- Insider rounded up the best and worst romantic comedies that Netflix has to offer and ranked them by critical consensus.
- Films like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018) and “Set it Up” (2018) soared to the top of the list with their originality and charming leads.
- Others like “The Last Summer” (2019) and “The Kissing Booth” (2018) appeared to miss the mark.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In the last few years, Netflix has branched out as a streaming service by producing a slew of original romantic comedies.
From whimsical mishaps to charming meet-cutes, here are the 10 best and 10 worst Netflix romantic comedies of all time based on critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
Note: The scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018) was received as warm and endearing.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Summary: Based on the popular young-adult novel of the same name, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” centres around Lara Jean (Lana Condor), a young student whose life is thrown for a loop when her private love letters are delivered to all the boys she’s loved through the years.
Critics applauded “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” for its sweet and charming tone and praised the chemistry between lead Condor and her love interest Noah Centineo.
“The film is precisely what it should be: pleasing and clever, comforting and fun and romantic,” Linda Holmes wrote for NPR.
“Set It Up” (2018) was praised as a fresh, smart film.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Summary: Overworked assistants Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) conspire to get their respective high-powered bosses to date so that they can chisel out some free time for themselves, but they’re unprepared for the feelings they develop for each other.
“Set it Up” earned praise from critics for garnering fresh material from a well-worn premise.
“It’s a feel-good throwback to Nineties romantic comedies like ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘You’ve Got Mail’ that left me warm and nostalgic for the simple pleasure of falling in love,” wrote Monica Castillo for the Village Voice.
“Always Be My Maybe” (2019) balanced its comedy and romance with equal measure.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Summary: After an unexpected break with a long-term boyfriend, high-profile chef Sasha (Ali Wong) returns to her hometown of San Francisco and reconnects with her childhood friend Marcus (Randall Park) after having spent 15 years apart.
Critics praised “Always Be My Maybe” for balancing the comedic elements as deftly as it handled the romantic plotline between Park and Wong.
As Joey Keogh wrote for Vague Visages, “The brainchild of comedian Ali Wong, the film is sharp, fresh, funny and sweetly self-assured.”
Jessica Williams shined in “The Incredible Jessica James” (2017).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Summary: In “The Incredible Jessica James,” aspiring writer Jessica (Jessica Williams) navigates New York City during a breakup, hoping her feelings for her new friend Boone (Chris O’Dowd) lead to more than just a rebound.
Critics were charmed by “The Incredible Jessica James,” noting Williams’ lead performance as a highlight.
“A 27-year-old comedian and Daily Show correspondent given ample room to breathe, riff and roar by director Jim Strouse’s script, Williams bounds into the proceedings with unfiltered comic peculiarity,” Guy Lodge wrote for The Guardian.
Critics praised “Happy Anniversary” (2018) for its well-tuned emotional heft.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Summary: On the day of their three-year anniversary, Sam (Ben Schwartz) and Mollie (Noël Wells) come to a crossroads in their relationship, realising that they have reached a point where they should either break up or get married.
“Happy Anniversary” earned positive reviews from critics for capturing the authentic aspects of long-term relationships.
“‘Happy Anniversary’ blends comedy and drama well, creating a film which never feels like one genre is more prominent than the other,” wrote Amanda Mazzillo for Film Inquiry. “Schwartz and Wells give memorable performances, balancing the comedic and dramatic moments of their character’s journey.”
Critics loved the thematic messaging of “Someone Great” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%
Summary: Suddenly single after being in a nine-year relationship, Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) asks her friends to accompany her on one last, adventurous day in New York City before she moves across the country.
“Someone Great” earned love from critics for putting the women in the film front and centre while delivering a positive message about female empowerment.
“It’s not quite as charming or winning as other Netflix rom-com originals, but it does have a more meaningful message: Find yourself, then find the guy,” Mara Reinstein wrote for Us Weekly.
“Alex Strangelove” (2018) was praised as unique and heartwarming.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Summary: Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) is a high-school senior with a great academic record and a devoted girlfriend – but his life turns upside down when he develops feelings for Elliot (Antonio Marziale). Confused and curious, Alex sets out on a new path as he explores his sexuality.
