14 Rotten Rom-Coms We Love

There aren't many critics whose hearts raced for these romantic comedies, but we adore them all the same.

by | February 11, 2019 | Comments

Romantic comedies often rely on a specific formula to dole out warm fuzzy feelings and fantasy wish fulfillment, so it’s no wonder they’re frequently dismissed as disposable fluff. Sometimes, though, that’s exactly the sort of undemanding entertainment you’re in the mood for, and when that mood strikes, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as some familiar comfort food, even if it amounts to empty calories. This isn’t to say all rom-coms are bad; some of the best movies ever made fall into the genre. But we all have our guilty pleasures, and as Valentine’s Day rolls around, we invite you to bask in some personal favorites that, for one reason or another, failed to enrapture the critics. Snuggle up with your dearly beloved — or a gallon of your favorite ice cream — for these Rotten rom-coms we love anyway, and let us know what you’d put on the list.

27 Dresses (2008) 41%

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride… until you fall for a newspaper columnist who writes a piece about your dilemma, that is. This one’s got everything you’d expect from the genre — the unrequited love, the wacky sibling, the good-looking red herring, the explosive misunderstanding, the subsequent self-realization and redemption — and it even sort of mirrors the plot of another movie on this list (Runaway Bride). But writer Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) infuses the admittedly familiar proceedings with wit and heart, and the world hadn’t quite learned to hate Katherine Heigl just yet.

50 First Dates (2004) 45%

If you need someone to play a guileless sweetheart who rises every morning with a sunny disposition and absolutely no memory of the previous day, you could do a lot worse than Drew Barrymore, who helps ground this Adam Sandler vehicle even as she perpetually suffers a reverse Groundhog Day of sorts. To his credit, Sandler manages to tone it down a notch, and Rob Schneider is great in the only type of role he should ever play: the goofy sidekick. Yeah, it’s crude in spots and the high-concept premise is a bit of a stretch, but it’s also genuinely charming if you let down your guard.

America's Sweethearts (2001) 32%

Considering the cast of America’s Sweethearts, there probably isn’t a more appropriate title for any film on this list. Catherine Zeta-Jones may never have scored anything quite as iconic in the genre as When Harry Met Sally, Say Anything, or half of Julia Roberts‘ filmography, but the combination of Roberts, John Cusack, and Billy Crystal in an outsized romantic farce set in Hollywood? Come on. It’s a little uneven and not as funny as it should be, given the wackiness of its story, but it’s got some hilarious bits, and it skewers the industry pretty thoroughly while offering a reason for Cusack and Roberts to combine their rom-com powers for once.

French Kiss (1995) 48%

She’s the betrayed fiancée on her way to France to win back her lover; he’s the gruff, “hygiene-deficient” Frenchman who uses her as an unwitting mule to smuggle the goods he needs to start his own vineyard. Do they bristle at each other at first? Yes. Do they eventually fall for each other? Yes. Does he rush to the airport to declare his love for her? Yes. Is it all wonderful? Yes. Chemistry can go a long way, and in French Kiss, Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline make such a convincing odd couple that it makes up for some of the film’s other shortcomings.

Head over Heels (2001) 10%

It’s reasonable to assume the premise of Rear Window might not make for a jaunty romantic comedy — and a lot of critics would largely agree with you — but there’s something to be said about a movie that utilizes a murder (albeit staged) as the catalyst for a meet-cute. Specifically, it’s a ballsy move, and it only works becaue Freddie Prinze Jr. is at his heartthrobbiest here and Monica Potter flusters with grace. Mix them together with a bit of action and you’ve got a Grosse Pointe Blank for the teenage set.

The Holiday (2006) 49%

Sometimes, all you need to put a little spark in your love life is a change of scenery. That’s the idea behind The Holiday, which stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women from opposite sides of the Atlantic who agree to swap houses for Christmas and end up in relationships (one with Jude Law and the other with Jack Black). It’s a simple premise that plays out as you might expect, but it benefits tremendously from its cast, Nancy Meyers‘ directing, and the kind of earnestness frequently absent from modern rom-coms.

Just Friends (2005) 42%

Ah, the friend zone, the relationship quagmire that slowly engulfs and suffocates the best of us before we even realize we’re in it. Back in 2005, a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds fled this platonic impasse in Just Friends as Chris, an overweight nerd who returns to his 10-year high school reunion with a slimmer bod and a pop star on his arm, only to find he still has feelings for his childhood crush and BFF (Amy Smart). It’s not the first time we’ve seen this story play out, but Reynolds is in prime goofy-leading-man mode here, and the supporting cast, which includes Anna Faris, Chris Klein, and Stephen Root, is golden.

