Romantic comedies have been a storytelling staple ever since Shakespeare introduced the world to Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, but the genre really found its footing in film with It Happened One Night in 1934. Frank Capra’s simple tale of a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert) and an ambitious reporter (Clark Gable) was the first of only three features in history to sweep the Academy Awards in all major categories.

Clearly, a humorous spin on a romantic story resonated with audiences and the genre continued to thrive through the days of Hepburn and Monroe. However, the modern rom-com we know and love today really found its stride in 1989 with Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally. Nora Ephron, the godmother of rom-com writing, asked one simple question in her script, “Can a man and a woman just be friends?” and an entire era was born.

From ’89 to ’09, the cinemas were booming with clumsy, career-obsessed women who found a love they weren’t even looking for by simply bumping into an unsuspecting man with an alarmingly handsome face. For two whole decades, we were blessed with Hanks and Ryan, Julia Roberts and whoever, Nancy Meyers vehicles, and the firm affirmation that Christmas was the most romantic time of year.

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Set It Up trailer

The romantic comedy genre has suffered tremendously over the past twenty years as mid-budget movies have practically ceased to exist, but with the proliferation of streaming services today, we may be in the midst of a rom-com mini-renaissance.

One of the most promising upcoming entries is a Netflix film called Set It Up, in which two overworked assistants (Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell) scheme to hook up their high-powered bosses (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) just so they can have a little time to themselves.
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