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Romantic Comedy


Breakfast at Tiffany's [VHS]

Breakfast at Tiffany's [VHS] Lowest new price: $1.45
Lowest used price: $0.27
List price: $6.79

No film better utilizes Audrey Hepburn's flighty charm and svelte beauty than this romantic adaptation of Truman Capote's novella. Hepburn's urban sophisticate Holly Golightly, an enchanting neurotic living off the gifts of gentlemen, is a bewitching figure in designer dresses and costume jewelry. George Peppard is her upstairs neighbor, a struggling writer and "kept" man financed by a steely older woman (Patricia Neal). His growing friendship with the lonely Holly soon turns to love and threatens the delicate balance of both of their compromised lives. Taking liberties with Capote's bittersweet story, director Blake Edwards and screenwriter George Axelrod turn New York into a city of lovers and create a poignant portrait of Holly, a frustrated romantic with a secret past and a hidden vulnerability. Composer Henry Mancini earned Oscars for the hit song "Moon River" and his tastefully romantic score. The only sour note in the whole film is Mickey Rooney's demeaning performance as the apartment's Japanese manager, an offensively overdone stereotype even in 1961. The rest of the film has weathered the decades well. Edwards's elegant yet light touch, Axelrod's generous screenplay, and Hepburn's mix of knowing experience and naiveté combine to create one of the great screen romances and a refined slice of high society bohemian chic. --Sean Axmaker

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Overboard [VHS]

Overboard [VHS] Lowest new price: $1.98
Lowest used price: $1.99
List price: $9.94

It's the craziest mix-up ever! Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell dazzle the screen in this buoyant and screwball comedy of memory-making and memory-faking. One of Hollywood's most dynamic screen pairs, Hawn and Russell make the most of every hilarious situation in this delightful riches-to-rags romance that's perfect entertainment for anyone who appreciates a great practical joke. Hawn is Joanna Stayton, the pampered wife of a pretentious, yacht-owning socialite. When their boat gets stuck for repairs, Joanna employs carpenter Dean Proffitt (Russell) to improve her closet space. But when Dean asks to be paid, he's blatantly turned down by the "nothing is ever good enough for me" Joanna.So when Joanna falls overboard and gets a bad case of amnesia, Dean takes advantage of the situation and, in a stroke of retributive genius, tells her that she's his wife and the mother of hisfour unruly children!

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Sweet Home Alabama [VHS]

Sweet Home Alabama [VHS] Lowest new price: $3.85
Lowest used price: $1.00
List price: $7.83
Brand: SWEET HOME ALABAMA

This delightfully entertaining romantic comedy stars Reese Witherspoon (LEGALLY BLONDE) as sophisticated Melanie Carmichael, a rising New York clothing designer who suddenly finds herself engaged to the city's most eligible bachelor. But this is no fairy tale romance for Melanie. She has skeletons in her fashion-filled closet that include Jake -- the backwoods husband she married in high school who refuses to divorce her. Determined to end their marriage and sever all ties with her past once and for all, Melanie returns to Alabama. But home starts to tug at her heartstrings, and what she thought she wanted may not be what she wants at all.

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Rushmore [VHS]

Rushmore [VHS] Lowest new price: $9.89
Lowest used price: $5.94

RUSHMORE is the story of a gifted, rebellious teenager named Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a 10th grader at elite Rushmore Academy. Editor of the school newspaper, captain or president of innumerable clubs and societies, Max is also one of the worst students in the school, and the threat of expulsion hangs permanently over his head. Max's world is rocked when he falls for elegant 1st grade teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams) and he plans to erect an aquarium in her honor -- then finds himself competing for her affections with his friend, steel tycoon Mr. Blume (Bill Murray), the wealthy father of two of his classmates.

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Tall Guy [VHS]

