A guy is in no greater relationship peril than when she sends you to the video store by yourself. (OK, you're in peril when she asks you if she looks fat in those jeans, too.) Print out this page before you go, stay out of the Action/Adventure section and you'll survive.
Don't forget - all these movies are great, the rating is how "chick-flick-y" it is. Start with the single hearts and work your way up.
An American President - When Michael Douglas is President, he doesn't need state troopers hustling him dates. Annette Benning gives a great performance.
Before Sunrise - Just talking. That's it. Gorgeous babe Julie Delphy, gorgeous guy Ethan Hawke talk their way through a day and night in Vienna.
Bend it Like Beckham - look, I'm an American, I didn't even know what a Beckham was - turns out he's the hot soccer hunk honey of one of the Spice Girls. (They're still around?) And I still don't get the whole bend it reference but forget that, this is the coolest girl power story with a swinging Indian dance number and sweet romance.
The Big Easy - Sultry New 'Awlins is the heat behind this steamy romance with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin. Murder and cop stuff for the guys.
Big Night - Food, music, amore. Don't watch it on an empty stomach. Better yet, make spaghetti and watch it.
Bridget Jones's Diary - Since they've made a modern chick flick from almost every Jane Austen book already (did all of them star Gwyneth Paltrow?) they've started doing homages to her instead. Chubby Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger puts on the pounds) sets off on an ambitious self-improvement plan to change her life and get a man. Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy and Hugh Grant is the gorgeous cad. Pride & Prejudice in the self-help aisle.
Bull Durham - The role Kevin Costner was born to play. Susan Sarandon shows us all how it's done. Dig out that Edith Piaf cd for the make-out session afterwards.
Chances Are - Gotta love Cybil Shepherd. Gotta love Robert Downey Jr. Gotta love Heaven Can Wait reborn as a romantic comedy.
Chasing Amy - Wow. Every guy's fantasy lesbian girlfriend. Hilarious movie by the makers of Clerks, rent that first for the inside jokes. Dialogue worthy of the old movies when dialogue mattered, great scenes of Red Bank, NJ. Instant chick-flick classic.
Chicago - Forget the plot, it's just there to lead from one song to the other, and that's the sign of a great musical. The music is supreme, the dancing sublime and it won a bunch of Oscars. But the real star is Queen Latifah - she shakes stuff I don't even have. If you be good to Mama...
City of Angels - Nicholas Cage gives up eternity for the love of Meg Ryan. Makes even Los Angeles seem romantic. Dennis Franz plays, what else, a fallen angel.
The Cutting Edge - Hockey Hottie gets paired with Figure Skating Ice Queen. You know the shtick, you know the ending, but it's really a good movie.
Dave - The First Lady falls in love with the President. Good political humor as well.
Dangerous Beauty - In renaissance Venice, smart ambitious women became courtesans and lived life on their own terms. Sort of. It would all be great except for wars, plagues and that pesky Inquisition.
Dangerous Liaisons - John Malkovich and Glenn Close give a graduate level seminar in romantic intrigue. We'll never be as good as the French, they've got a 4-century head start.
Don Juan DeMarco - Johnny Depp thinks he's Don Juan and that's good enough for me.
Down with Love - There is a selection of fabulous Doris Day/Rock Hudson flicks on the classics page, and any one would be a perfect warm-up to this retro remake starring Renee Zellweger as Doris and Ewan MacGregor as Rock. David Hyde Pierce plays Tony Randall and Tony Randall cameos for good measure. The fashion! The decor! The fake-fake cinematography! Even a sassy new take on the classic split-screen phone conversation.
Emma - Chick-Flick screenplay phenom Jane Austen comes up with another fabulous movie. Gwyneth Paltrow in the role that snagged her Brad Pitt.
Fire - Deepa Mehta created a powerful classic tale of forbidden love amidst family burdens. Lush and moving.
Four Weddings and a Funeral - Andie McDowell is ok, but Hugh Grant is the reason to rent this favorite.
French Kiss - Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan in Paris with jewelry.
The Full Monty - Downsized steel workers in Britain regain their self-esteem by becoming male strippers. They start out a rag-tag bunch of losers and end up a sexy, cohesive strip team. Warm, wonderful. Guys, take your favorite gal and then go home afterwards and dance for her!
