Guess the Missing "Better Half" of This Rom-Com Couple!

By: Olivia Cantor

"Pretty Woman" wasn't originally intended as a lighthearted rom-com. With a sex worker as its central character being hired by a "prince charming," it's obvious that the romantic angle was added later. But in the result, Richard Gere was dashing as Edward Lewis and Julia Roberts was funny as Vivian Ward.

"When Harry Met Sally" gave us the funny chance encounter pairing of Harry and Sally. Who could ever forget that classic restaurant scene where they were discussing how women can fake orgasms? With this, writer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner gave us one of the greatest rom-com scenes ever.

For those who need more than just one storyline in a rom-com, "Love, Actually" addresses this need. The multi-storyline film features at least eight major subplots about different people with their own set of romantic concerns. The film cleverly intersects these people's lives eventually.

Writer-director Woody Allen wrote and directed the Oscar Best Picture awardee entitled "Annie Hall" where Diane Keaton played the titular character. As the lead actor in his own film, Allen as Alvy talks directly to the camera, addressing the audience with his break-up laments.

Writer John Hughes penned a lot of rom-com scripts aimed at the teen audiences of the '80s. And since that was the heyday of the Brat Pack, they starred in many of these films, like the 1986 film "Pretty in Pink." Molly Ringwald played Andie, who liked Blane, played by Andrew McCarthy.

Danny Zuko better shape up for Sandy Olsson, the girl who likes him so much. But since he's supposedly a bad boy, his reputation will be damaged if he shows he digs this goody-two-shoes. You can find their rom-com story and sing along with them, too, in the 1978 movie musical "Grease."

One of the quintessential Generation X rom-coms is 1995's "Before Sunrise," directed by Richard Linklater. Gen-X icon Ethan Hawke played Jesse, while French actress Julie Delphy played his better half, Céline. They met again in 2004's "Before Sunset" and in 2013's "Before Midnight."

Pull out a pen and paper if you're one of those types who jot down movie lines that resonate with you. Rom-com fans all over have memorized a handful of such lines from "Jerry Maguire." Yep, he's the character who said "You complete me."

Sandra Bullock appeared in many films of a comedic tone prior to appearing in "While You Were Sleeping." But that 1995 hit solidified her place in the rom-com hierarchy of the '90s and 2000s. Her lonely character Lucy ended up with Jack, played by Bill Pullman.

Anna Scott's unforgettable movie line in "Notting Hill" goes "And don't forget, I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." The "fairly level-headed bloke" she's addressing here is Will. Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant's chemistry made this 1999 rom-com a huge hit.

Summer Finn embodies the character stereotype known as the "manic pixie dream girl" in "500 Days of Summer." This means she is a lovable yet eccentric feminine character who's often the object of affection of a cynical and often moody man.

The 1994 film "Reality Bites" gave us a classic Gen-X rom-com triangle with some drama sprinkled in there, too. Winona Ryder's Lelaina was in the the middle of it all. Corporate Michael was played by Ben Stiller, while bohemian Troy was played by Ethan Hawke.

Rom-coms also feature storylines of class differences, but this situation doesn't become a problem once love is underway. This is the scenario in the 1995 remake of "Sabrina" where Julia Ormond played the titular character and Harrison Ford played Linus, the Larrabee she ends up with.

Buttercup is the name of Westley's beloved in the 1987 rom-com "The Princess Bride." The material of this story originally came from a novel by William Goldman, the one who also wrote the script for the film. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright play the two love leads here.

Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" was given a '90s rom-com twist in the form of 1999's "10 Things I Hate About You." Julia Styles is the "shrew" whom Heath Ledger had to "tame," so to speak. But of course, given the modern times, the film updated several other things in this adaptation.

Writer Nora Ephron not only wrote rom-coms, she also directed them. One such film is 1993's "Sleepless in Seattle" where Tom Hanks played the grieving widower Sam. Meg Ryan co-starred as Annie, the journalist who took an interest in Sam's story.

Diane Keaton is the playwright Erica who ended up dating her daughter's boyfriend, the elderly playboy named Harry, played by Jack Nicholson. When all hell broke loose, Erica coped by writing a play about it. These funny characters are all found in the 2003 film called "Something's Gotta Give."

The elegant Audrey Hepburn brought to life that unforgettable Truman Capote character, Holly Golightly, in the 1961 film adaptation of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The character came from Capote's novella which he wrote in 1958. George Peppard played the role of Paul.

Norah Silverberg is the teen who winds up listening to the mixed CDs curated by Nick O'Leary in the 2008 rom-com called "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist." Kat Dennings and Michael Cera gave life to the titular characters penned by David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn in their 2006 novel.

Mary Stuart Masterson played drummer teen Watts who's secretly in love with her BFF, the young mechanic named Keith in "Some Kind of Wonderful." Lea Thompson played Amanda Jones, the girl Keith initially liked. Keith was played by Eric Stoltz in this 1987 rom-com.

Rom-coms can also be black comedies, and an example of this is 1971's "Harold and Maude." It's the story of a rather morbid young guy named Harold who likes all things related to death. He meets an elderly woman at a funeral who eventually becomes his girlfriend; her name is Maude.

Gwyneth Paltrow won an Oscar Best Actress award in her role as Viola de Lesseps in the 1998 film "Shakespeare in Love." Her love interest in the film, William Shakespeare, was played by Joseph Fiennes. This rom-com also won an Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category.

