romantic comedy — think When Harry Met Sally… or The Apartment — is a thing of beauty. The chemistry is palpable, every quote sparkles, and there’s enough realism to keep you invested. Your heart lifts, your eyes tear up, and you find yourself sitting there with a stupid grin on your face long after the end credits have rolled. This is what love is supposed to be.
Then there are those
other rom-coms. Their grasp on reality is tenuous. Their scripts fall flat. Their message seems to go something like this: Find someone. Find anyone. Even if you have to betray a friend, jump through hoops, or compromise everything about yourself. If that’s what love is supposed to be, count us out.
As Valentine’s Day nears, we’d like to remind any singletons out there that there are a million things worse than flying solo. You could be sleeping with a guy you’re not entirely sure isn’t your dad, taking dating advice from a macho meathead, or slut-shaming yourself for having sex.
That’s the sort of thing that happens in a bad rom-com. Meet the worst offenders right here.
(1999) She’s All That Why does it take a makeover for Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) to finally be interested in Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook)? She was awesome before she took off her glasses. Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock
(2001) On the Line Tracking down a random girl you met on the train was a lot more complicated and stalker-y before Craigslist Missed Connections came along. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2000) Down to You In which Al (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) attempts suicide by drinking shampoo after breaking up with boring Imogen (Julia Stiles). Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2000) Bounce Exes Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow star in yet another film in which simply telling the truth from the get-go would avoid a ton of drama. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2001) Kate & Leopold Is New York City’s dating scene really so bad that you’d give up your thriving career just to be with some guy in 1876? Have fun not voting, Kate. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2005) Rumor Has It So, Sarah (Jennifer Aniston) runs out on Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) because she thinks Beau (Kevin Costner) might have fathered her in a romantic rendezvous that inspired The Graduate. The only reasonable thing to do, of course, is to sleep with Beau. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2005) Monster-in-Law Fact: Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes are the only actors with any chemistry here. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2006) Failure to Launch Spoiler: She’s traumatized by a past relationship with a man who lived with his parents. He still lives with his parents because he’s devastated by the death of his ex. What a perfect match! Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2007) Good Luck Chuck The good news? You’ll find your one true love after having sex with Dane Cook. The bad news? You have to have sex with Dane Cook. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2008) Made of Honor The low point is when Tom (Patrick Dempsey) shames his date for ordering fried dumplings at dim sum. The horror! Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2008) What Happens in Vegas How do people get into these predicaments? Why do movie judges make these implausible rulings? When are we going to learn to stop watching them? Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) Did You Hear About the Morgans? Witnessing a murder and having to hide out on a ranch with real, common folk works wonders for any marriage. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) Bride Wars This brides-be-crazy farce will put you off weddings for good. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) The Ugly Truth What would “hopelessly single” girlboss Abby (Katherine Heigl) do without the boorish Mike (Gerard Butler) there to coach her on deep-throating a hot dog? Truly offensive. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) The Rebound Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) bounces back from her divorce by dating a man 15 years her junior. It’s not the age difference that kills it; it’s her complete lack of chemistry with Aram (Justin Bartha). Skip this and soak up the much saucier May-December romance in the French film Bright Days Ahead instead. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) Confessions of a Shopaholic Of course Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is only able to pay off her debts when her dream guy secretly buys her beloved scarf at auction. How convenient. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Connor (Matthew McConaughey) was a huge a-hole to Jenny (Jennifer Garner), and yet, he manages to get her back anyway. How refreshing. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) All About Steve Actual quote: “If you love someone, set him free; if you have to stalk him, he probably wasn’t yours in the first place.” Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2009) Couples Retreat Having marital problems? By all means, drag your three closest pals and their mates with you to group therapy. Meanwhile, singletons are flying to Ibiza in droves just because they can. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2010) The Switch Apparently, contaminating sperm intended for your best friend’s insemination and secretly fathering the child yourself isn’t a deal-breaker. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2010) Killers Let’s all make Jen (Katherine Heigl) feel bad about being a boring wife. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2010) When in Rome Nick (Josh Duhamel) falls for Beth (Kristen Bell), but she’s convinced it’s just a love spell. Girl, get over it. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2010) Leap Year Anna (Amy Adams) wants to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day in Dublin, but gets Planes, Trains, and Automobile’ d with hunky Declan (Matthew Goode) instead. Poor lass. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2010) The Back-up Plan Any rom-com that begins with an illustrated montage of a woman looking lovesick at every baby in her path is off to a bad start. Also, what’s up with Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) going from being a woman taking charge of her fertility to someone who lets her jerk boyfriend shame her for having a pregnancy pillow? Photo: Photofest.
(2011) Something Borrowed So…we’re supposed to root for Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) to steal Darcy’s (Kate Hudson) man because she didn’t have the confidence to make a move on him first, or call dibs? Meh. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2011) A Little Bit of Heaven Two rom-com tropes we hope to never see again: 1) mystical spells, angels, and visions of Whoopi Goldberg as a wish-granting God; 2) happy-go-lucky but seriously ill heroines who can only be saved by the love of one man. This dud has both. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2011) New Year’s Eve It says a lot when a movie jam-packs a dozen couples into one film, and yet you don’t find yourself rooting for any of them. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2011) Just Go With It This title is surely alluding to the incredulity inspired by an Adam Sandler character somehow fending off ones played by Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker. We hope Nicole Kidman, who also stars, fired her agent. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2012) This Means War Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) gets all reckless and dates two guys at the same time (but, you’ll note, doesn’t sleep with both, because that would so slutty). Chelsea Handler plays the best friend who dispenses advice like: “Don’t choose the better man. Choose the man who makes you a better girl.” So, yeah, it’s all very barfy. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2013) Baggage Claim This film, in which Montana (Paula Patton) hunts down her exes in response to her sister getting engaged, treats being single like the Zika virus. Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
(2015) Aloha Sorry, but it’s pretty hard to get past Emma Stone playing someone with the last name of Ng. Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
(2018) Sierra Burgess Is A Loser Call us crazy, but even Shannon Purser’s charm can’t save us from the fact that Sierra’s manipulative and mean in her pursuit of love.
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