Julia Roberts Romantic Comedies, Ranked


It’s laborious to overstate how a lot of a Hollywood icon Julia Roberts is. A film star in each sense of the phrase, she has a sleek, heat, and magnetic presence that permeates all of her roles, from Metal Magnolias to the Oceans trilogy to Mona Lisa Smile and Erin Brockovich, which earned her an Academy Award in 2001. Above all, nonetheless, Roberts made a reputation for herself by her decades-spanning work within the beloved, albeit typically disparaged, romantic comedy style.

Ever since her star-making turns in Mystic Pizza (1988) and Fairly Girl (1990), she has confirmed an important ingredient in turning seemingly primary and tacky tales into totally engrossing, extremely profitable movies. Roberts has been commanding the display for nicely over 30 years, and whereas she excels in dramas like Brockovich and thrillers like Conspiracy Principle, no sort of movie has given the highlight to her charisma and star energy higher than the rom-com. It has lengthy been declared that the romantic comedy—at one level probably the most highly effective car for Hollywood actors—has been useless for the reason that 2000s, however Roberts, like Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum with The Lost City earlier this 12 months, has thankfully returned to breathe new life into the shape with director Ol Parker’s Ticket to Paradise, reverse one other icon of the style, George Clooney.

Ticket to Paradise, which hits theaters on Oct. 21, marks Roberts’ first rom-com main function in almost 20 years (her words, not mine), so there’s no higher time to replicate on her monumental contributions to the style. To have a good time the event, TIME watched and ranked each entry within the expansive Julia Roberts Romantic Comedy Cinematic Universe.

Learn extra: 20 of the Sweetest, Funniest, and Most Outrageous Meet-Cutes in Rom-Com History

16. Mom’s Day (2016)

The late Garry Marshall’s foray into romantic comedies undoubtedly peaked early, with Fairly Girl. Each single collaboration with Roberts that adopted was worse than the final. Mom’s Day is definitely probably the most unbearably terrible entry of their rom-com saga; it feels a lot like a fever dream it nearly enters horror territory. An ensemble comedy co-starring Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, and Jason Sudeikis, Mom’s Day—about how this group of interconnected characters prepares to have a good time the vacation—is chock-full of jokes that don’t land. Worst of all, Roberts, who performs a Residence Procuring Community star promoting jewellery and is adjoining, slightly than central, to the movie’s romantic storylines, wears a distractingly haunting bobbed wig, which she apparently introduced upon herself for some cause.

15. Valentine’s Day (2010)

With the likes of Anne Hathaway, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, and Patrick Demspey included in its stacked ensemble, Marshall’s vacation rom-com—the primary of three with Mom’s Day coming final and New Yr’s Eve sandwiched in between—looks like a film crafted in a lab for the only goal of seeing what number of A-list actors circa 2010 you may squeeze into one solid. Weaving out and in of the lives of a dozen or so characters, some in relationships and others in additional difficult romance-adjacent conditions, it tells the tales of the varied methods they navigate and have a good time the eponymous day of affection. Valentine’s Day manages to characteristic some candy moments, however they by no means come collectively to type something even remotely memorable. Fortunately, Roberts will get the appropriate finish of the stick by being paired up with Bradley Cooper, regardless of each being disappointingly underutilized. However not even their banter is sufficient to save Valentine’s Day.

14. Larry Crowne (2011)

Directed and co-written by Tom Hanks, this comedy tells the story of Hanks’ titular middle-aged man who decides to enroll in group school after being fired from his job at a Walmart-like retailer. Among the many many unrealistic issues that happen all through its 98-minute runtime—like all of his classmates coming collectively to assist him transfer out of his home—a real spotlight is when Larry will get requested to hitch a scooter gang spearheaded by Wilmer Valderama. Roberts performs Larry’s speech class instructor, Mercedes Tainot (a stellar title, I’ll give it that), an incessantly sad and borderline alcoholic girl in a loveless marriage who—shocker!—begins to develop emotions for Larry. Whereas a heartwarming and nostalgic movie on the floor, its humor feels painfully pressured and the romance between Mercedes and Larry is lackluster and devoid of chemistry. Roberts, entertaining as all the time although, places the “Crown” in Larry Crowne.

Learn extra: The 15 Best Romantic Comedies from the Early 2000s

13. I Love Bother (1994)

Penned by the rom-com mastermind Nancy Meyers and helmed by Charles Shyer, I Love Bother is a mix of screwball comedy and conspiracy thriller that follows rival Chicago reporters who’re pressured to work collectively to uncover a bovine hormone conspiracy. Filled with goofy, half-baked humor and cliches, it’s a run-of-the-mill ‘90s comedy that would have maybe benefited from leaning extra closely into its romantic layers. Roberts and co-star Nick Nolte famously didn’t get alongside on set, to the extent that lots of their scenes collectively have been filmed with stand-ins. The pair, unsurprisingly, feels incompatible, though their off-screen stress typically works of their favor.

