reminded me about the charm and grace Meg Ryan had within these movies; she was truly a star, and could make you fall in love with her different characters over and over again. Like with every actress the days of their time within romantic comedies end, and they have to pass the crown on to someone else. Prior to the 2000s (the late eighties and nineties) three women's names dominated the world of romantic comedies, Bullock, Roberts, and Ryan. As the 2000s began new leading ladies tried to add themselves to this elite list, and while many tried few came close to the glory.
Reese Witherspoon holds the title as being one of the most successful women of the decade. Reese started the decade strong with the hit Legally Blonde (2001); she followed up this film one year later with another big hit Sweet Home Alabama (2002) where she had to choose between Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas (talk about a Sophie's Choice). After her Oscar win in 2005 Witherspoon stepped away from these roles trying to prove her dramatic chops even further, but her career has not been as strong; she has not been in many successful films.
A few other woman have vied for this crown throughout this decade:
Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life as we Know it, New Year's Ever, and One for the Money). Heigl's first two films on the list were hits, but she has been known to be a bit of a diva, and the rest of these romantic comedies fell flat for her career.
Drew Barrymore tried this during the 2000s as well, after a few successes in the 90s with The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, she had a real shot with her charm, but not much ever took. Barrymore tried with Duplex, 50 First Dates, Fever Pitch, and Music and Lyrics. The truth is the girl has talent, see Grey Gardens, but she is not the romantic comedy gal anymore.
These are just four ladies who tried to be the next Meg Ryan/Julia Roberts/Sandra Bullock. Three of the most successful Queens of the world of romantic comedies. These three woman picked the right movies (most of the time) and were able to make the chemistry work. While the four women above tried to dethrone them, the only real woman who could be added to this list for the 2000s is the Queen of Film, Ms. Meryl Streep.
Meryl has proven two things, age does not matter, and she can really take on any role Throughout the 2000s and 2010s she has starred in some of the best romantic comedies of the decade: Mamma Mia!, The Devil Wears Prada (although more about Hathaway), Julie & Julia, It's Complicated, and Hope Springs. The difference between Meryl and the women listed above is that she knows how to pick a movie, and her performance can always turn a bad movie into a good; she has the advantage.
Romantic comedies have become too formulaic, and Streep has changed things up for the decade because as an older woman she is reviving the genre, and proving you are never too old for love!