature.
He’s moved away from them in the last decade, but for years Tom Hanks’ big claim to fame was comedy movies, and romantic comedies constituted a large number of those titles. “Big,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” will always hit big with romantic comedy fans, and understandably so: Hanks is just plain enjoyable to watch, regardless of the genre he’s currently inhabiting. He has that nice-guy flair you want to see rewarded at the end of a rom-com.
If you look at his credits, you’ll see that Richard Gere hasn’t done a ton of romantic comedies, which may be a surprise given his prominence in the genre. There are two reasons for this: “Pretty Woman,” and, to a lesser extent, “Runaway Bride.” “Pretty Woman” in particular is often lauded as one of the best romantic comedies of all time (though perhaps not by Gere himself), and it has cemented Gere’s reputation as a man with a winning smile, a soft voice and a deft touch when it comes to women.
Though he didn’t break onto the scene as early as the others, Ryan Gosling can easily go blow-for-blow with all of them on the romantic comedy scene with titles like “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “All Good Things,” and “Lars and the Real Girl.” All strong movies – but if you need proof that he belongs at the top of the romance genre period, funny or not, look only to one of his earlier films: “The Notebook.” This sucker solidified Gosling’s status as a heart throb of the highest order.
Almost cut from the same cloth as Gosling, Reynolds is another younger leading man who’s only just beginning to break away from his romantic comedy roots. He’s left a powerful legacy in his wake, though, with “Adventureland,” “Definitely, Maybe,” “Just Friends” and “The Proposal” under his belt. Sure, he may also be “Deadpool” and “The Green Lantern,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t connect meaningfully with audiences who dislike all that whiz-bang stuff.