I t’s hard to overstate how much of a Hollywood icon Julia Roberts is. A movie star in every sense of the word, she has a graceful, warm, and magnetic presence that permeates all of her roles, from Steel Magnolias to the Oceans trilogy to Mona Lisa Smile and Erin Brockovich , which earned her an Academy Award in 2001. Above all, however, Roberts made a name for herself through the girl decades-spanning work in the beloved, albeit sometimes disparaged, romantic comedy genre.
Ever since her star-making turns in Mystic Pizza (1988) plus Pretty Woman (1990), she has proven an essential ingredient in turning seemingly basic and cheesy stories into fully engrossing, highly successful films. Roberts offers been commanding the screen for well over 30 years, and while the girl excels within dramas like Brockovich plus thrillers such as Conspiracy Theory , no type of film has given the spotlight to her charisma and star power better than the particular rom-com. It has long been declared that the romantic comedy—at one point the most powerful vehicle for Hollywood actors—has already been dead since the 2000s, but Roberts, like Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum with The Lost City earlier this year, has thankfully returned in order to breathe new life into the form with director Ol Parker’s Ticket to Paradise , opposite another symbol of the genre, George Clooney .
Ticket to Paradise , which hits theaters on Oct. 21, marks Roberts’ first rom-com leading role in nearly 20 years (her words , not mine), so there’s no much better time to reflect on her monumental contributions to the particular genre. To celebrate the occasion, PERIOD watched and ranked each entry inside the expansive Julia Roberts Romantic Comedy Cinematic Universe.
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16. Mother’s Day (2016)
The late Garry Marshall’s foray in to romantic comedies undoubtedly peaked early, along with Pretty Lady . Every single collaboration with Roberts that followed was worse than the last. Mother’s Day is certainly probably the most unbearably awful entry in their rom-com saga; it feels so much like a fever dream it almost enters horror territory. An ensemble comedy co-starring Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, and Jason Sudeikis, Moms Day —about how this group of interconnected characters prepares in order to celebrate the particular holiday—is chock-full of jokes that don’t land. Worst of all, Roberts, who plays the Home Shopping Network celebrity selling jewelry and will be adjacent, rather than central, to the film’s passionate storylines, wears a distractingly haunting bobbed wig, which she apparently brought upon herself for some reason.
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 holiday rom-com—the first associated with three with Mother’s Day time coming last and New Year’s Eve sandwiched inside between—seems want a movie crafted in a lab for the sole purpose of seeing how many A-list actors circa 2010 you could squeeze into 1 cast. Weaving in and out of the lives of a dozen or so figures, some in relationships and others in more complicated romance-adjacent situations, this tells the particular stories associated with the various ways they navigate and celebrate the eponymous day of love. Valentine’s Day manages to feature some sweet moments, but they never come together to type anything even remotely memorable. Thankfully, Roberts gets the right end associated with the stick by being paired up with Bradley Cooper, despite both becoming disappointingly underutilized. But not even their banter is usually enough to save Valentine’s Time .
14. Larry Crowne (2011)
Directed plus co-written by Tom Hanks , this comedy tells the story of Hanks’ titular middle-aged man that decides to enroll in community college after getting fired through his job at the Walmart-like store. Among the many unrealistic things that occur throughout its 98-minute runtime—like all his classmates coming together in order to help him move out of their house—a true highlight is definitely when Larry gets asked to join a scooter gang spearheaded simply by Wilmer Valderama. Roberts plays Larry’s speech class teacher, Mercedes Tainot (a stellar name, I’ll give it that), an incessantly unhappy and borderline alcoholic woman inside a loveless marriage who—shocker! —begins to develop feelings with regard to Larry. While a heartwarming and sentimental film on the surface, its humor feels painfully forced and the romance between Mercedes plus Larry can be lackluster and devoid of chemistry. Roberts, entertaining as always though, puts the “Crown” in Larry Crowne .
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13. I Love Trouble (1994)
Penned by the rom-com mastermind Nancy Meyers plus helmed by Charles Shyer, I Love Trouble is a blend of screwball comedy and conspiracy thriller that follows rival Chicago reporters who are forced to work together in order to uncover the bovine hormone conspiracy. Full of goofy, half-baked humor plus cliches, it’s a run-of-the-mill ‘90s humor that can have perhaps benefited from leaning a lot more heavily directly into its intimate layers. Roberts and co-star Nick Nolte famously didn’t get along upon set, to the extent that many of their scenes together were filmed along with stand-ins. The particular pair, unsurprisingly, feels incompatible, although their own off-screen tension sometimes works within their favor.
