FEBRUARY 17 — It’s the middle of February, so we all know that love is the selling point for all sorts of businesses out there, including the movie industry.

In addition to restaurants and cafes offering all sorts of dinner date packages and street sellers shoving flowers in the faces of anyone resembling a couple, it is around this time of the year that we will see a proliferation of romance and romantic comedies flooding the marketplace, be it in cinemas or, as is the norm for the last few years, on streaming platforms.

Whether these films are good or not is really a matter of taste, as the rom-com genre really doesn’t require any innovation to be good.

It’s a genre that’s more like comfort food, revelling in that warm familiar feeling instead of inviting contempt for the formulaic nature of most of its films. I’ve managed to catch a few of these during the past week, and only stopped mid-way during one of them, the title of which I won’t mention or talk about here.


If you’re looking to get cozy with a loved one and enjoy a fun, breezy rom-com on the couch, here are a few new options that should do the trick.

A scene from ‘Anyone But You’, starring Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney. — Screen capture via YouTube/Sony Pictures Entertainment
A scene from ‘Anyone But You’, starring Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney. — Screen capture via YouTube/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Anyone But You


Released in US cinemas in the last few days of December 2023 but released on digital just in time for the Valentine’s Day season, Anyone But You has received pretty mixed reviews, but I’m firmly in the camp that thinks that this is one of the better and more refreshing rom-coms of the last few years.

It stars Glen Powell (of Set It Up fame) and Sydney Sweeney (of Euphoria fame) as the film’s lead couple Ben and Beatrice, who had a magical night together but immediately made a mistake the morning after and end up hating each other from then on.

Forced to attend the wedding of their loved ones in Australia, things take plenty of wacky and ridiculous turns (which I won’t spoil for you), but director Will Gluck (who also did Easy A and Friends With Benefits) manages to deliver not only a loose retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, but a hugely entertaining modern rom-com that will remind you of the good ones from this genre from the 90s that’s also spiced up with the kind of raunchiness that, again seems to have only been allowed to be shown onscreen in the 90s. Easily the pick of the bunch this week, let’s hope this one gets the big audience it deserves.


If Anyone But You plays like a loose retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, then this new rom-com from Amazon Prime Video is quite clearly a loose retelling of Cinderella, with elements of The Devil Wears Prada thrown into the mix as well.

Headlined by Camila Mendes (star of films like Dangerous Lies and The Perfect Date) as Ana, a low-level trainee at a big New York auction house, who suddenly gets the chance of a lifetime as she’s handpicked to be the third assistant to her scary and highly successful boss Claire (Marisa Tomei) for a work trip to London.

A chance encounter with a clearly rich Brit guy, Will (Archie Renaux), on her flight to London leads to a web of white lies spun by Ana, as she tries to impress the guy and lets on that she is the New York boss of the auction house.

As is the norm in movies like this, things will eventually come to a head, and Ana risks losing both her job and Will if she continues with this charade, and the movie takes a surprising turn when resolving this by taking the refreshingly feminist approach of women supporting and uplifting other women. Enjoyable and ultimately quite meaningful, this was a pretty pleasant surprise.


Netflix is also in on the Valentine’s Day rom-com action with Players, a mixture of rom-com and heist movie conventions that I’m sure will delight a lot of people out there.

It stars Gina Rodriguez (of Jane the Virgin fame) as Mack, a Brooklyn-based sports reporter who heads up a crew of fellow journalists who are armed with a huge playbook filled with schemes or “plays” designed to score a one-night stand for any member of their gang whose turn for one is up.

It’s in the planning and execution of these “plays” that the movie can sometimes feel like watching a heist flick, which is a pretty different thrill than the ones we usually get when watching a rom-com, and gives this one its unique flavour.

Alas, one can’t remain a player forever, as Mack finds out after bedding award-winning journalist Nick (Tom Ellis) and decides that she now wants to convert this one-night stand into a romance, with the full support and help from her crew.

Director Trish Sie (who did Pitch Perfect 3) keeps things breezy and snappy, diving into the planning and execution of the crew’s schemes as if she’s directing Ocean’s Eleven, but never forgetting the human element that makes rom-coms such a beloved genre.

Another pleasant surprise, this year’s Valentine’s Day offerings have turned out to be not bad at all!

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.