The Guru - This movie is just so damn cute. Classic cross-cultural love story with the hip Indian immigrant story so popular now. Throw in a media frenzy, swinging dance numbers and a surprise alternative love angle and this is a winner.
Hunchback of Notre Dame - The Disney version features a sultrily-drawn Esmeralda and gut-wrenchingly evil Frolo. Actual pre-Vatican II Catholic Latin in the intense "hellfire" scene.
An Ideal Husband - It's possible that no one understands women like gay men, and Oscar Wilde adds to the proof. Man: "I'd like to give you some advice." Woman: "Never give a woman something she can't wear in the evening." I'd like to send this video to every man I've ever dated along with their Christmas gifts of cordless phones, ratchet sets, TV trays and cell phone batteries. Great dialogue, great acting.
In and Out - Kevin Kline rises to his usual level of hilarity when the entire free world finds out he's gay before he does. Tom Selleck is a hunky gay TV personality, but I don't think he needs to be worried about being "trapped" in gay roles. One of those ultimate "feel-good" movies, but you'll never listen to a self-help tape again without thinking of Kline in his flannel shirt and boots.
In the Cut - Ok, take a deep breath, but this *is* a chick flick. Think 9-1/2 weeks meets Law and Order. Mark Ruffalo is the guy every woman dreams of - a man who knows his way around in bed, and he explains how he learned. Meg Ryan is so sexy, you'll forget all about You've Got Mail. Yes, it's violent, but the violence is off screen. Yes, it's sexy and that is on screen front and center. Take a deep breath. And you can even bring a guy to this one!
Kama Sutra - Multicultural entry into the chick-flick sweepstakes. Luscious cinematography in a luscious story of two women in India, their training in love, and the society who does them wrong. Sultry and fable-like.
Kissing Jessica Stein - SJF seeking SWM finds SWF seeking SF. Hilarity ensues. Pathos follows. Loving family saves the day. Yes, it ends the way you think it is going to end, but gets there via a much happier path. And I had no idea you could layer lipstick, that must be where lipstick lesbian comes from.
L.A. Confidential - Some bittersweet romance, a lot of great film noir ambiance in 1950's Los Angeles. Superb story, great acting, intricate character relationships. Good first date movie, great film.
The Little Mermaid - The classic heroine in the classic love story except in this one she needs legs to get her man. The music really did deserve that Academy Award.
Lone Star - Intense love story masquerading as an intense murder mystery. Fabulous.
Love, Actually - Every type of love story, every type of ending, all rolled up in one masterpiece. Hugh Grant is the Prime Minister of my dreams, but the rest of the cast is superb as well. Happy kleenex alert in the very first scene lets you know where this is headed. Who knew there were lobsters at the Nativity?
Mrs. Winterbourne - Combine While You Were Sleeping (outrageous mistaken identity after tragedy), Sabrina (kind brother/mean brother) and Pretty Woman (makeover scene!) for a wonderfully predictable romantic comedy. White trash new mom captures the hearts of rich dysfunctional family after she is mistakenly assumed to be the widow of their son.
Monsoon Wedding - Modern love with a Bollywood twist as an arranged marriage struggles to bloom amidst adultery, incest, buffoonery and enough meddling relatives to fill the cast of Gandhi, exactly and approximately. No marigolds were harmed in the making of this film.
Mulan - Girl Power may be all the rage, but Mulan still has to dress like a boy to bring honor to her family. A failure as a daughter, she doesn't have much to lose as a son. Eddie Murphy is way funky as the voice of sidekick Mushu, but Grandmother Fa steals every scene she's in: "Pray to the ancestors for luck? How lucky can they be, they're dead!" In the ironic cross-dressing finale, Samurai warriors in drag (a la those babes in the Bud Lite commercials) bring it all back full circle to Girl Power.
My Best Friends's Wedding - Julia Roberts tries to break up the wedding of the man she's decided she finally loves. The guy is kinda a zero, but easy on the eyes and the supporting characters are hilarious. Great soundtrack and that famous "non-hollywood" ending.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding - A love as sweet as baklava needs to survive the classic culture clash on the way to the altar. Plastic slipcovers, bridesmaids outfits from the 4th ring of hell, a cake with a hole in it, and waves of cousins all named Nick keep things lively right through to the big day.