12. Eat Pray Love (2010)
Ryan Murphy’s 2010 adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir associated with the same name had a hefty worldwide box office haul of $204 million, but that number does not really reflect the quality. The story comes after Gilbert who else, in the particular wake associated with a messy divorce, decides to go on a year-long journey around the world in an attempt to find their self. It barely skirts the line of being a rom-com in the traditional sense—there are a few laugh-out-loud moments but it is focused more on Elizabeth’s self-discovery rather than finding love (although the lady does fall for Javier Bardem—because who wouldn’t—hence its inclusion on this particular list). Consume Pray Love would not have had a chance of working without Roberts, who imbues the onscreen Gilbert with a natural charm. And while it may not satisfy your cravings for a gripping rom-com, it will definitely make you crave some pasta.
11. Runaway Bride (1999)
Reuniting Roberts with the girl Pretty Female troupe, Richard Gere and director Garry Marshall, 1999’s Runaway Bride-to-be was a massive box-office hit that was largely unable to repeat the magic of their first collaboration. Here, Gere performs Ike Graham, a journalist from the particular city who is writing an article on Roberts’ small-town Maggie Carpenter, that is notorious for leaving grooms at the altar and is expected in order to ditch another. Roberts is certainly delightfully chaotic within the movie, charming every single man which crosses her path, including Ike. Had it not been powered by America’s then-favorite duo and character actors such as Joan Cusack and Rita Wilson, Runaway Bride would likely have struggled to stay afloat.
10. Something to Talk About (1995)
Marketed as a light-hearted comedy about remarriage, Something to speak about only borders on being a rom-com. It is equally, if not more, interested inside exploring the dramatic sides of various relationships, from a cheating husband to a complicated father-daughter dynamic to the strong sisterly bond. Veering between humor and melodrama, the movie centers on Roberts’ Grace King Bichon, a wife plus mother who else is left heartbroken after the discovery associated with her husband Eddie’s (Dennis Quaid) affair forces the girl to face the issues in her marriage. Underneath its superficial exterior, Something in order to Talk About is a thoughtful study of female empowerment as well as the process of rebuilding trust within a relationship. Despite Roberts’ charm, Kyra Sedgwick, who also plays Grace’s more independent sister Emma Rae and who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, walks away as the movie’s MVP, easily stealing every scene she’s in.
9. America’s Sweethearts (2001)
America’s Sweethearts , which stars John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Billy Crystal (who also serves as the co-writer), bears all the particular hallmarks associated with a typical mid-budget flick from your early aughts—entangled romances, Hollywood drama, and humor that certainly haven’t aged well. Roberts plays Kathleen “Kiki” Harrison, the assistant and sister to Zeta-Jones’ movie star Gwen Harrison, which is going through a highly-publicized breakup with fellow megastar Eddie Thomas (Cusack) as they attempt to promote a disastrous upcoming movie. Surprise surprise, Kathleen harbors feelings for Eddie, and much of the film is spent watching the sisters compete for his love plus attention. It’s unfortunate that will at the particular height associated with her career, Roberts is given the supporting part that lacks substance in a film that isn’t as good as it could have been. The whole affair is a case of the correct ensemble along with the wrong material.
8. Duplicity (2009)
Tony Gilroy’s follow-up to their debut masterpiece Michael Clayton comes five years after Mike Nichols first paired Roberts with the intensely handsome Clive Owen in the superior Closer . Duplicity is the type of movie that makes you feel like you have no clue what’s going on 95 percent of the particular time, yet choose in order to stick with thanks to the wildly charismatic leading celebrities. The pair play former lovers and ex-government operatives-turned-corporate rivals whom decide to team up plus con their particular employers. The particular dazzling chemistry between Roberts and Owen is Dirty work ’s saving grace. As they attempt to outsmart and backstab each other, it almost makes a person forget exactly how convoluted the plot around them is.
7. Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
There are usually many who have sworn off Woody Allen’s movies as allegations of sexual assault have long swirled around the filmmaker. And there are others who have continue to appreciate his body of function and the performances his movies have brought forth on the display. In this case—his initial and only musical rom-com—there are usually many (see, in addition to Roberts: Alan Alda, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn, Natalie Portman, Natasha Lyonne). The film follows the particular complicated life of a massive upper-class family playing away across Brand new York, Paris, and Venice. It’s a good homage in order to classic The show biz industry musicals, full of borderline (but not quite) insufferable character types. Roberts plays an unhappy American living in Venice who gets wooed simply by Allen’s depressed divorcee. He wins her affection through various, admittedly somewhat creepy tactics. Roberts brings the girl usual elegance, even if the viewing experience, for some, is compromised.
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6. The Mexican (2001)
It may be easy to write away Gore Verbinski’s action rom-com as a misleading mess (it was sold to audiences because a road comedy). But it’s actually an unusual film that doesn’t fit within the confines from the typical rom-coms Roberts was known for at the time. Although stars Brad Pitt and Roberts are kept apart regarding most of the movie, their passion plus chemistry shines through in the moments they share onscreen. While The Mexican spends far too much time focused on Pitt’s search intended for a treasured antique pistol for the mob, this ultimately belongs entirely in order to Roberts, since his estranged girlfriend, and James Gandolfini’s gay hitman, who bond after he kidnaps her on her way to Las Vegas.
