Romantic comedy is an attractive genre for Hollywood: often big bucks at the box office, for lower-than-average production budget (less need for digitally enhanced aliens - plastic surgeries provided by actors themselves). In short, something to get the producers squealing with delight. Traditional Hollywood thinking suggests that marrying romance and comedy creates a match made in date movie heaven, if the romance ropes in the females, and comedy the males. Whether this ploy works in reality or not, the genre's escapist aspect of light-hearted plots and practically guaranteed happy endings appeals to a large chunk of people.

The first romantic comedies date to the infancy of cinema. ''[[Film/LeBarometreDeLaFidelite Le Baromètre De La Fidélité]]'' (1909) might be the first rom-com; ''Film/CityLights'' is one of the most famous silent era rom-coms. In the 30's-50's romantic comedies (e.g. ''Film/ItHappenedOneNight'', ''Film/BringingUpBaby'', ''Film/SomeLikeItHot'') romantic entanglements and the comedy aspect were equally prominent, with quickfire dialogue and screwball comedy elements. The 60's romantic comedies snuck in more direct sexual references, and also some more cynical undercurrents (e.g. ''Film/PillowTalk'', ''Film/TheApartment'', ''Film/BreakfastAtTiffanys''). 70's paved way for the "radical romantic comedy", which inspected the ideology of romance, and therefore didn't guarantee a happy ending for the couple (e.g. ''Film/AnnieHall'', ''Film/{{Manhattan}}''). The '80s romantic comedies often put comedy first, and employed established comedians (e.g. ''Film/{{Tootsie}}'', ''Film/ComingToAmerica'', ''Film/{{Roxanne}}'', ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally'').

At the turn of 80's and 90's the critical and commercial success of ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally'' and ''Film/PrettyWoman'' induced a large-scale resurgence for romantic comedies. Casting Creator/TomHanks, Creator/MegRyan, Creator/SandraBullock, Creator/HughGrant and/or Creator/JuliaRoberts seemed to be quickhand for ka-ching. But, the execs seemed to forget that these films worked because they also featured original premises and thoughtful plotting (e.g. ''Film/WhileYouWereSleeping'', ''Film/MyBestFriendsWedding'', ''Film/FourWeddingsAndAFuneral'', ''Film/SenseAndSensibility''). The mainstream's increasing reliance on story contrivances has resulted in giving the whole genre a stamp of [[StrictlyFormula convention-obsessive disorder]].

Industry continued to believe that the right name above the title would guarantee a hit even without an original script. But, the transition from the Hollywood-aging stars to younger, pretty, blonde girls like Creator/CameronDiaz, Creator/ReeseWitherspoon, Creator/KateHudson, Creator/JenniferAniston and Katherine Heigl has proved only unreliably bankable. Rom-com seems to be at crossroads.

The busiest rom-com stars have shared many factors: they're slim, Caucasian, conventionally good-looking people, in their 20's-40s, playing straight roles. This could change, as some of the biggest commercial successes of 00's and 10's have deviated from the previous norm: ''Film/{{Hitch}}'' and ''Film/ThinkLikeAMan'' featured African-American leads. ''Film/TheBestExoticMarigoldHotel'' stars love-lorn retirees, and in ''Film/HopeSprings'' sixty-somethings Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep get frisky.

In the outskirts of Hollywood, indies and smaller films can approach the genre in a roundabout way, toying with the traditional story arc of Meet Cute - Third Act Trouble - Together-Forever Promise (e.g. ''Film/AboutABoy'', ''Film/TheFiveYearEngagement'', ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'',

Moreover, many newer rom-coms have tickled the moulds by taking cues from the raunchier gross-out films: in ''Film/KnockedUp'' woman meets a drunken hook-up; in ''Film/ForgettingSarahMarshall'' man meets ex and Russell Brand; in ''Film/{{Bridesmaids}}'' ChickFlick conventions meet explosive diarrhea; in ''Film/TheFortyYearOldVirgin'' man meets...nothing, for a few decades.

The romance/comedy premise lends itself well for genre couplings, which also handily broadens the potential fanbase. Sometimes the writers add some SpeculativeFiction elements to the mix. The woman might be an alien; the man might get a superpower. In ''Film/{{Splash}}'' the love interest is a mermaid, in ''Film/RubySparks'' she's a creation of his mind. ''Film/HappyAccidents'' and ''Film/SafetyNotGuaranteed'' throw (potential) time-travel into the potluck. Most often, this merely produces [[HilarityEnsues hilarious complications]], but it can also lead to a case of EverythingButTheGirl.

The writer can additionally dip into sports' movies (e.g. ''Film/JerryMaguire''), or an adventure flick (e.g. ''Film/ThePrincessBride'', ''Film/RomancingTheStone''). Maybe the romance-comedy could menage-à-trois with a historical film (e.g.''Film/ShakespeareInLove''), a black comedy (e.g. ''Film/HaroldAndMaude''), or fantasy (e.g. ''Film/GroundhogDay'', ''Film/LAStory'').