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(Photo: Oscilloscope Laboratories)

We’re all about settling in for a predictably good romantic comedy — even a marathon. But the genre can sometimes get a bad rap and is often written off as formulaic. Here to shatter that claim is burlesque duo and married couple Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon‘s Lost in Paris (June 16).

Lost in Paris definitely breaks away from the typical rom-com pack. As well as writing a directing, Abel and Gordon also star in the lead roles, and their story kicks off when Fiona (Gordon) receives an S.O.S. letter from her 88-year-old aunt in Paris. At this point you’d be forgiven for thinking the film was tipping towards tragedy, but nope. False alarm. It is actually romantic, but in a whimsical, nontraditional kinda way. Fiona sets off to search for her aunt (who’s disappeared) and comes across a man (Abel) who is a little lost himself, and she just can’t shake him:

Thankfully Lost in Paris isn’t the only romanic comedy that breaks the mold and avoids the usual mushy rom-com potholes. There are lots of love stories that emerge from not-so-romantic set-ups.

Take a peek at the 10 listed below and you’ll see what we mean:

1. Amélie

Amélie (Audrey Tautou) goes out of her way to fix other people’s lives, unbeknownst to them. Apparently when it’s in the name of cinematic love, it’s OK, but any other situation, she might be deemed a meddler or a busy body. All the while, Amélie has her eye on a customer who comes into the coffee shop she works at. But, she can’t get up the gumption to speak to him.

2. Stranger Than Fiction 

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is a man of routine. Each day he does everything the same, for the most part. And he does it alone. Until, one day… he starts hearing a voice. It turns out it’s the voice of the author writing his story, which is about to come to an end. While the author tries to figure out how to kill off her hero, he meets a girl.

3. About a Boy 

A young boy (Nicholas Hoult) who’s struggling with his home life meets an overgrown boy, Will Freeman (Hugh Grant), who struggles to function as an adult. The pair lean on one another emotionally and their cute but unconventional friendship helps them sort out their respective problems. Will unintentionally dupes a possible love interest into thinking the boy is his son, painting himself into a very awkward corner.

4. The Royal Tenenbaums X

A disjointed family comes together when the patriarch (Gene Hackman) falls ill. His ex-wife (Anjelica Houston) and three children support him as he lays dying, putting aside their feelings of resentment. Each family member is dealing with some sort of strife, including his adopted daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) and biological son (Luke Wilson) who are both grappling with feelings they’ve been harboring for each other since they were kids.

5. Garden State

Andrew (Zach Braff), an L.A.-based aspiring actor, returns home to New Jersey to attend his mother’s funeral. While he’s in town, he goes to a doctor to look into headaches he’s been having. In the waiting room, he meets a young woman, who initially lies about what brings her to the office, but it turns out she has epilepsy. When it’s time for the actor to return to the West Coast, he’s torn over what to do.

6. The Lobster

This is without a doubt the oddest — and least traditionally romantic — coupling-themed movie on our list. A man (Colin Farrell) is sent to a hotel for single people, where the goal is to pair up within 45 days… anyone left unattached will be turned into an animal. But at the least they get to choose what kind, which is something. The man’s brother has already been turned into a dog after failing to find a mate, so this is no empty threat.

7. Adaptation  

Aaand this is the most meta. Successful screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage) (not to be confused with the real-life Charlie Kaufman — also a successful writer of this and other films), who is credited with Being John Malkovich, has writer’s block. And even worse, he can’t find a girlfriend. He’s the kind of guy, when a girl likes him, he doesn’t even notice. His love life is put on hold when he follows the subject of his next screenplay to the swamps in Florida, where he and his twin brother fight for their lives.

8. Working Girl 

An assistant, Tess (Melanie Griffith), is left on her own in the office when her boss is put on bed rest after breaking her leg skiing. Tess accidentally learns her boss was about to present her ideas as her own. So Tess sets up a meeting with an industry insider (Harrison Ford) to look into the media merger she had suggested, taking on a persona that’s well above her pay grade. Her intent is strictly business, things take a turn for the romantic.

9. Sabrina 

A woman by the name of Sabrina (Julia Ormond) crops her hair, ditches her glasses and the man she’s pined for over the years, David (Greg Kinnear), finally notices her. Except, there’s a catch: David is already engaged to another woman. David’s brother, Linus (Harrison Ford), doesn’t want this “merger” of families to be upended, so seduces Sabrina himself…  All is fair in love and war money.

10. The Holiday 

An English woman (Kate Winslet) learns that her long-time lover and colleague is newly engaged, at the same time as the rest of the office, rather than in a private conversation. Meanwhile, an American woman (Cameron Diaz), based in L.A., is overworked and overwhelming underwhelmed with her boyfriend. The two women are fed up with where their lives are headed, so out of desperation they arrange a house swap. It may be easier to meet people while in vacation mode, but what happens when the vacay is over?

The moral of the story is: people in rom-coms are a forgiving bunch.

Let’s just say, if Tess lost her job, or Sabrina held a grudge, things wouldn’t be all nice and tidied up by the close of the story.

Did we just ruin your favorite romantic comedy? Hope not!  

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Filed Under: Romantic Comedies
By Brigid Brown