5. Window of Paradise (2022)
Perhaps it’s the particular paucity of good contemporary rom-coms talking, but Ticket to Paradise will be a wonderful romp that will satisfies our cravings plus just might restore our own faith within the genre. Starring Roberts and frequent collaborator George Clooney, the premise goes as follows: the couple that has been bitterly divorced for 20 years are forced in order to patch things up when their own daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) graduates through law school and will get hastily engaged while upon vacation within Bali. As these things go, these people gradually begin to enjoy (or at least tolerate) each other’s company. Ticket to Paradise doesn’t attempt to reinvent the genre but still manages to be refreshing and fun as hell from start to finish. The particular pair’s natural chemistry is best put on display in a beer pong scene set in order to House associated with Pain’s “Jump Around” while they perfectly bounce away from each other while hilariously showing off their particular drunken dance moves. Rom-coms are no longer within their flop era thanks to the power duo that is usually Julia Roberts and George Clooney (and MVP Billie Lourd, exactly who plays Lily’s best friend).
4. Mystic Pizza (1988)
The movie that started it almost all, Mystic Pizzas centers upon three young best friends operating at a pizza parlor in the titular small seaside town within Connecticut because they navigate the obstacles of life. Featuring alongside fellow-up-and-comers Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor, Roberts plays Daisy Arujo, an outspoken plus carefree woman who falls for a wealthy man. Focusing on the particular sweet friendship at its heart just as much since the various romantic threads, Mystic French fries is a delightfully comforting entry in the rom-com canon. The 1988 breakthrough served as a major turning point in Roberts’ career and serves as lasting proof that she was always destined to become a major Hollywood darling.
3. Pretty Girl (1990)
A sweet, free-spirited sex worker named Vivian Ward (a fiery, curly-haired Roberts) runs into Edward Lewis (Richard Gere, inside his peak as the leading man), a lonely and obscenely rich businessman who hires her to be his escort for a week. Naturally, they fall in love in that short time despite their apparent differences. Garry Marshall’s 1990 film, inspired by Pygmalion, is definitely a whirlwind romance for that books, as well as the chemistry among Roberts and Gere can be electric. In its earlier stages, Fairly Woman was intended to be a grittier, darker version associated with the a lot more comedic tale it turned out to be, and whilst that’s likely for your better, it has faced criticism in the ensuing years for its position on sex work and treatment of sexual assault. But to get all the faults, it remains lauded as one of the greatest modern rom-coms, and it catapulted Roberts straight into superstardom plus cemented the girl as household name. The particular film scored her the second Academy Award candidate selection, one 12 months after receiving her first for Steel Magnolias .
2 . Notting Hill (1999)
The moodboard staple and mainstay on Tumblr and Pinterest, Notting Hill is what dreams are made of. Literally, who hasn’t dreamt of falling within love with someone they will met in a cute little bookstore? In the 1999 movie written by rom-com master Rich Curtis, a good American superstar named Anna Scott walks into a quaint London travel bookshop owned simply by mesmerizing hopeless romantic William Thacker (played by Hugh Grant , eternal heartthrob and king of ‘90s rom-coms). Like any conventional rom-com moves, the two polar opposites attract and try in order to make points work in spite of their vastly different lifestyles. Roberts has been fresh off the success of My Best Friend’s Wedding and perhaps the only Hollywood actress of that era who could perfectly fill the shoes associated with such the meta function. She plus Grant are a match made in heaven, and Notting Hill ’s meet-cute remains one pertaining to the books over two decades on. It is impossible to think of a line in cinematic history like amazing seeing that “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. ”
1 . My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
After a string of subpar rom-coms within the mid-’90s, Roberts produced her triumphant comeback as the undisputed queen from the much-adored style with The Best Friend’s Wedding . She plays a food critic who seem to, after coming to the realization of her feelings on her best friend (played by a dashing Dermot Mulroney), sets out to sabotage his wedding to a young college student played by Cameron Diaz. Diaz’s bubbly, terrible-at-karaoke Kimmy makes the situation trickier when she asks Roberts’ Julianne to be her maid of honor. Roberts takes on a heroine we love to hate; her actions are truly despicable yet she’s so convincingly charming that it is hard not really to root for the girl. A deliciously chaotic film from start to finish, there’s simply no better showcase for Roberts’ comedic chops and pitch-perfect line delivery than Our Best Friend’s Wedding , which rightfully earns its place inside the pantheon of classic rom-coms plus at the top of this particular ranking.
Jihane Bousfiha is certainly a culture writer based in Florida. Her work provides appeared in W Magazine, Vulture, The Daily Beast, Paste Publication, and The particular Cut.
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