Here's a sentence that sums me up: One of my favorite movie genres is magical romantic-comedy. "But aren't all rom-coms magical in one way or another?" you might ask. If by "magical" you mean "delightful," then, yes. Without a doubt. Totally fair point. However, when I say "magical rom-com," I mean "a rom-com where actual magic plays a role." There are many rom-coms that do not feature literal magic. I enjoy a good magic-less rom-com as much as the next person with flawless taste in films, but if a movie includes a crab with cooking powers or a love serum, I'll remain in its spellbinding palm forever.
This genre is not to be confused with the romance-fantasy genre (e.g., Stardust, The Princess Bride, and Enchanted) or the ghost-romance genre (e.g., Ghost, Just Like Heaven, and Over Her Dead Body). The magical rom-com looks like your garden variety romantic comedy on the surface: there’s a meet-cute; there’s a department store dressing room montage; there are prat falls; the runtime is always around 90 minutes; and, despite every last odd that has popped up over the course of the 90-minute movie, the protagonist winds up with the object of their affections in the final moments of the film. However, one crucial element is thrown into the cauldron: MAGIC.
I love rom-coms and I love magic, so yes, I do believe the magical rom-com to be a perfect movie genre. The only way I could love the genre more would be if a plate of gourmet macaroni and cheese suddenly appeared in front of me any time I watched any of the following classics:
13 Going On 30
There is time travel. There is glitter. There is a scene in which an entire party does the choreography from the "Thriller" music video. Any questions?
There is an enchanted crab in this movie. I repeat: THERE IS A ENCHANTED CRAB.
Just My Luck
The luckiest gal in the world and the unluckiest guy in the world smooch. A luck switcheroo curse happens. Hil-hair-ity ensues.
Kate & Leopold
Meg Ryan + Hugh Jackman + the magic of time travel = a cinematic masterpiece.
Just a couple o’ witchy sisters (Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock) living, laughing, loving, and sippin’ magic margaritas:
A grown man (Matthew Perry) magically turns into his 17 year old self (Zac Efron). If you don’t think this movie is rom enough to belong on a magic rom-com list, I'm confident this particular scene will change your mind:
Love Potion No. 9
“So, how do you like those… pretzels?”