Once upon a time, I wrote movie reviews.

I still watch a ton of movies. I still love romantic comedies.

I told one of my classmates in my LTA program that I used to write reviews. And the question she asked was interesting. She wanted a list of romantic comedies in which the heroine wasn’t stupid, or the plot wasn’t stupid.

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Rhinestone Dress Brooch ($29.00); picture from http://www.shop.heart.com

My immediate thought was don’t watch a single Kate Hudson romantic comedy. I never watch her movie with Anne Hathaway but I felt pretty certain it was awful, too. What disappoints me is that in Almost Famous Hudson was great, luminous and raw. I could have watched her all day.

So as I thought Bout this list, I realized I was starting way back. I am not going into the silent movies but there are a few from the 1930s that are must sees.

I would start with My Man Godfrey (1936) starring Carole Lombard as the ditzy rich girl who is only interested in partying during the depression. It takes their new butler Godfrey, played by William Powell, to help her figure out life is about something more. This is one of the first screwball comedies but a classic as we know what will happen with a few surprises.

Because they apparently worked well together, Grant and Hepburn starred in The Philadelphia Story (1940) just two years later. Here a divorced couple meet up again just before her wedding to another man. Because it is a society wedding, reporter Jimmy Stewart shows up with his girl friday. Snappy dialogue along with plenty of drinking makes for a lot of fun,

To be honest my next pick is a Christmas movie but I find that Barbara Stanwyck is still one of the

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Picture from IMDb.com

smartest actresses I’ve ever watched. In Christmas in Connecticut (1945),  Stanwyck is a Martha Stewart-like writer without the farmhouse, husband, baby, or the ability to cook. Then her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) wants to spend Christmas with her and invites a recently recovered war vet. Stanwyck invents a husband, farm, and baby. She then promptly falls in love with the soldier.

For whatever reasons, my next pick doesn’t come until the late 80s. But if you haven’t seen Roxanne (1987) starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah, you might learn to love this Cyrano redo. Martin plays a firechief in a small mountain town who happens to have a big nose. Hannah is a lovely astronomer who come to town for the summer to relax. During the scene when Martin invents 20 insults that someone could have used, start counting because I think there are more than 20.

An article like this has to mention When Harry Met Sally (1987) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). These are two of the smartest and funny romantic comedies I have ever seen. Before I go to my favorite, my honorable mentions goes to Return To Me (2000) starring Minnie Driver and David Ducovney as well as While You Were Sleeping (1995) with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. Love these and will Watch them again and again.

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Poster image from IMDb.com

But one of my favorite romantic comedies is Forget Paris (1995) starring Billy Crystal as an NBA ref who meets Debra Winger in Paris and falls immediately in love. Instead of being about the ramp up to a relationship, this movie gives us the after with ups, downs, and constant curves. THe Pigeon scene still makes me laugh as does Cynthia Stevenson.

Please share your picks for great romantic comedies with smart heroines in the comment section.