Critics praised “Alex Strangelove” for finding a unique place for itself in the coming-of-age genre.
As Glenn Kenny wrote for The New York Times, “‘Alex Strangelove’ is witty, compassionate and enjoyable throughout; a charming movie and in many respects an enlightened one.”
Critics called “Let it Snow” (2019) a corny, but cute, teen film.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%
Summary: As a snowstorm blankets a cosy Midwestern town in snow, a group of high schoolers find their lives intertwining as they set out to find love, puzzle out their futures, and throw a massive party in the centre of town.
Although some critics found fault with the somewhat schmaltzy tone of “Let it Snow,” most said that the cast elevated their material and produced a fun flick.
“‘Let It Snow’ offers enough feel-good moments to provide a good start to the Netflix Christmas romance season,” Natasha Alvar wrote for Cultured Vultures.
Critics adored Vanessa Hudgens in “The Princess Switch” (2018).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%
Summary: Chicago-born Stacy travels to the country of Belgravia for a baking competition, surprised to find that the Duchess of Montenaro looks identical to her. Needing a respite from her royal life, Margaret suggests that she and Stacy switch places for a few days, causing them both to find love in unexpected places.
Critics said that although “The Princess Switch” wasn’t without flaws, it made up for its shortcomings with a winning performance from Hudgens.
“Exactly what the hopeless romantic ordered for their Christmas viewing this season,” wrote film critic Jeffrey Lyles. “This is likely one that will be in heavy rotation throughout December.”
“A Christmas Prince” (2017) was met as a sweet, self-aware holiday romp.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%
Summary: Over the holidays, aspiring journalist Amber Moore (Rose McIver) travels from New York to Eastern Europe to get the scoop on Prince Richard, who is set to become the king of Aldovia. After lying about her identity in order to get closer to the prince, Amber suddenly finds herself falling in love with him.
“A Christmas Prince” was met warmly by critics for its corny yet sweet script.
“A Christmas Prince is an instant classic,” wrote Dana Schwartz for Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a Netflix original movie, but it feels like a violation of nature that it somehow isn’t from Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel.”
On the other hand, “Ibiza” (2018) had mixed reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
Summary: Harper (Gillian Jacobs) has her friends Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) and Leah (Phoebe Robinson) tag along with her for a work trip to Barcelona, only for them to make a last-minute decision to party in Ibiza. Emboldened by her spontaneous new behaviour, Harper starts to fall for a DJ (Richard Madden).
The reception for “Ibiza” was mixed, with some critics praising the comedic abilities of the leads and others panning the underwhelming plot.
“Although the script relies on gross-out body humour more often than it needs to, it manages to be deeper and more resonant than most girls gone wild comedies,” observed Katie Walsh for the Los Angeles Times.
Critics said “The Perfect Date” (2019) was sweet but predictable.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%
Summary: Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo) has his hopes set on attending an Ivy League school for college, but feels held back by his lack of money. Determined to raise enough cash to go to his dream school, Brooks creates a dating app that allows users to hire him as a plus-one on dates.
“The Perfect Date” earned points for assembling a charming cast, but overall it was too predictable for its own good.
“Obvious,” wrote Roger Moore for Movie Nation. “But the banter’s winning and the leads damned adorable together.”
“Unicorn Store” (2019) was a quirky film with clunky execution.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%
Summary: Kit (Brie Larson) is a young woman with a huge imagination who puts her artistic dreams on hold to work in an office building. But everything changes when she receives a mysterious invitation to a store that sells only one thing: unicorns.
Critics praised Larson for playing double duty as both lead actress and director, but felt that the script left something to be desired.
“‘Unicorn Store’ has so much going for it – a great cast, solid premise, an exciting director – but the magic falls flat,” wrote Karl Delossantos for Smash Cut Reviews. “That’s no fault of Brie Larson, whose endearing performance and uneven yet promising direction keep the movie afloat.”
Critics called “Falling Inn Love” (2019) harmless and forgettable.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%
Summary: Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) feels like her life is falling apart after her design firm goes under and her boyfriend breaks up with her in the same week. But after she wins a competition to travel to the countryside of New Zealand, Gabriela finds a new perspective and a charming new love interest with contractor Jake Taylor (Adam Demos).