Never Been Kissed - High School was most definitely NOT the best years of my life, we weren't even cool enough to think up Denominator sweatshirts. Drew Barrymore gets to go back and do it again, disproving the notion that things would be better if only we knew then what we know now. The gorgeous kids are still gorgeous, the cool kids are still cool and the geeks are still just geeks notwithstanding their superior earning potential. Way, way romantic even with the parts that are painful for those of us still in touch with our inner teenager.
9-1/2 Weeks - Mickey Rourke is sexy-evil, Kim Basinger is sexy-pouty, the soundtrack is sexy-sexy.
Notting Hill - The camera just loves Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts and it shows in this classic romantic comedy where the glamorous meets the good-hearted. Starving bookstore owner Grant meets mega-star Roberts and proceeds to bumble his way into her heart. Eccentric cast of supporting characters adds some variety, but the story line is never in doubt. Hugh plays himself and Julia plays herself and they were made for each other.
Object of My Affection - Jennifer Aniston falls in love with very sweet, very cute, very gay Paul Rudd. She thinks he would be the perfect father for her child and he probably would. If you believe that hearts have a mind of their own and plenty of room, you'll know that things end up for the best. Scene-stealer alert: latina mom at the community center.
Only You - Marisa Tomei in Italy looking for the man of her dreams. Robert Downey Jr. has every woman's fantasy: access to fabulous shoes at wholesale.
Out of Sight - Hot George Clooney as the world's most gracious bank robber and hot-hot Jennifer Lopez as the federal agent who first discover that spark in the trunk of a car during a botched jail break. Trademark Soderbergh style, including the stop frames, not-quite-flashback time sequencing and a love scene that fogs the screen. Lots of cops-n-robbers stuff for the guys but that's just filler for the main plot. New chick-flick category: romantic comedy noir.
Possession - A love that transcends centuries weaves Victorian and modern passions into a great romance. My only complaint: no hot and heavy Gwyneth Paltrow/Aaron Eckhart love scene. And please, can we get past the point where every lesbian in a movie has to commit suicide? Please?
Pretty in Pink - Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy and a great 80's soundtrack.
Pretty Woman - Richard Gere and Julia Roberts do Pygmalion in Beverly Hills.
Sabrina - Either the classic with Bogart and Hepburn, or the re-make with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond will do just fine.
Sense and Sensiblity - Emma Thompson in the Jane Austen classic. If you didn't read the book in high school, this is way better.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape - Intense Steven Soderbergh flick. Laura San Giacomo is so fine.
Shakespeare in Love - What a great movie. What's it about? Well, there's this nurse....Gwyneth Paltrow is the undisputed reining queen of the costume drama. Shakespeare hasn't had this much life since the groundlings. Non-stop romance, literary inside jokes, gorgeous guy, gorgeous gal. My only complaint - Ben Affleck should have had a bigger role.
She's the One - Funny film from the makers of The Brothers McMullen about two brothers, the one less-than-wonderful woman they love and the wonderful women who love them. Great hair, great clothes (on the women; one guy wears the same shirt the whole movie).
Sixteen Candles - Classic Molly Ringwald.
Steel Magnolias - All-Star female cast handles life's tribulations in the South. Shirley MacLaine is spectacular.
Thelma and Louise - Reaches in and grabs the angry woman in us all.
The Thomas Crown Affair - Priceless art, a sexy insurance bounty hunter, a bored business tycoon, and the required cop with a heart of gold. Great plot twists that never get in the way of the romance. Pierce Brosnan plays himself - say no more.
While You Were Sleeping - Classic love triangle with a woman and two brothers - see Sabrina above. Bill Pullman is a dreamboat. Instant chick-flick classic.
Wimbledon - Sport and romance can often make a lively combination and tennis fans will enjoy the atmosphere of the film shot during a live Wimbledon tournament. Sassy American falls for charming Brit, the media swarms and love is professed over ESPN. Not as good as Bull Durham, but then tennis will never be as romantic as baseball...
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton - Bad boy heartthrob falls in love with beautiful Piggly-Wiggly clerk. (Could happen, Michele Pfieffer was discovered working as a clerk at an LA grocery store.) Topher Grace plays his 70's Show role with pretty much the same wardrobe. Nathan Lane and Sean Hays are driven and shameless and funny.
Working Girl - Melanie Griffith fakes her way to the top of the corporate ladder and finds Harrison Ford.
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