Just Wright (2010) 46%

Like a lot of the films on this list, Just Wright fell victim to its own overreliance on genre cliches. Also like a lot of the films on this list, Just Wright is entirely enjoyable if you can look past those cliches. Queen Latifah and Common — two stars previously better known for their musical talents — prove they can hold a film together, and their easy interplay elevates an otherwise predictable film. It also doesn’t hurt that the cast is rounded out by people like Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, and Pam Grier.

Maid in Manhattan (2002) 38%

Jennifer Lopez entered the rom-com game a bit later than some of her contemporaries, but films like Maid in Manhattan paved the way for a long career as a big-screen sweetheart that continues to this day. Here she plays the titular hotel housekeeper, who’s mistaken for a high-profile socialite by a senatorial candidate (Ralph Fiennes) and begins a romance with him under false pretenses. You can pretty much guess where it goes from there, but thanks to Lopez’s bubbly charisma, it’s a breezy Cinderella story with a lot of heart.

The Proposal (2009) 44%

Ask anyone to name their top five underrated rom-coms and The Proposal is likely to make the list. This fan favorite pairs immensely likable stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in a comedy about a publishing exec from Canada facing deportation who makes a deal with her assistant in exchange for his hand in marriage — and the accompanying citizenship status that comes with it. Of course they discover feelings for each other that weren’t there before, and it all culminates in a last-minute desertion and a public declaration of love, but with Bullock and Reynolds leading the way and a supporting cast that includes Mary Steenburgen, Betty White, Craig T. Nelson, and a scene-stealing pup named Kevin, it’s so much better than it has any right to be.

Runaway Bride (1999) 46%

Pretty Woman is widely recognized as the standard-bearer of modern romantic comedies, so it’s not surprising that the director (Garry Marshall) and stars (Julia Roberts and Richard Gere) of that film decided to give it another go. Is it as charming? Not exactly, but the familiarity feels like a warm blanket, and Roberts and Gere are such pros that they make it work. The film gets docked a few points for following formula, but that’s par for the course here, and at the end of the day, it’s just so damn likable that it doesn’t really matter.

Sweet Home Alabama (2002) 38%

One thing Sweet Home Alabama has over its peers from the get-go is that its central romance takes place between a couple who are already married. There’s no awkward first meeting, no getting-to-know-you phase, and no secrets to unravel… save for the fact that Melanie, played by Reese Witherspoon, is hiding her Deep South roots and estranged husband (Josh Lucas) from her new fiancée (Patrick Dempsey). In other words, this is a reconciliation rom-com, which puts a slightly different spin on the proceedings, and it’s populated by a killer cast that includes Candice Bergen, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, and Mary Lynn Rajskub, among others. Thanks to that cast — and Witherspoon’s effortless charms — the film is tender and funny in all the right ways.

The Sweetest Thing (2002) 26%

The Sweetest Thing is road-trip rom-com about three club-hopping besties banding together to reunite one of them with the hot guy who got away. It’s also a movie that stops midway through for an impromptu musical number about penis size in the middle of a Chinese restaurant. Does it have many insights to offer about love and singlehood? Maybe not, but in a pre-Bridesmaids era, seeing a trio of capable actresses carry a raunchy comedy from the female perspective is something of a revelation.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004) 54%

Nothing in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is overtly nasty, which is why it endures as a good-natured exemplar of the rom-com genre. Even when Josh Duhamel is playing the cad, he’s kind of charming, and you can’t help but sympathize with Topher Grace‘s Pete a little. But it’s Kate Bosworth who carries the film on her shoulders with her wide-eyed wonder and makes you root for her every step of the way, no matter who she ends up with. Throw in a great cast that includes Nathan Lane, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sean Hayes, and Gary Cole, just to name a few, and you’ve got yourself a cute little romance to cuddle up with, even if it sometimes feels like it’s just going through the motions.