Matthew McConaughey played the playboy ad exec Benjamin while Kate Hudson played the lifestyle magazine writer Andie in the 2003 film "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." Both characters were clueless of each other's project when they met: she is to turn a guy off while he is to snatch a woman easily.

The 2007 film "Juno" featured teenage pregnancy issues in a rather humorous and also loving way, thereby earning its place in the rom-com category. The characters of Juno and Paulie also come of age in this film due to the very adult issue they had to face early in life.

Mark Darcy is a reworking of the Mr. Darcy character in the novel "Pride and Prejudice" since "Bridget Jones's Diary" kind of reworked Jane Austen's novel. In that sense, Bridget Jones represents a modern-day Elizabeth Bennet in this 2001 rom-com.

Alicia Silverstone's Cher character in "Clueless" didn't have a clue that she'll end up with Josh Lucas, her former stepbrother played by Paul Rudd. The 1995 rom-com showed us the story from Cher's point of view

Amy Adams played the perky Giselle while Patrick Dempsey played the cynical New Yorker Robert in "Enchanted." This 2007 Walt Disney-produced rom-com poked fun at the company's trademark fairy tale stereotypes and storylines.

Will Smith played the smooth-talking love coach teaching lovelorn men in "Hitch." The 2005 rom-com partnered him with Eva Mendes who played Sara, a gossip columnist. The practice of their respective professions became both a bridge and a hindrance to their developing love story in the film.

In "She's All That," Freddie Prinze Jr. played Zack Siler, the campus crush whose mission is to turn Laney Boggs into a prom queen. Rachael Leigh Cook essayed the role of Laney in this immensely popular 1999 rom-com.

Jack Black played the titular role of "Shallow Hal" in the 2001 rom-com by the Farrelly brothers. In the film, he gets hypnotized by Tony Robbins, the real-life life coach, who makes a cameo here. As a result, the women Hal deems as unattractive now appear as pretty "trophy girlfriend" types to him.

Drew Barrymore played Lucy, the woman Henry fell in love with, in "50 First Dates." The 2004 rom-com showed how her character suffers from a kind of amnesia where she can't remember recent memories. That's why the whole film was about convincing her character to remember events from her recent life.

Jennifer Lopez is "The Wedding Planner" who accidentally falls for Steve, the soon-to-be groom of her bride-to-be client. The 2001 rom-com is only one of many such films that the singer-actress appeared in. She was in "Maid in Manhattan," "Monster-in-Law," and "The Back-up Plan," to name a few.

Jake Anderson was played by John Cusack in the 2005 rom-com "Must Love Dogs." The film is an adaptation of a 2002 novel penned by Claire Cook. The story explored how divorced people explored dating options using social media platforms.

The 13-year-old Matt grew up and became a photographer; he was played by Mark Ruffalo. Jenna fast-forwarded to her adult life as a magazine editor; she was played by Jennifer Garner. The two met up in two timelines in the 2004 rom-com "13 Going on 30."

The 1987 rom-com "Moonstruck" paired Cher and Nicolas Cage in this film directed by Norman Jewison. Cher received an Oscar Best Actress award for playing Loretta in this movie. The movie also won in the Best Original Screenplay category.

Even Hugh Jackman played rom-com leads once in a while, in between Wolverine roles. In the 2001 film "Kate & Leopold," he played an accidental time traveling duke from the past named Leopold who meets a modern-day New Yorker. That woman he meets is Kate, played by rom-com royalty Meg Ryan.

Moira Kelly popularized the line "Toe pick!" as her character Kate said this a lot to irritate Doug , D.B. Sweeney's character, in "The Cutting Edge." The 1992 rom-com was about how a hockey player got teamed up with a figure skater to compete as a tandem in an upcoming Winter Olympics.

A reworking of the Shakespearean comedy called "Twelfth Night," the 2006 rom-com called "She's The Man" featured Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum as the featured couple. Only she played Viola who pretended to be her twin bro Sebastian, and befriended her crush Duke while she was a boy.

The legendary Marilyn Monroe portrayed the role of Sugar, the ukulele-playing hottie in "Some Like It Hot." This classic 1959 rom-com also had Tony Curtis playing the role of Joe, a musician on the run. He disguised himself as a woman and as an oil baron, too.

The 1989 rom-com "Chances Are" explored the concept of reincarnation and getting reacquainted with departed loved ones. The film starred Cybill Shepherd and Robert Downey Jr. as Corinne and Alex, respectively. The popular song "After All" by Peter Cetera and Cher came from this film's soundtrack.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films, Bookshop Productions

About This Quiz

There was a time when romantic comedies were relegated to the "frilly and fluffy" bin of Hollywood's unofficial movie classifications. The term "chick flick" even came out and wrapped around this sub-category, which later became controversial a tag. Do you recall that one?

These days, romantic comedies are shortened to "rom-com," and it's more apt a term than "chick flick." The latter gives a negative gendered description of the sub-genre as it suggests shallow romantic storylines aimed at a female demographic. But rom-coms are for everyone, especially since they often portray hetero-normative relationships. 

Sometimes, it's not only a man and a woman they're showing in a rom-com flick. Love triangles are one of the most popular themes. Thus, there are stories where one girl is the object of desire of not just one, but two boys. In some instances, there are more than two guys competing to get the attention of one woman. There are films that reverse this situation, too, since we also see films focused on one guy being the center of attention of many women. So yeah, guys are in it, too. It should be a no-brainer, then, to consider them as part of this sub-genre's audience.

But can you guess which guy is which girl's partner, or vice versa? Open up this quiz and find out!



About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!