Some say the glory days of the date movie are over. The year 2016 begs to disagree, as we are promised everything from several beloved rom-coms’ long-awaited sequels to original romances bursting with star power. Forget “Netflix and chill” – these nine movies are worth going out for.
The Choice, opening February 5
Big-screen adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels are being churned out at a rate of one per year these days, and so it goes with The Choice, based on the author’s 2007 weepie. You’re either into Sparks movies or you’re not, but rising stars Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker are appealing enough to give The Choice a chance. And just in time for Valentine’s Day, too.
How to Be Single, opening February 12
If Valentine’s Day is looking more like girls night out, or your date is one of the many dudes who loved 2011’s Bridesmaids, then this raunchy, R-rated comedy is for you. The cast reads like a chick flick wish list: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann all star as New York ladies on the prowl.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, opening March 25
2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding made less than $600,000 in its first weekend. By the time it finally left American movie theaters – more than a year later – it had a total domestic haul of over $241 million. Now that’s a sleeper hit. Screenwriter/star Nia Vardalos returns, along with John Corbett and the rest of the original cast, for bigger, fatter, Greeker nuptials.
The Best Man Wedding, opening April 15
No, this movie isn’t about two grooms tying the knot. (We love the Best Man franchise, but this title is a little awkward.) Best Man creator Malcolm D. Lee is being coy about the plot, saying only that it concerns the group’s “most unexpected wedding to date.” It’s enough to know that Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall and Nia Long are all back. (Photo is taken from 2013’s The Best Man Holiday.)
A Bigger Splash, opening May 13
Even art house audiences need a little spice in their lives. This erotic thriller about a sexy couple vacationing in Sicily, interrupted by a sexy old friend and his even sexier daughter, is filled with intrigue both in and out of the sheets. A Bigger Splash stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and, most alluring of all, the Italian seaside.
Maggie’s Plan, opening May 20
Indie film “It” girl Greta Gerwig plays a woman who wants to have a baby even though she can’t hold down a boyfriend for more than a few months. Eventually she inserts herself into the lives of married academics Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore, and chaos ensues. Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph round out the cast in this lo-fi romantic comedy.
La La Land, opening July 15
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. What more do you need to know? In their third outing together, after 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love and 2013’s Gangster Squad, the two stars join up with the talented writer/director of 2014’s Whiplash to give us a romantic comedy… musical? You read it right. We know Stone has the chops, but Gosling may need to dig into his Mickey Mouse Club past to rediscover his inner song-and-dance man.
Bridget Jones’s Baby, opening September 16
Just in case My Big Fat Wedding 2 didn’t quench your thirst for long-awaited rom-com sequels, along comes the third chapter in the Bridget Jones saga. Renée Zellweger returns as the now-pregnant British diarist, and we’re overjoyed to see Colin Firth back as befuddled swain Mark Darcy (both seen here in 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). Still need convincing? Okay, how about Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey in an as-yet-undisclosed role?
Passengers, opening December 21
Little is known about this sci fi romance, except that it stars Chris Pratt as an astronaut on a long voyage who accidentally awakens from space-sleep years before the rest of the crew. When he decides to wake a fellow passenger to stave off the loneliness, he picks Jennifer Lawrence. Smart choice. And yes, Lawrence has confirmed that there will be space sex. We are so there.