More com, less rom. That’s the guiding principle of this DeadAnt guide to Valentine’s Week viewing that doesn’t leave you in a state of despair over your love life. We’ve got movies with comedians, movies about comedy, movies that are comical, and a couple of cheeseball flicks that always bring a smile to this writer’s face, but with enough love to go around (especially if you’re single).
Ready with the snacks? Let’s dive in.
1. Squared Love (2021)
New on Netflix India, Squared Love is about a womanizing, celebrity journalist who falls for a woman he believes is a mysterious model. The female protagonist of Squared Love, however, is a high-school teacher living a double life. The plot leaves plenty of room for hilarious run-ins, awkward morning-afters and genuine connection, however reviews are mixed. Maybe watch this low-stakes, Polish rom-com without too many expectations…and with a tub of low-fat ice cream. Save the Mint Chocolate Chip for later.
2. The Lovebirds (2020)
A couple on the verge of breaking up find themselves locked in a game of wits when they become witnesses (or worse, accomplices) to a murder. They must find the real killer before the police catches up with the out-of-love Leilani (played by Issa Rae) and Jibran (played by Kumail Nanjiani). Watch this for Rae and Nanjiani’s crackling chemistry and a Bohemian Rhapsody joke that still tickles… a year after the movie released. This film pairs well with a cold beverage and fried foods in all shapes and sizes. Watch on Netflix.
3. Always Be My Maybe (2019)
In this 2019 film, Ali Wong steps into the shoes of a big-time celebrity chef in Los Angeles whose marriage plans are put on hold when her big-time restaurateur boyfriend jettisons her for a big-time opportunity. On a break, Wong’s Sasha moves back home to San Francisco—where she is setting up a new restaurant—only to run into her childhood best friend/long-time neighbour, Marcus, whose life is now worlds apart from Sasha’s. You…kinda know what happens next but Always Be My Maybe is never cliché, always funny.
Treat yourself to a meal-for-one while you savour Wong’s tasty dish of a rom-com. Available on Netflix.
4. Love Per Square Foot (2018)
For anyone who lives in Mumbai, Love Per Square Foot is cathartic viewing—cathartic enough for lonely singles to overlook the fact that house hunting has never been so full of romantic promise in real life. Sanjay Kumar Chaturvedi (Vicky Kaushal) from Dadar and Bandra-bred Karina D’Souza (Angira Dhar) have little in common, except for the fact that they dream of owning their own house in Mumbai. A chance meeting, a joint housing scheme, rigid housing society rules, shared dreams and lots of sparks lead them to enter a marriage of convenience. What happens next… is predictable rom-com stuff. This one calls for mouthfuls of popcorn since it’s complete with song-and-dance. Love Per Square Foot is streaming on Netflix.
5. Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017)
Bareilly Ki Barfi is a sweet-treat romcom that was won both critical acclaim and commercial success when it released. This is a good time to revisit the story of Bitti (Kriti Sanon), the daughter of a mithaiwaala in Bareilly, who chances upon a book and immediately identifies with its heroine. Desperate to meet the author, she enlists the help of local printing press owner, Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana) to track down her kindred spirit, the writer, Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkumar Rao). Plot twist? Chirag is actually the writer of the book, which takes the film’s leads on a twisted journey to love. Bareilly Ki Barfi is streaming on Netflix; you’ll want some salty snacks to offset the barfi.
6. Obvious Child (2014)
Obvious Child follows Donna (Jenny Slate), a twenty-something standup comedian in Brooklyn who mines her life for quality comedy material and pays the price when her boyfriend breaks up with her. Rebound sex with quintessential nice guy Max (Jake Lacy) leads to an unplanned pregnancy that forces our protagonist to reckon with the very real consequences of womanhood, growing up and making your own choices.
Gillian Robespierre’s confident debut film dealing with the tricky subject of abortion will make you laugh and think at the same time. Wine seems like the way to go with Obvious Child, streaming on Amazon Prime.
7. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008)
Abbas Tyrewala’s romance between college best friends Rats (Imran Khan) and Meow (Genelia D’Souza) became a generation favourite when it released (over a decade ago!). And it’s easy to see why. Despite setting out to answer an all-too-frequently-asked-question—“Can a boy and girl just be friends?”—Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is never boring. While the story is about how its leads fall in love with each other, it is equally about friendship, navigating complicated family situations and growing up without growing apart. Stream it on Netflix, while chomping down on your favourite childhood snacks.
8. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Closing it out with an oldie but goodie, Gil Junger’s adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew is so much more than your average teeny-bopper romcom. It follows the story of high-school student Cameron (a very young, Joseph-Gordon Levitt) who falls for the most popular girl at Padua High School, Bianca. Unfortunately, he finds out Bianca can’t date till her older, less personable sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does. Enter Patrick Verona, charmingly essayed by the late Heath Ledger, who Cameron tries to set Kat up with.
There’s paintball, alchohol-fuelled high school parties, standing up to the status quo and chemistry between Stiles and Ledger that’s still as palpable as the first time this writer watched 10 Things I Hate About You. Stream this on Hotstar, while sipping on luxurious, indulgent hot cocoa.