Not that we like to conform to gender stereotypes but typically, guys aren't drawn to films which have the word 'romantic' in the description. Argue with us if you like, but it's true.
But with the release of both That Awkward Moment, a guy-fronted romantic comedy with Zac Efron, and Her, a sweet and sour tale of Joaquin Phoenix falling for a Siri-esque voice, we thought it was time to look at other films of the genre that deserve male attention. Because it's not all Katherine Heigl falling out of trees for 90 minutes...
He's cropped up in a few soppier examples of the genre (Must Love Dogs, Serendipity) but before all of that, John Cusack headlined this stellar example of a romantic comedy based around the guy's perspective. After a particularly painful break up, Rob Gordon decides to take a trip down memory lane to revisit his past failed relationships. It's a frank, funny and, most importantly, realistic film that understands that no one is perfect, especially when it comes to dating.
When Harry Met Sally
Arriving in the middle of a glut of successful yet rather sentimental romance movies (Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Ghost), this seminal rom-com was brave enough to actually tackle the issues that men and women face with each other. So there was no stupid bet or forced pratfalls but instead there was well-observed and refreshing discussion about whether men and woman can really be friends without any sexual element. Despite many inferior imitations, this still holds up remarkably well.
(500) Days Of Summer
Now while we're used to seeing films that paint woman as lovelorn and men as emotionally vacant, we're not so used to seeing it the other way around. So this hipster hit came as a bit of surprise. While Joseph Gordon-Levitt was keen for a relationship with Zooey Deschanel, she was less keen on such a definition, making for an initially funny and ultimately painful revisionist romance. Excluding the pat final scene, it offered up a believably painful dynamic that guys could genuinely empathise with.
Before he veered in, and then out of, self-parody, Woody Allen was the king of relationship films for guys. Annie Hall was arguably his finest example, telling the story of a couple who gradually grow apart from each other and the bittersweet feeling that leaves. It's a sad yet funny film and Allen's neurotic shtick has rarely been better or more worryingly relatable.
You can buy it on Blu-ray here
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Another film here which takes an event usually seen through the eyes of women, the dreaded break up, and gives it a male spin. So we see Jason Segal crying, burning photos, crying, getting drunk and crying in an attempt to get over his ex. While the situation is played for some cruel laughs, they soon give way to a well-observed story of accepting the reality behind the romance. Falling for Mila Kunis certainly helps too.
For any guy who thinks all boy-meets-girl storylines end happily, Blue Valentine is a heart-smashing reminder that they really, really don't. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give spot-on performances as a couple seen at the beginning and the end of their relationship. It's a tough watch, given the horribly believable arguments between the pair, but undeniably powerful stuff. Ace Grizzly Bear soundtrack too.
An unconventional romance here that showed a slightly softer side to writer/director Kevin Smith after Clerks and Mallrats. A pre-Good Will Hunting Ben Affleck stars as a guy who falls for a girl who happens to like girls. While there is some of Smith's trademark adult humour, the film also works as a surprisingly mature look at gender issues and portrays the predicament in a suitably messy manner.
Nick Hornby crops up again here with an adaptation of his 1992 autobiographical book on the endless struggle between a man's love for football vs his girlfriend. Managing to avoid "lads" clichés, the film managed to highlight the importance of having a passion outside of your relationship. The remake, starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, was also surprisingly effective.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Another film that doesn't shy away from portraying male heartbreak, this ingenious Oscar-winning film gave Jim Carrey a chance to play against type as he portrayed a withdrawn man suffering from a break up. He then decides to do something that anyone who's been in that situation has been desperate to do: have his memories erased. While there's a hefty portion of salt throughout, the film also manages to convey sweetness without ever becoming saccharine.
Out Of Sight
Notable for being both the first film where George Clooney truly showed his leading man credentials and also for being a film with Jennifer Lopez that isn't awful, Out of Sight still contains more sexual chemistry than 100 sexual chemistry sets being used by the world's leading sexual chemist. It's also a cracking crime caper which has you rooting for the mismatched couple without getting all soft on us.