Tall Guy [VHS] Lowest new price: $8.99
Lowest used price: $1.98
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Falling in love can be glorious, or poignant, or heartwarming ... but for most of us, it's mostly just absurd. And The Tall Guy captures that hysterical, head-over-heels surrealism perfectly. Jeff Goldblum plays the neurotic, allergy-ridden Dexter King, a stage actor stuck in a dead-end job in an interminable run of London's tackiest comic review. He's the "tall guy," the eternal butt of slapstick gags delivered by the star performer, a brilliantly obnoxious Rowan Atkinson. Cupid's arrow strikes between sneezes when hay fever propels Dexter to the doctor's office--and he catches his first glance of Nurse Kate Lemmon (a pre-Shakespeare Emma Thompson). Battling his deep-seated fear of needles, Dexter invents excuses to get shots just to get close to her. After much pain (and much prodding from Dexter's oddly maternal nymphomaniac landlady), their courtship takes off. (Kate's practical dating philosophy--have sex first, so you know if all those expensive dinners will actually be worth it--leads to one of the most comically destructive love scenes ever filmed.) Dexter, giddy with new love, gets fired--and lands the title role in Elephant!, a musical version of The Elephant Man (one heartwarming hit: "Somewhere in Heaven, There's an Angel with Big Ears"). But his curvaceous leading lady develops a champagne-fueled passion for pachyderms ... and Dexter's in yet another sticky situation.

As British romances go, The Tall Guy owes more to TV's Fawlty Towers than The English Patient--but what it lacks in depth, it makes up in sheer comedy. --Grant Balfour


While You Were Sleeping [VHS]

While You Were Sleeping [VHS] Lowest new price: $2.39
Lowest used price: $0.25
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While You Were Sleeping

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Emma [VHS]

Emma [VHS] Lowest new price: $6.99
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List price: $9.99

This delightfully fun and lighthearted comedy is based on the story that inspired the hit movie CLUELESS! Dazzling Gwyneth Paltrow (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) shines as EMMA, a mischievous young beauty who sets up her single friends. Funny thing is ... she's not very good at it! So when Emma tries to find a man for Harriet (Toni Collette -- MURIEL'S WEDDING), she makes a hilariously tangled mess of everyone's lives. You'll enjoy all the comic confusion ... until Emma herself falls in love, finally freeing everyone from her outrageously misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Most people didn't mind Gwyneth Paltrow's English accent in this charming, 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen's novel (which also inspired Clueless). But even if it doesn't sound quite right to you, there are plenty of authentic and wonderful Brit thespians in this film by screenwriter-turned-director Douglas McGrath (co-author of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway), including Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply), Alan Cumming (Buddy), Phyllida Law (Much Ado About Nothing), Ewan McGregor (the Scots star of Trainspotting), and Sophie Thompson, outstanding and finally heartbreaking as the chattering Miss Bates. Paltrow plays Austen's benign busybody, Emma Woodhouse--so busy trying to arrange the lives of others that she is sidestepping her own. McGrath brings a kind of pretty and light touch to the production, his best move the wise delegation of creative authority to the actors themselves. --Tom Keogh


Groundhog Day [VHS]

Groundhog Day [VHS] Lowest new price: $2.99
Lowest used price: $0.01
List price: $9.95

Bill Murray does warmth in his most consistently effective post-Stripes comedy, a romantic fantasy about a wacky weatherman forced to relive one strange day over and over again, until he gets it right. Snowed in during a road-trip expedition to watch the famous groundhog encounter his shadow, Murray falls into a time warp that is never explained but pays off so richly that it doesn't need to be. The elaborate loop-the-loop plot structure cooked up by screenwriter Danny Rubin is crystal-clear every step of the way, but it's Murray's world-class reactive timing that makes the jokes explode, and we end up looking forward to each new variation. He squeezes all the available juice out of every scene. Without forcing the issue, he makes us understand why this fly-away personality responds so intensely to the radiant sanity of the TV producer played by Andie MacDowell. The blissfully clueless Chris Elliott (Cabin Boy) is Murray's nudnik cameraman. --David Chute

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The Bishop's Wife [VHS]

The Bishop's Wife [VHS] Lowest new price: $5.99
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Cary Grant and Loretta Young Christmas Classic

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Six Days Seven Nights [VHS]

Six Days Seven Nights [VHS] Lowest new price: $3.95
Lowest used price: $0.02
List price: $9.49

The African Queen meets Swept Away in this sometimes labored romantic comedy by director Ivan Reitman. Fortunately, he cast an old pro in Harrison Ford, as Quinn Harris, a South Seas charter pilot who must ferry New York fashion editor Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) from one island to another--a hop that falls flat when they fly into a mammoth storm that causes them to crash on a deserted island. The pair resent and resist each other, until they are forced to team up to escape from the island--and some modern pirates who want their heads. If that part of the story is unconvincing, you can always focus on the smoldering comic chemistry between Heche, who displays strong comic instincts, and the ever-reliable Ford. The script is just an excuse for these two flinty characters to strike increasingly romantic sparks off each other, which is always enjoyable to watch. --Marshall Fine


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