Three romantic comedies go head to head in a Valentine’s Day showdown

If one is planning dinner and a movie for Valentine’s Day, it will be important to pick an appropriate flick. Here’s a review of potential V-Day choices playing in movie theaters:

“It’s Complicated” has been getting a lot of attention since the holidays and is still lingering in theaters. Writer and director Nancy Meyers (“The Holiday”) has previously excelled at creating memorable characters in heart-warming scenarios, but her new movie is a hard sell for the date crowd. It deals with a love triangle of sorts, and brings up a few awkward moments that might not be perfect date material.

The movie has its comedic moments. In fact, Meryl Streep (“Julie and Julia”) is quite funny in the lead role, as is Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”) who plays her sleezy ex with flair.

John Krasinski (“The Office”), who plays their daughter’s fiancé, steals a lot of surprising laughs.

But the movie is ultimately more of a drama. It leaves the characters chewed up and any romance is left open-ended. Unless a viewer is looking for a romantic comedy that isn’t exactly mainstream, this movie might not be the way to go.

“Leap Year,” on the other hand, is a classic love/hate relationship with a few laughs and a road trip thrown in. It feels like a remake of “It Happened One Night” but the context is more modern. Instead of a rich girl running off to marry in order to escape her controlling father, a woman runs off to find her fiancé to propose to him (since he hasn’t done the job himself). The setting in Ireland has the added romantic appeal of castles and foreign vistas that are sure to please any Anglophile’s fancy.

While the movie itself could have been formulaic, it escapes that fate thanks to the acting talents of America’s latest romantic darling – Amy Adams (“Julie and Julia”) – who adds a sense of endearment to a character who might otherwise annoy. Not to mention the romantic lead played by Matthew Goode (“Watchmen”) is every bit as good as Clark Gable was back in his day. He’s gruff but endearing.

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“Leap Year” is a romance that will leave viewers with a happy ending. It will make hearts soar and true romantics sigh.

However, there might be a few guys not be in the mood for anything quite so sappy, comedy or no. If one is looking for a romantic comedy that appeals equally to both sexes, then “When in Rome” is the way to go.

This is a movie that has more laughs than some comedies of recent memory. It somehow makes the comedic talents of Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”), Dax Shepard (“Baby Mama”), Will Arnett (“30 Rock”) and Kristen Bell (“Couples Retreat”) work well together. Plus when there are five guys all vying for the affections of one woman, one is bound to encounter some comedic gold.

Throw in a handsome male lead with Josh Duhamel (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”) who was long overdue for such a role (“Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” aside), and you’ve got the makings of a light-hearted comedy with a sweet romance that is bound to please everyone.