Best lighthearted rom-coms to stream on Netflix: Falling Inn Love, Tall Girl, and more

Best lighthearted rom-coms to stream on Netflix: Falling Inn Love, Tall Girl, and more

Because you watched...

Text: Emily Heng

It is only logical that Netflix's extensive library requires an equally comprehensive categorisation system. One that goes beyond genre, year, and format so as to facilitate swift and suitable viewing choices. A concept well-grasped by the streaming platform, it comes as no surprise that they have taken to the challenge with their signature wit and aplomb. So far, I've observed categories in the vein of That Atas Life (Dynasty, Yummy Mummies); Festival Focus (Okja, Marriage Story); and my personal favourite of the lot: Cringe Binge.

The jury's still out as to what exactly is a Cringe Binge flick. Some claim it to be "bad movies", while others deem it shows where characters get themselves into horribly awkward situations. The magic of it, I suppose, is that it is all up to interpretation. Maybe it is in reference to clichéd, done-to-death movies, or perhaps these are titles likely to induce intense feelings of secondhand embarrassment. Who knows? At this point, it's anyone's game.

As for myself, I've elected to believe that it's a meld of the two. Translation: titles so ridiculous, so trite, and so watchable that you find yourself breezing through them with a mixture of horror and fascination. Think a car crash you can't look away from, except with lower production value. Yes, they're probably trivial, and yes, it's unlikely that you'll walk away 120 minutes later having gleaned some new meaning in life — but there's no denying that these films, in itself, do contain intrinsic value.

Mind-numbing as they might be, they do provide comfort and a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times; a guaranteed formula sure to soothe rankled feelings and any sense of unease. I've talked at lengths about the merits of comfort TV, so who's to say that this phenomenon doesn't extend to the big screen, too? From seasonal specials to ensemble musicals, here's what to stream the next time you're in the mood for some (mindless) entertainment.

Work It

The opening lines of the trailer to Netflix's latest dance comedy is enough to set off a full body shudder on my part. Praying to Queen Bey for swift feet and, uh, swagger?! Strange, embarrassing, and comparable to saying WWBD (what would Beyoncé do) with a straight face. And yet, the stellar performances from Sabrina Carpenter and Jordan Fisher transforms a potentially offbeat flick into a charming watch. Sure, there's not much that distinguishes it from feel-good hits such as High School Musical and Step Up, but it is earnest in presentation, dialogue, as well as its portrayal of a racially-diverse cast in America. Centered around awkward overachiever, Quinn Ackerman, it follows her journey joining the school's dance team in a bid to beef up her (paltry) list of extracurricular activities before college. Take from that what you will, folks.

A Christmas Prince

Honestly, any movie that features royalty in some shape or form requires some suspension of belief (see: Princess Diaries or The Prince & Me). And yet, the best ones always leave you feeling warm and mushy inside, all while harbouring completely false ideals of what monarchy entails. Luckily, A Christmas Prince ticks all of the boxes. A convoluted, entirely impractical storyline featuring a journalist pretending to be a tutor! One conventionally attractive male lead with a bad hairline! And of course, parental disapproval in spades. Seriously, I'm deliberating a re-watch as I write this.

Falling Inn Love

Home renovation shows don't just make for great reality TV, they make for great rom-com plots too. Starring R&B songbird, Christina Milian, and Australian soap actor, Adam Demos, it centers around a high-flying city girl moving to New Zealand's countryside to flip a desolate inn. This one is packed to the brim with classic tropes: opposites attract, gratuitous shirtless scenes, and a motley crew of quirky sidekicks of the animal variety. I nodded off at one point while watching this and emerged an hour later to discover I haven't missed out on any plot points — at least, not any that would impact my understanding of the movie. And hey, if anything, I think the New Zealand tourism board should consider integrating Falling Inn Love's immersive, sweeping cinematography in their latest tourism campaign. Who cares about realism when I can gawk at a perfectly-shaped knoll?

Tall Girl

The appeal of this movie lies in the mundanity of it all; a production where the lead's biggest problem is being... tall. Nevertheless, I did like how director, Nzingha Stewart, made sure to pack this 102-minute movie with all the classic rom-com stereotypes. See: a makeover montage, mean girls, and a best friend who's nursing a huge crush on said main character. In sum: all that 2000s teen movie goodness, without any twists, turns, or originality to worry about whatsoever. Whee.

The Kissing Booth

It was Netflix's most re-watched movie in 2019 for good reason. Based upon a Wattpad story that was eventually published into a novel, The Kissing Booth has all the makings of a cult classic: it's so bad, it's good dialogue; forbidden romance; and one-note characters that are so unremarkable, we forget about them the second they go off-screen. And yet, I enjoyed it for all its unnecessary melodrama. You know, the cheesy kiss-in-the-rain scenes, the unmitigated use of the word bestie, and the subtle sexism (kidding). The sequel was released this year, with its third part slated to drop in 2021.