Taylor Watches Rom-Coms: Vol. 1
The good, the bad, and the beautiful (because there's never any ugly in these movies)
Hi! I’m Taylor. I love movies, especially those in the Romantic Comedy section of my local video store. Despite how much I love rom-coms, I rarely make time for them because of all of the competing projects I work on and new movies that are coming out. In this new series, I will be watching new rom-coms, new-to-me rom-coms, and reflecting on some personal favorites. Thanks for joining me.
Falling for Christmas (2022)
A newly engaged and spoiled hotel heiress finds herself in the care of a handsome, blue-collar lodge owner and his precocious daughter after getting total amnesia in a skiing accident.
I’ve always hated the term “basic.” Why make the popularity of something a bad thing? If something is popular and loved by the masses, then surely it’s more redeemable than not. Take Starbucks for example - it’s a standard, good, reliable cup of joe for your morning commute. Just because it’s accessible to most people, and found delicious by many, that shouldn’t be a bad thing!
I feel similarly about cheesy holiday movies. I often go to the movies nowadays and everybody is trying to do something revolutionary, make history in some way. Not Hallmark. Not Lifetime. They’ve found the formula and they’re sticking to it.
Boy meets girl. One has a big city job. One stayed in their hometown to run the family business. They meet. They love. They fight. They love again. Snow falls. It’s Christmas.
Falling for Christmas, despite being a Netflix Original and not one of a cable variety, stays similarly within the mold, just with a substantially bigger budget.
It’s essentially the Christmas version of Overboard (1987), which is one of my all-time favorite childhood favorites, so I was instantly drawn in. That, on top of Lindsay Lohan relaunching her film career with this movie, was enough to set expectations high… maybe too high.
The bloated budget seemed to result in some poorly executed visual effects like blotchy and blurry green screens, obvious body doubles, and a lot of fake snow. They had a lot of money, just not enough to do what they wanted to well.
Lohan is radiant (Literally! She looks so good!) and charming as Sierra Belmont. The rest of the cast is perfectly fine, though there is a notable lack of chemistry between Lohan and Chord (ew lol) Overstreet. Rumor has it they disliked each other so much irl that they used a body double for Lohan in the kissing scenes. Yikes!
This movie underwhelmed me, I can’t lie. But it was perfectly fun and engaging for a chill evening in front of the tv. It won’t become a holiday staple for me, but I do hope it makes Lindsay Lohan a Hollywood staple again!
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
An advice columnist, Andie Anderson, tries pushing the boundaries of what she can write about in her new piece about how to get a man to leave you in 10 days. Her editor, Lana, loves it, and Andie goes off to find a man she can use for the experiment. Enter executive Ben Berry, who is so confident in his romantic prowess that he thinks he can make any woman fall in love with him in 10 days. When Andie and Ben meet, their plans backfire.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was an all-timer in my household growing up, and it was one my mom and I went back to all the time. Very early on into my relationship with Patrick I made the disturbing discovery that he had never seen this gem of a film, and it was my mission to change that. Five years later, and we finally got a chance to sit down and watch it.
They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Kate Hudson is mesmerizing as Andie Anderson and Matthew McConaughey equally transcendent as Benjamin Barry. They have a palpable chemistry that equally shares the screen at all times- one does not outshine the other. I used to think McConaughey could have chemistry with a plank of wood, and then I watched Failure to Launch (which failed to make its way onto this list…) and realized that was definitely not true!
I don’t know the science (or magic) behind this story, but it manages to lean in to every trope and heartfelt moment while elevating it above all the rest. I mean, their names are Andie Anderson and Benjamin Barry for crying out loud! The premise is silly! Their fight is kind of pointless! But it works and manages to stand in a league of its own regardless.
Kate Hudson is one of my favorite, dare I say most underrated, actors. I was beyond thrilled to see her play with the cast of Glass Onion, which is what sparked pushing this rewatch to the top of my watchlist. She makes me want to actually buy a pair of Fabletics leggings, and that’s saying something because I never fall for celebrity brands!
If you haven’t watched this in a while, it’s time to give it another go. Reminisce with me over one of the greatest rom-coms of the early 2000s.
Set It Up (2018)
Two overworked and underpaid assistants come up with a plan to get their bosses off their backs by setting them up with each other.
I know, I know - I’m late to the bandwagon on this one! As a self-proclaimed rom-com lover, I somehow missed out on what many people call the best of recent years (to that I say, did you not see Marry Me?).
This movie has a lot going for it, most prominently in its eclectic and star-studded cast. They’re not people I would imagine in a movie together, but it somehow works. Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch, Lucy Liu (I always forget how drop-dead gorgeous she is until she pops up in something), and Taye Diggs, with a sprinkle of Pete Davidson and Tituss Burgess. What a lineup!
With all the hype surrounding this movie, I was prepared to be blown away and for something inventive, and that’s where I went wrong. As I begin revisiting rom-coms from the past and watching new ones, I realize that the ones I grew up with… weren’t very good movies. Mostly. They’re fine movies with adorable, handsome, charming people that make you feel mushy inside. This movie achieves all of that.
Set It Up is a movie that I enjoy more and more the longer I sit with it because it really does remind me of the movies I grew up with, just set in a new era - but it never goes hyper-new age like some other films (I’m thinking Mark, Mary, & Some Other People which is AMAZING, but nothing like what we grew up with). It stays in its lane, plays to its strength, and gets the job done in a crisp 100 minute run time.
Do I think it’s the best rom-com of recent years? I’m not willing to go that far with it yet. But it is a great watch for people who love rom-coms, even the not-so-great ones.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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Thanks for the “Set it up” commentary. I’ve been intrigued by this for a while but haven’t watched. I love rom coms. Keep it coming!