Conventional and ridden with clichés, “Falling Inn Love” didn’t earn high praise from critics. Even those who fell in love with the leads felt like the movie was just ticking boxes.
“While you might be willing to give it a chance, ‘Falling Inn Love’ will have you questioning whether Netflix’s romance offerings are going to take you out on a second date, or you’ve got better things to do like wash your hair,” joked Amanda Greever in her review for The Daily Times.
“Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” (2018) was slightly salvaged by its star.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%
Summary: In “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser,” high schooler Sierra (Shannon Purser) falls for fellow classmate Jamey (Noah Centineo), but feels like he looks right past her. Sierra recruits reformed mean girl Veronica (Kristine Froseth) in helping her win Jamey over.
Many viewers and critics were appalled by the number of ethical lines the protagonist crossed, but several still pinpointed Purser as a likable lead.
“Though the script’s characterization of Sierra is at times uneven, Purser figures out her mix of confidence and insecurity,” wrote Esther Zuckerman for Thrillist.
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” (2018) didn’t impress critics like its predecessor.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%
Summary: In the sequel to “A Christmas Prince,” Amber and Richard are in the midst of their wedding plans when Amber starts to worry about her role as future queen and Richard is placed at the forefront of a political crisis.
Critics who liked the first instalment met “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” with less enthusiasm, but overall this sequel was considered light, if empty, amusement.
“It’s cheesy, it’s cringey, but most importantly, it’s harmless-and worth a watch if you’re in the mood for some mindless holiday cheer,” wrote Libby Torres for The Daily Beast.
Reviews for “When We First Met” (2018) described it as lazy.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 43%
Summary: Noah (Adam DeVine) has always felt sidelined by his crush Avery (Alexandra Daddario), but an opportunity to travel back in time presents him with a second chance in making her fall in love with him.
Although DeVine’s lead performance helped keep “When We First Met” afloat, most critics were put off by the flick’s haphazard plot and initially problematic premise.
“Adam DeVine’s doofy charm helps, but it’s not enough to save this Groundhog Day-ish exercise that works hard to put every romantic-comedy genre contrivance into play,” Mike Scott wrote for The Times-Picayune.
Critics said “The Holiday Calendar” (2018) played it safe.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 33%
Summary: Struggling photographer Abby Sutton (Kat Graham) stumbles upon an advent calendar with the uncanny ability to predict the future and uses its magical power to help her with life and love.
“The Holiday Calendar” was panned by critics for its predictability and weak script, with Graham’s performance often mentioned as the film’s best trait.
As Lea Palmieri wrote for Decider, “This movie is like a sugar cookie: you know exactly what you’re getting, and it has all the right ingredients (love, magic, presents), but it would have been even better with a little frosting on top, is all.”
Critics said “The Last Summer” (2019) didn’t contribute much to the romantic-comedy genre.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 17%
Summary: During their last summer before they go off to college and begin their adult lives, a group of teenagers (KJ Apa, Jacob Latimore, Maia Mitchell) do their best to make the most of their adolescence before everything changes.
Critics said that because of the film’s attempt to pay homage to better coming-of-age comedies of the past, “The Last Summer” failed to stand on its own.
“There’s no doubt that the notable cast will attract limited audiences in search of a light-hearted diversion, but anyone craving a substantial story about coming-of-age and young love will be bitterly disappointed in this uninspired, vapid mess,” wrote Marc Ricov for Film Inquiry.
Critics called “The Kissing Booth” (2018) a heavy-handed mess.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 17%
Summary: Based on the young-adult novel of the same name, “The Kissing Booth” follows young Elle Evans (Joey King) as she steps outside of her comfort zone and runs a kissing booth at the school carnival. But after she kisses her best friend’s older brother, Elle finds herself torn between staying loyal to her friendship and pursuing her romantic feelings.
“The Kissing Booth” was received poorly by critics, who said that the film mishandled its themes and was littered with clichés.
“‘The Kissing Booth’ is not a good movie,” wrote Meghan O’Keefe for Decider. “It is a good, drunk, mindless, late night rom-com watch, but it is not a good movie. For that, we say skip it.”