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Top 10 Underrated Rom-Com Couples

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
They may not be Harry and Sally, but these couples are just as charming. For this list, we’re taking a look at the couples from romantic comedies who made their films wonderful, but haven’t quite gotten the recognition they deserve, no matter how popular the film itself may be. Our list includes Donna Stern & Max, Kumail & Emily Gardner, Celeste Martin & Jesse Abrams, Phil Connors & Rita Hanson, Rachel & Luce, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Rom-Com Couples.
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Top 10 Underrated Rom-Com Couples


They may not be Harry and Sally, but these couples are just as charming. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Romcom Couples.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the couples from romantic comedies who made their films wonderful, but haven’t quite gotten the recognition they deserve, no matter how popular the film itself may be.

#10: Jonathan Trager & Sara Thomas
“Serendipity” (2001)


John Cusack has starred in some well-known romantic comedies throughout his career. But his chemistry with Kate Beckinsale in this early 2000s gem makes it one of the best. After falling in love one night and leaving it up to fate that they’ll meet again, Jonathan and Sara find themselves at a crossroads years later. Both are engaged to be married, though they’ve never forgotten each other. And it’s this idea of defying their life plans for one another that makes them such a unique couple.

#9: Kumail & Emily Gardner
“The Big Sick” (2017)


With a relationship like this one, it’s easy to see why the movie was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Based on the real relationship of the writers, the film follows Kumail as he struggles with the expectations of his religious family and his feelings for Emily. And things are only made even more complicated when she’s put into a medically induced coma. Zoe Kazan shines as Emily, but what makes the couple special are the choices Kumail has to come to terms with when he thinks he might lose her. This facet, paired with Kumail’s eventual willingness to give up nearly everything for love, makes the couple a memorable one.

#8: Megan & Graham Eaton
“But I’m a Cheerleader” (1999)


This comedy about a high school cheerleader sent to a conversion therapy camp was ahead of its time when it was first released. And the bond between Megan and Graham was definitely one of the highlights. After her parents suspected her of being a lesbian, Megan was sent to True Directions. Only, instead of being “cured,” she met Graham, a girl more comfortable with who she is. Over the course of the movie, the two would begin to balance each other out. Graham would be afraid of her father’s disownment while Megan would begin to accept herself and her feelings for Graham, convincing her to be true to herself.

#7: Donna Stern & Max
“Obvious Child” (2014)


Not many relationships can blossom from a one-night stand, but such is the case with Donna and Max. Jenny Slate plays a comedian going through a particularly rough break-up when she meets the polite Max, played by Jake Lacy. Donna is in desperate need of a wake-up call to adulthood, which comes after her night with Max leaves her pregnant. But it’s this unplanned event that pushes the two together as she plans for an abortion. What makes the couple work so well are their vastly different personalities. Where she is open about every aspect of her life, he is closed off and a bit too self-conscious. Both are flawed, yet they fit wonderfully together.

#6: Rachel & Luce
“Imagine Me & You” (2005)


Nothing hurts quite like forbidden love. After seeing the florist, Luce, on her wedding day, Rachel is unable to get her out of her head. What follows is a series of touching moments where she struggles with whether or not to stick with her marriage as the two grow closer. The film may not have impressed many critics, but Piper Perabo and Lena Headey as the two leads bring a heartening romance to life. And their conflicting feelings for what they want versus what is right makes the film even more engaging.

#5: Peter Bretter & Rachel Jansen
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008)


This raunchy Judd Apatow production was incredibly well-received thanks to its writing and performances from Jason Segel, Russell Brand, and Mila Kunis. But the romantic relationship that comes from its plot, about a man who ends up at the same vacation spot as his recent ex and her new beau, often gets overlooked. Segel and Kunis have fantastic chemistry as Peter and Rachel. Peter’s funk from being dumped makes for some excellent self-deprecating humor. But when he begins to see Rachel, the hotel’s concierge, her confident personality is so powerful and infectious that it helps him feel comfortable with who he is again.

#4: Peter Warne & Ellen ‘Ellie’ Andrews
“It Happened One Night” (1934)


Sometimes the one you need isn’t who you’re looking for. In the case of Peter and Ellie, neither of them were looking for love when they met, but it’s something that inexplicably grew between them. She’s a spoiled, newlywed heiress running from her father while he’s a recently fired reporter looking for a story to bring his career back. The delightful and lively performances from Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are really what sell the story. And by the end, they’re both willing to sacrifice everything to be with each other again. This one may have slipped slightly into obscure film history, but it really shouldn’t have.

#3: Celeste Martin & Jesse Abrams
“Celeste and Jesse Forever” (2012)


This rom-com already differentiates itself from others in the genre by starting with a relationship that has already ended. But the tangible feelings between stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg as the titular pair make it even better. After deciding to call it quits on their marriage, Celeste and Jesse remain best friends, though the complicated dynamic becomes worse when they both try to see other people. Watching two characters who fit so well together yet can’t make it work tugs on the heartstrings. It’s the layered performances of the two leads along with the fresh take on relationships that makes this one a must-see.

#2: Phil Connors & Rita Hanson
“Groundhog Day” (1993)


While the majority of what makes this ‘90s comedy work is the hilarious Bill Murray, the romantic relationship that gets built up over the plot is just as vital. At the start, Phil is a jerk reporter who hates the idea of covering the holiday while Rita is much more pleased with her job. But when Phil is forced to relive the same day over and over, he begins to see how amazing she really is. It’s the film’s set-up that convinces Phil to be better person. And seeing him live through countless versions of moments with Rita just to make her happy made us all fall in love with him in the process.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Anna Foster & Ben Calder
“Chasing Liberty” (2004)

Charlyne Yi & Michael Cera
“Paper Heart” (2009)

Nick O'Leary & Norah Silverberg
“Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” (2008)

#1: Lucy Eleanor Moderatz & Jack Callahan
“While You Were Sleeping” (1995)


While this ‘90s rom-com did well upon release, it hasn’t quite been considered a “classic.” But it more than deserves it. It focuses on a lonely woman who is mistaken as the fiancée of a patient who is in a coma and decides to keep the lie going when she meets his loving family. However, this includes a younger brother, who she actually begins to love over the course of the movie. It’s one of the more unique meet-cutes in any romantic comedy and it’s propelled forward by one of Sandra Bullock’s best performances. For romance fans looking for something that has equal amounts of charm and tender moments, you can’t go wrong with this one.
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