90s Rom-Coms VS 2000s Rom-Coms



90s Rom-Coms VS 2000s Rom-Coms

VOICE OVER: Samantha Clinch WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
The 90s vs. the 2000s, which was better of rom-coms? We'll be evaluating a wide range of categories to determine the most romantic decade. Our verses includes love triangles, famous quotes, best friends, and more!

Rom Coms: 90s vs. 2000s - Which is Better?

Welcome to MsMojo, and in this installment of Versus, we’ll be taking a look at our favorite rom-coms from the 1990s and 2000s and deciding which decade makes us say...

We’ll be evaluating a wide range of categories to determine the most romantic decade, and answer that all-important question – are you more team Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, or Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey?

If we missed any of your favorite rom-com criteria, let us know in the comments below!

Round 1: Stars

When you think of 90s romantic comedies, odds are you think of the stars first – and there were plenty of them! It was a time when big names like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, or Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, could put butts in seats for just about any movie they starred in together. We associate 90s leading ladies like Julia, and Meg, and Sandra Bullock, and Drew Barrymore with rom-coms in a way that just doesn’t happen anymore. And frankly, we miss that type of star power and would do anything to get it back.

That isn’t to say that the 2000s – particularly the early 2000s – didn’t have some heavy hitters. The likes of Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, and Matthew McConaughey all had their times to shine. But while a few broke through in this decade, so many rom-com stars from this era – Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, just to name a few – are holdovers from the 90s. And, as we got further into the decade, those stars became fewer and farther in between – so much so that a romantic comedy is unlikely to be a star-making vehicle today.

While we love our 2000s rom-com stars, the sheer power of the 90s is too much to ignore.

WINNER: ‘90s 1 / 2000s 0

Round 2: Love Triangles

The love triangles of the 1990s were generally a little more complicated than your standard love triangle. They feature situations like falling in love with the brother of the comatose guy you were pretending to be engaged to, or leaving your fiance for a guy you have never met. And of course, the classic move of trying to sabotage the wedding of your best friend and his much younger fiance. These stories were anything but par for the course, and we always enjoyed the complex, human emotions they brought out!

However, if the occasional, complex love triangle was popular in the 90s, they simply blew up in the 2000s. They weren’t ALWAYS as interesting, but the sheer volume of them gave us much to consider –whether it was Reese Witherspoon stuck in the middle of Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan choosing between Kevin McKidd and Dempsey again, Jennifer Lopez caught in between Matthew McConaughey and Justin Chambers, or Diane Keaton torn between Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves. Seriously, Keanu should’ve been the clear winner in that one. Other than that sheer mass of content, the 2000s also gave us an updated version of an iconic love triangle in the “Bridget Jones’s Diary” movies, and for that, we will be forever thankful.

The 90s may have given us a few unforgettable love triangle moments, but the numbers alone take the cake in the 2000s.

WINNER: 2000s 1 / ‘90s 1

Round 3: Famous Quotes

Are you just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her? You may not be, but we bet you can tell us where that incomparable line comes from. “Notting Hill” isn't the only 90s rom-com that has a famous quote that’s endured along with the film itself – how many of us heard someone say, “You had me at hello,” before we watched a tearful Renée Zellweger say it to Tom Cruise at the end of “Jerry Maguire?” How many of us have wished we could channel our best Julia Roberts and say, “Big mistake. Huge!” to a salesperson who does us dirty at a department store? These quotes have stood the test of time, and will continue to do so.

As for the 2000s? While there are a couple that we could probably throw into a Hall of Fame, this decade has nowhere near as many bangers as the 90s. We love “Sweet Home Alabama”’s very sweet and sassy “What would you wanna marry me for anyhow? So I can kiss you anytime I want,” but that might be one of the only ones worth remembering. It seems as star power dwindled a bit in the 2000s, so did the iconic lines that MAKE a star … well, a star.

Sorry, 2000s, but one ain’t gonna cut it. The 90s take this round in a sweep.

WINNER: ‘90s 2 / 2000s 1

Round 4: Best Friends

A necessary staple of the rom-com is the best friend and said best friend wears many hats. They offer some necessary comic relief when the going gets rough, they’re available to give our main character a pep talk or a kick in the butt when they need it, and their main goal in life seems to be to help the protagonist find love. In the 90s, we got a good smattering of Hall of Famer best friends – Rupert Everett might take the crown for the very best and most charming friend there’s ever been in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Rosie O’Donnell offers necessary words of wisdom in “Sleepless in Seattle,” and Dave Chappelle more than provides the comic relief in “You’ve Got Mail.”

These are all great 90s rom-com sidekicks, but the 2000s brings the heat as well – you’ve got Kathryn Hahn in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” Frances McDormand in “Something’s Gotta Give.” But, the reigning queen of “2000s Rom-Com Best Friends” must be given her due. Judy Greer threw heat as a side character in a multitude of 2000s rom-coms – “13 Going on 30,” “The Wedding Planner,” and “27 Dresses,” just to name a few. Despite making a name for herself as always landing these types of roles, Greer manages to bring something special to what could easily be a number of throw-away parts.

And by the power vested in Judy Greer, the 2000s edges past the 90s in this category.

WINNER: 2000s 2 / 90s 2

Round 5: Dramatic Declarations

A dramatic declaration of love – it’s what makes a rom-com, a rom-com. And the 90s gave us some of the best examples we can think of. Sometimes, we even got two in one movie – like Kat’s emotional poem and Patrick’s Frankie Valli dance in “10 Things I Hate About You.” In 1990s rom-coms, people were always doing things like running down someone in an airport or train station, overcoming their fear of heights and climbing up fire escapes to profess their love, or meeting strangers on top of famous New York City landmarks. If there was one thing they were gonna do in these movies on the love declaration front, it was go all out!

It’s not that the 2000s didn’t have some very memorable grand gestures on the books. If we’re being honest, though, the 2000s are a little more keen to go the small, sweet route – like Colin Firth buying Renée Zellweger a new diary in “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” It’s a lovely moment, as is the scene in “Sweet Home Alabama,” which even adds in that oh-so-romantic, but oh-so-cliched rain. However, nothing compared to some of the showstoppers of the 90s.

The 2000s maybe have made us all a bit more realistic, but the 90s is the sure winner when it comes to dramatics.

WINNER: 90s 3/ 2000s 2

The victory margin may be narrow at 3 to 2, but it looks like the 90s were the definitive decade for romantic comedies.