Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK

The romcom queens return! Can Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock revive the ailing genre?

Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock
Hollywood heartbreakers … Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock. Composite: Guardian Design; Allstar/Columbia Pictures; Touchstone Pictures; Warner Bros

Name: Romcom queens.

Arrival: Forthcoming.

Appearance: Older, wiser, ready to reclaim the throne.

Oh God, I thought we’d killed the romcom. We had – and for good reason. It had become old and stale, with every new film lazily hitting beats that had already been played better. A bit like where we are with superhero movies.

Then what’s all the fuss about this romcom What Happens Later? Oh, Meg Ryan is going to star and direct.

And? Look at her CV! When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss, You’ve Got Mail, Joe Versus the Volcano … She even played a romcom lead in Innerspace, for crying out loud. The genre is in her blood.

So why did she stop making them? Probably for fear of being typecast. But doesn’t the phrase “Meg Ryan romcom” make you happy? Doesn’t it feel like slipping into a comfortable pair of pyjamas?

What’s the film about? Ryan and David Duchovny play ex-lovers who find themselves reunited after decades apart when they are stuck at a snowed-in airport.

Sounds boring. Shut your dirty mouth. It sounds terrific. Just think, you will get to see all of Ryan’s trademark charm and hot-headed sparkiness, but tempered with a lifetime of love, loss and regret. It has the potential to be amazing.

I suppose romcoms are wasted on the young. Exactly. Veteran actors have so much more life experience to bring to the parts. This may explain why others are returning to the genre.

They are? Yes! Later this year, Julia Roberts will star in Ticket to Paradise, a romcom in which she will play George Clooney’s ex-wife. It’s her first romcom since Mother’s Day in 2016. Also, Sandra Bullock just released The Lost City, a kind of Romancing the Stone update in which she falls in love with Channing Tatum. It’s her first romcom since The Proposal in 2009.

Anyone else? Jennifer Lopez just released Marry Me, but we don’t talk about that.

We don’t? Have you seen it?

No. Well, take it from someone who has: it’s best to pretend it never existed.

Oh. But hey, isn’t all this great? All the original romcom queens are returning! They have grown up with their audiences and are ready to make something warm and familiar, but tinged with a newfound complexity. This could be the rebirth of the genre.

Do say: “All the best romcom stars are back.”

Don’t say: “Is Paris Hilton available for The Hottie & the Nottie 2?”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.