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Romance & Rom Coms You are my sun, my moon, my starlit sky. I live in darkness without you, you romantic films of 2012. Surely we are destined to be together, our first spectacular meeting in the cinema followed by a happy lifetime together in true love on DVD. Or something. Anywhere, here are the suitors for your affections this year...
WORDS HELEN O'HARA
On February 3 prepare to go Like Crazy, as Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones play an American (him) and British student (her) who fall in love but are ripped apart by the evil and overwhelming forces of visas. Can they make it work long-distance when she's banned from his country for outstaying her welcome? And why can't we all just get along? It's been doing the festival rounds for a few months now, and has had some love there, so keep an eye out for what promises to be a slightly a) cooler and b) more realistic love story than most.
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones in Like Crazy
On February 10 – and how weird is it that all of these romances are coming out around Valentine's Day! – it's the turn of The Vow with Rachel McAdams playing the newly-wed who loses her memory, leaving her devoted husband Channing Tatum (in one of his many appearances of 2012) to attempt to win her over all over again. Both leads are veterans of Nicolas Sparks romances already, between The Notebook and Dear John, so all this romantic angst should be familiar territory at least. Based on the true-life story of Kim and Krikitt Carpenter (real names, his and hers respectively), expect tear-jerkery galore.
Later in February look out for The Knot, starring and written by Noel Clarke and directed by feature film newcomer Jesse Lawrence. Clarke and Mena Suvari play the couple who are planning to get married; the plot basically sees everything that could go wrong going wrong before their wedding day. Matthew McNulty and Tallulah Riley also star.
On April 20 Gerard Butler will be Playing The Field, in a romance with a bit more drama than comedy to it. He's a former professional athlete who's trying to win redemption by coaching his son's team, but who keeps finding himself distracted by the 'soccer moms' around the field. One way or another, we're guessing he'll soon be wishing he'd kept it in his Spartan leather pants. Dennis Quaid, Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman also star, but we're pretty sure that Quaid at least isn't one of the soccer moms. Gabriele Muccino, who seems to live to make romantic dramas, directs.
Emily Blunt and Jason Segel in The Five Year Engagement
On April 27 it's time for The Five Year Engagement, with Emily Blunt and Jason Segel playing Tom and Violet, who get engaged and then find the world conspiring against their chances of actually having a wedding. The stars are adorable and the trailer was moderately promising, so we have hopes for this one. After all, that running-into-a-car-door gag was better executed than all the pratfalls in The Three Stooges trailer put together.
Are you ready for a Nicholas Sparks double-bill? Of course not! But you're getting one anyway, with the release of The Lucky One on May 4, and in theory Safe Haven on June 1 in the US. The former has Zac Efron starring as a Marine who's served for three tours in Iraq and is now searching for the unknown woman whose picture provided his good luck charm during combat. The latter is about a woman determined to drift through life – until she falls in love and wants to settle down, only for her dark past to catch up with her. That has a director, Lasse Halstrom, but despite being due for that summer release date has no confirmed cast yet so don't be surprised if it moves back. Still, Sparks fans – who one never meets but who must be numerous – will undoubtedly turn out whenever it's released.
On May 18 is What To Expect When You're Expecting, yet another ensemble effort based on a self-help book that has no plot and where the major link is that that book has name recognition. The trailer suggested that there are quite a few pregnancy tropes involved – mood swings, breast-feeding controversies and body trauma – but then there are surprisingly few films out there about pregnancy so this should find an audience. And with everyone from Chris Rock to Rodrigo Santoro to Joe "True Blood" Manganiello on the dad side to Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz among the mothers, there's bound to be someone there you like.
Cameron Diaz in What To Expect When You're Expecting
Speaking of ensemble films based on self-help books, how about Think Like A Man on June 22? This apparently sees four men conspire to turn the tables on their lady friends, who have been using Steve Harvey's advice book against them. Directed by Tim Story, the cast is a good 'un – think Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy and more – but to be perfectly honest we're not quite so sold on that plot. Let's hope the execution is more charming than the premise.
Finally, there's The Big Wedding, currently scheduled for October 19. In it, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton play a long-divorced couple who have to pretend to be married for their son's wedding (we're not sure why, but just go with it). This causes all sorts of high-larious misunderstandings, but expect everyone to learn a valuable lesson. At least the cast are all old hands at this sort of thing – the film also stars Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Robin Williams and Susan Sarandon. Director Justin Zackham is on only his second feature as director with this one – although writing and producing The Bucket List means he's got some experience – so let's hope he can juggle all those elements nicely.