12. Eat Pray Love (2010)

Ryan Murphy’s 2010 adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir of the identical title had a hefty worldwide field workplace haul of $204 million, however that quantity doesn’t replicate its high quality. The story follows Gilbert who, within the wake of a messy divorce, decides to go on a year-long journey world wide in an try to search out herself. It barely skirts the road of being a rom-com within the conventional sense—there are a number of laugh-out-loud moments however it’s centered extra on Elizabeth’s self-discovery slightly than discovering love (though she does fall for Javier Bardem—as a result of who wouldn’t—therefore its inclusion on this listing). Eat Pray Love wouldn’t have had an opportunity of working with out Roberts, who imbues the onscreen Gilbert with a pure attraction. And whereas it might not fulfill your cravings for a gripping rom-com, it’ll undoubtedly make you crave some pasta.

11. Runaway Bride (1999)

Reuniting Roberts together with her Fairly Girl troupe, Richard Gere and director Garry Marshall, 1999’s Runaway Bride was an enormous box-office hit that was largely unable to repeat the magic of their first collaboration. Right here, Gere performs Ike Graham, a journalist from town who’s writing an article on Roberts’ small-town Maggie Carpenter, who’s infamous for leaving grooms on the altar and is predicted to ditch one other. Roberts is delightfully chaotic within the movie, charming each man who crosses her path, together with Ike. Had it not been powered by America’s then-favorite duo and character actors like Joan Cusack and Rita Wilson, Runaway Bride would doubtless have struggled to remain afloat.

10. One thing to Discuss About (1995)

Marketed as a light-hearted comedy about remarriage, One thing to Discuss About solely borders on being a rom-com. It’s equally, if no more, involved in exploring the dramatic sides of assorted relationships, from a dishonest husband to a sophisticated father-daughter dynamic to a robust sisterly bond. Veering between comedy and melodrama, the film facilities on Roberts’ Grace King Bichon, a spouse and mom who’s left heartbroken after the invention of her husband Eddie’s (Dennis Quaid) affair forces her to face the problems in her marriage. Beneath its superficial exterior, One thing to Discuss About is a considerate examine of feminine empowerment and the method of rebuilding belief in a relationship. Regardless of Roberts’ attraction, Kyra Sedgwick, who performs Grace’s extra unbiased sister Emma Rae and who obtained a Golden Globe nomination for her efficiency, walks away because the film’s MVP, simply stealing each scene she’s in.

9. America’s Sweethearts (2001)

America’s Sweethearts, which stars John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Billy Crystal (who additionally serves as a co-writer), bears all of the hallmarks of a typical mid-budget flick from the early aughts—entangled romances, Hollywood drama, and jokes that definitely haven’t aged nicely. Roberts performs Kathleen “Kiki” Harrison, the assistant and sister to Zeta-Jones’ film star Gwen Harrison, who’s going by a highly-publicized breakup with fellow megastar Eddie Thomas (Cusack) as they try to advertise a disastrous upcoming film. Shock shock, Kathleen harbors emotions for Eddie, and far of the movie is spent watching the sisters compete for his love and a spotlight. It’s unlucky that on the peak of her profession, Roberts is given a supporting function that lacks substance in a film that isn’t pretty much as good because it might have been. The entire affair is a case of the appropriate ensemble with the fallacious materials.

8. Duplicity (2009)

Tony Gilroy’s follow-up to his debut masterpiece Michael Clayton comes 5 years after Mike Nichols first paired Roberts with the intensely good-looking Clive Owen within the superior Nearer. Duplicity is the kind of film that makes you are feeling like you don’t have any clue what’s occurring 95 % of the time, however select to stay with due to its wildly charismatic main stars. The pair play former lovers and ex-government operatives-turned-corporate rivals who resolve to workforce up and con their employers. The dazzling chemistry between Roberts and Owen is Duplicity’s saving grace. As they try to outsmart and backstab one another, it nearly makes you neglect how convoluted the plot round them is.

7. Everybody Says I Love You (1996)

There are various who’ve sworn off Woody Allen’s motion pictures as allegations of sexual assault have lengthy swirled across the filmmaker. And there are others who proceed to understand his physique of labor and the performances his movies have introduced forth on the display. On this case—his first and solely musical rom-com—there are various (see, along with Roberts: Alan Alda, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn, Natalie Portman, Natasha Lyonne). The film follows the difficult lives of an enormous upper-class household taking part in out throughout New York, Paris, and Venice. It’s an homage to traditional Hollywood musicals, stuffed with borderline (however not fairly) unbearable characters. Roberts performs an sad American residing in Venice who will get wooed by Allen’s depressed divorcee. He wins her affection by numerous, admittedly considerably creepy ways. Roberts brings her standard attraction, even when the viewing expertise, for some, is compromised.

Learn extra: 20 Romantic Comedies That Put a New Spin on an Old Genre

6. The Mexican (2001)

It might be straightforward to write down off Gore Verbinski’s motion rom-com as a deceptive mess (it was bought to audiences as a street comedy). Nevertheless it’s truly an uncommon movie that doesn’t match throughout the confines of the standard rom-coms Roberts was recognized for on the time. Though stars Brad Pitt and Roberts are stored aside for a lot of the film, their ardour and chemistry shines by within the moments they share onscreen. Whereas The Mexican spends far an excessive amount of time centered on Pitt’s seek for a treasured vintage pistol for the mob, it in the end belongs solely to Roberts, as his estranged girlfriend, and James Gandolfini’s homosexual hitman, who bond after he kidnaps her on her solution to Las Vegas.

5. Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Maybe it’s the paucity of excellent up to date rom-coms speaking, however Ticket to Paradise is an excellent romp that satisfies our cravings and simply may restore our religion within the style. Starring Roberts and frequent collaborator George Clooney, the premise goes as follows: a pair that has been bitterly divorced for 20 years are pressured to patch issues up when their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) graduates from legislation faculty and will get unexpectedly engaged whereas on trip in Bali. As these items go, they step by step start to take pleasure in (or at the least tolerate) one another’s firm. Ticket to Paradise doesn’t try to reinvent the style however nonetheless manages to be refreshing and enjoyable as hell from begin to end. The pair’s pure chemistry is greatest placed on show in a beer pong scene set to Home of Ache’s “Leap Round” as they completely bounce off one another whereas hilariously exhibiting off their drunken dance strikes. Rom-coms are not of their flop period due to the facility duo that’s Julia Roberts and George Clooney (and MVP Billie Lourd, who performs Lily’s greatest pal).

4. Mystic Pizza (1988)

The film that began all of it, Mystic Pizza facilities on three younger greatest mates working at a pizza parlor within the titular small seaside city in Connecticut as they navigate the obstacles of life. Starring alongside fellow-up-and-comers Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor, Roberts performs Daisy Arujo, an outspoken and carefree girl who falls for a rich man. Specializing in the candy friendship at its coronary heart simply as a lot as the varied romantic threads, Mystic Pizza is a delightfully comforting entry within the rom-com canon. The 1988 breakthrough served as a significant turning level in Roberts’ profession and serves as lasting proof that she was all the time destined to change into a significant Hollywood darling.

3. Fairly Girl (1990)

A candy, free-spirited intercourse employee named Vivian Ward (a fiery, curly-haired Roberts) runs into Edward Lewis (Richard Gere, in his peak as a number one man), a lonely and obscenely wealthy businessman who hires her to be his escort for every week. Naturally, they fall in love in that quick time regardless of their obvious variations. Garry Marshall’s 1990 movie, impressed by Pygmalion, is a whirlwind romance for the books, and the chemistry between Roberts and Gere is electrical. In its earlier levels, Pretty Woman was supposed to be a grittier, darker model of the extra comedic story it turned out to be, and whereas that’s doubtless for the higher, it has faced criticism within the ensuing years for its place on intercourse work and therapy of sexual assault. However for all its faults, it stays lauded as one of many best fashionable rom-coms, and it catapulted Roberts into superstardom and cemented her as family title. The movie scored her a second Academy Award nomination, one 12 months after receiving her first for Metal Magnolias.

2. Notting Hill (1999)

A moodboard staple and mainstay on Tumblr and Pinterest, Notting Hill is what desires are fabricated from. Actually, who hasn’t dreamt of falling in love with somebody they met in a cute little bookstore? Within the 1999 movie written by rom-com grasp Richard Curtis, an American film star named Anna Scott walks right into a quaint London journey bookshop owned by mesmerizing hopeless romantic William Thacker (performed by Hugh Grant, everlasting heartthrob and king of ‘90s rom-coms). Like all conventional rom-com goes, the 2 polar opposites appeal to and attempt to make issues work regardless of their vastly completely different existence. Roberts was recent off the success of My Greatest Good friend’s Wedding ceremony and maybe the one Hollywood actress of that period who might completely fill the footwear of such a meta function. She and Grant are a match made in heaven, and Notting Hill’s meet-cute stays one for the books over 20 years on. It’s unimaginable to think about a line in cinematic historical past as superb as “I’m only a woman, standing in entrance of a boy, asking him to like her.”

1. My Greatest Good friend’s Wedding ceremony (1997)

After a string of subpar rom-coms within the mid-’90s, Roberts made her triumphant comeback because the undisputed queen of the much-adored style with My Greatest Good friend’s Wedding ceremony. She performs a meals critic who, after coming to the belief of her emotions for her greatest pal (performed by a dashing Dermot Mulroney), units out to sabotage his wedding ceremony to a younger school pupil performed by Cameron Diaz. Diaz’s bubbly, terrible-at-karaoke Kimmy makes the scenario trickier when she asks Roberts’ Julianne to be her maid of honor. Roberts performs a heroine we like to hate; her actions are really despicable however she’s so convincingly charming that it’s laborious to not root for her. A deliciously chaotic movie from begin to end, there’s no higher showcase for Roberts’ comedic chops and pitch-perfect line supply than My Greatest Good friend’s Wedding ceremony, which rightfully earns its place within the pantheon of traditional rom-coms and on the high of this rating.

Jihane Bousfiha is a tradition author primarily based in Florida. Her work has appeared in W Journal, Vulture, The Each day Beast, Paste Journal, and The Minimize.

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