Live, laugh, swoon: the best romantic comedies now on Showmax

By Stephen Aspeling18 April 2024

Live, laugh, swoon: the best romantic comedies now on Showmax

Ah, to love and be loved. When it comes down to it, what more do we really need to squeeze out of life? Romantic comedies hinge on our innate desire to seek love, to be worthy of love and if we’re really lucky (and honest)… get a little nookie. It’s this all-consuming, exciting and poetry-inducing thing that gets our hearts pounding and our tongues wagging.  

Can you be hooked on a feeling? No wonder romantic comedies have become a steady sub-genre in Hollywood, capturing the giddy feelings of being in love, the heartache of falling out of love and just simply being in love with love. In the spirit of googly-eyes, heart-fluttering levitation and gooey heart-shaped chocolate boxes, we give you the most charming and lovable romcoms now streaming on Showmax. 

1. As Good As It Gets 

As Good As It Gets on Showmax

The Joker, Jack Torrance, Randle McMurphy… Jack Nicholson is not your typical romantic lead. While the legendary actor has softened a bit, As Good As It Gets is pure inspiration because it reimagined a Nicholson capable of love. Sure, he’s playing a bigoted compulsive who’d rather keep his own company but when he’s forced to take care of his neighbour’s dog… he discovers he has a heart. 

The Oscar-winning As Good As It Gets finds Jack Nicholson starring opposite Greg Kinnear and Helen Hunt, making an unlikely yet surprisingly effective trio. Ranked 140 in the Top 500 films ever made according to AFI, this feel-good romantic dramedy from James L Brooks is well-acted, funny, smart and a little tender.  

2. Vir Die Voëls 

Vir Die Voels is on Showmax

When Huisgenoot, a popular Afrikaans-language family magazine, celebrated their 100th birthday they ran a competition to find a proudly South African story they could adapt to film. The winners were Sampie and Irma de Klerk, whose real-life meet-cute forms the basis for the feel-good romantic comedy Vir Die Voëls. 

Taken from Irma’s perspective, this quirky and sweet romcom journeys with an independent nurse who falls for the charming Sampie, who used to tease her mercilessly as a kid. Set in the 1970s, this delightful and plucky small town love story stars Simoné Pretorius and Francois Jacobs who inject charm, warmth and spirit into this life-affirming tale.  

3. Notting Hill 

Notting Hill on Showmax

When it comes to romantic comedies, it’s hard not to think of a movie starring the foppish Hugh Grant. Blame Richard Curtis or Grant’s dashing looks, but Grant has managed to cajole his way into a great many romcom classics over his career. Notting Hill is one of the big ones, playing into the wish fulfilment of a lowly Notting Hill bookstore owner finding a real connection with a world famous Hollywood star. 

There to counterbalance the sort of unassuming Hugh Grant is Julia Roberts, whose real-life star power makes this a heartfelt and self-reflective performance. Crazy Welshman in underwear aside, this charming, witty and satisfying romantic comedy soars on its co-lead chemistry and the power of one-in-a-million dreams. 

4. Definitely, Maybe 

Definitely Maybe on Showmax

What do you get if you combine the star power of the guy from The Proposal with the kid from Little Miss Sunshine? Pure magic, it turns out, which is what powers the sweet, funny and heartfelt romcom Definitely, Maybe. Taking a page from How I Met Your Mother and Mamma Mia!, a dad reflects on three past relationships only for his daughter (and audiences) to guess which one is her mother. 

Both shooting stars, Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin elevate this familiar romcom concept through their charm, warmth and wit. A clever twist that explores the “it’s complicated” nature of romantic relationships, this fresh and playful spin adds an engaging mystery to revitalise the romcom formula. 

5. 50 First Dates 

50 First Dates is on Showmax

When it comes to classic romcom pairings, you can’t overlook Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. They may not have the gravitas of an on-screen power couple like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan but they’ve more than earned their stripes. Having worked wonders as unlikely sweethearts in The Wedding Singer, it was only a matter of time before they ventured into a lightning storm with an empty bottle in 50 First Dates. 

This breezy holiday-vibes romcom is a wacky feel-good delight, creating the delicious circumstances for a commitment-phobic man and a woman with short-term memory loss to cross paths… and stars. Comfortably cheesy, loaded with oddballs and full of fun against the backdrop of an island paradise in Hawaii, it’s really just an excuse to get Sandler and Barrymore more screen time. 

6. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 

A prequel and sequel, the lighthearted and exuberant Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again follows Sophie as she learns about her free-spirited mother’s youth in the throes of her own wedding preparations. Capturing the same infectious verve and beautiful Greek vistas with even more ABBA showstoppers, this stellar summer-lovin’ singalong romcom goes one up on the first movie. 

Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper and Meryl Streep reprise their roles with extra sequins, cheesier grins and renewed vigour. To upscale the cast and fun even further, the sweet-as-summer-rain Lily James takes on the role of a young and wild Donna, as Andy “Mr Smooth” Garcia and the one-and-only Cher add to the stellar ensemble. 

7. Bridget Jones’s Baby 

Bridget Jones's Baby on Showmax

Her job’s a joke, she’s broke, and her love life’s permanently in a state of resuscitation but that’s what makes the self-deprecation of Bridget Jones so tragic and hilarious. To be fair, even if you wear granny knickers – it’s probably not all that bad if you cause a stag clash between the dapper Colin Firth and dapper-er Hugh Grant! 

Renée Zellweger is Bridget Jones, now forty-something, single and wondering whose baby she’s carrying. Stumbling through life, Bridget finds herself in all sorts of clumsy calamity as she tries to hold onto a few shreds of dignity in the modern game of love. This lighthearted romcom introduces Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey and delivers more of the entertaining fun, cringeworthy romance and wicked wit you’ve come to expect from the series.    

8. Fanie Fourie’s Lobola 

Fanie Fourie's Lobola on Showmax

Don’t let the clunky movie title fool you: this charming and delightful local-is-lekker romcom is a cut above, based on the novel by Nape ‘a Motana. Taking a comedic look at the traditional practice of lobola, this entertaining culture-clash romance finds an Afrikaans boy falling in love with a Zulu girl. A quirky yet heartwarming movie about meeting the parents, lobola etiquette gives this sweet romcom an extra spin as Fanie tries to win over Dinky’s family, and pay for his bride’s hand in marriage. 

An unlikely couple, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola celebrates South Africa’s diversity with a funny and lighthearted take on love in the modern age. Directed by Henk Pretorius, this crowd-pleasing romcom stars Eduan van Jaarsveldt and Zethu Dlomo, in a film that showcases South Africa through our colourful music, diversity and people.  

9. Vir Altyd (For Always)

Vir Altyd is on Showmax

After their sparkling co-lead chemistry in Road to Your Heart, it’s difficult to imagine the on-screen couple Ivan Botha and DonnaLee Roberts with anyone else. Rekindling their romance in Vir Altyd, they play Hugo and Nina, childhood friends whose paths diverged only to reconnect in later life. Fates intervene the day before Nina’s wedding, throwing her and Huga together as they begin again. 

This fun-loving romantic comedy adventure checks all the boxes for a satisfying summer love story with its handsome lead couple and the backdrop of the tropical island of Mauritius. Written by the co-leads themselves, there’s a good balance of comedy and romance with deeper themes and a few surprising twists that help Vir Altyd steer away from the trappings of tried-and-tested romcom formula. 

Here are a few more charming feel-good romcoms worth checking out: Sy Klink Soos Lente, The Lost City, Father of the Bride and Ticket to Paradise