Tag Cloud

Country 2017 child's play TV renewals jamie lee curtis robots ID Hulu TV razzies japanese halloween tv Discovery Channel 2018 Comics on TV Awards Tour Academy Awards FOX reviews adenture Pet Sematary Calendar Fantasy fast and furious archives stop motion Nickelodeon casting X-Men versus mission: impossible halloween Turner Broadway VOD streaming movies Food Network cops NYCC free movies PBS TLC die hard football SundanceTV political drama Arrowverse HBO Warner Bros. Classic Film unscripted series reboot Superheroes parents VICE superman Tarantino 2019 Sundance Comedy Central diversity Best and Worst RT History ITV laika ESPN Lifetime 2020 cancelled TV series children's TV Emmys TCA 2017 TruTV serial killer spider-man Fox News GLAAD video on demand BET Awards CBS All Access dramedy cancelled TV shows Pacific Islander know your critic GIFs Tumblr Television Critics Association quibi heist movie award winner Winners Certified Fresh scary movies ABC Family zero dark thirty stand-up comedy Cosplay spain YouTube Premium dragons Polls and Games revenge documentaries popular classics Marvel Summer crime thriller Emmy Nominations HBO Max Fox Searchlight slashers italian worst USA Rocketman 2021 The Walt Disney Company CMT renewed TV shows golden globe awards foreign Holiday binge indie independent Song of Ice and Fire GoT Awards Extras BAFTA The Academy Shondaland Logo cinemax Sci-Fi target Pirates Spike screen actors guild Funimation criterion Valentine's Day CNN stoner 71st Emmy Awards rom-coms saw australia zombie romantic comedy Sundance Now OWN Photos The Witch batman ViacomCBS Biopics New York Comic Con Cannes book ABC king arthur a nightmare on elm street Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cancelled television Tokyo Olympics singing competition YouTube Red Black History Month Apple spinoff Marvel Studios TBS Reality Competition space The CW period drama docuseries sports elevated horror Netflix HBO Go new york DirecTV movies television sequels docudrama Film Festival Marvel Television legend Music Exclusive Video E3 Reality Ovation doctor who what to watch Apple TV Plus Adult Swim DC streaming service YouTube nbcuniversal BET scene in color olympics TCA Mary poppins spy thriller Grammys movie FXX Showtime Binge Guide fresh Watching Series RT21 blockbuster Amazon Studios Red Carpet Musicals dceu christmas movies Set visit science fiction Esquire video canceled TV shows Captain marvel Drama toy story Baby Yoda thriller Horror Syfy kong new star wars movies kids pirates of the caribbean psycho 4/20 transformers Comedy vampires Rocky Star Trek Mary Poppins Returns 72 Emmy Awards NBA MTV Dark Horse Comics concert talk show Alien festival Trivia game show high school Elton John Super Bowl new zealand Hear Us Out Thanksgiving strong female leads blockbusters sequel NBC Netflix Christmas movies Winter TV Sundance TV Crackle spanish language Comic-Con@Home 2021 deadpool tv talk marvel cinematic universe rotten ABC Signature witnail romance name the review President 2015 anthology Paramount Network technology sag awards Anna Paquin comics universal monsters Musical DC Comics Crunchyroll aapi Disney Channel dark Trailer DC Universe Mary Tyler Moore facebook ghosts streaming Christmas war 2016 films CW Seed Shudder kaiju Countdown Kids & Family Marathons Stephen King TV One canceled discovery documentary TV movies Heroines book adaptation MSNBC See It Skip It telelvision indiana jones Infographic prank black Spring TV lord of the rings cooking animated FX rt archives golden globes Paramount Plus FX on Hulu History Rom-Com Turner Classic Movies women aliens Television Academy hidden camera Disney Plus latino cults true crime Legendary IFC TCM Pop TV superhero 93rd Oscars Hallmark Christmas movies mockumentary medical drama all-time Britbox Freeform LGBTQ Spectrum Originals Quiz adventure Martial Arts Amazon Prime Video Pop Peacock Toys crime Election Women's History Month police drama Rock PlayStation LGBT AMC jurassic park biography worst movies Box Office james bond Fall TV game of thrones green book Lifetime Christmas movies anime Superheroe screenings zombies crime drama Animation 007 werewolf boxing hist dogs travel 24 frames nfl boxoffice comiccon Holidays supernatural WarnerMedia Hallmark 20th Century Fox cancelled best Opinion Comic Book El Rey Creative Arts Emmys Image Comics MCU justice league Amazon Prime festivals Universal Columbia Pictures Starz VH1 Epix crossover 45 BBC America japan Bravo french Western teaser TIFF mutant monster movies 21st Century Fox American Society of Cinematographers Apple TV+ natural history Sneak Peek news Schedule Mudbound toronto dc Disney+ Disney Plus Year in Review Endgame godzilla Disney streaming service TNT Trophy Talk Brie Larson Film Amazon Podcast PaleyFest CBS comic twilight Acorn TV wonder woman WGN obituary The Purge critics emmy awards ratings Writers Guild of America international Walt Disney Pictures satire Action cartoon harry potter First Reviews psychological thriller Character Guide TV Land Interview Pixar Oscars sitcom cats Mystery Tubi Nominations remakes Teen venice A24 APB hispanic DGA A&E south america miniseries joker TCA Awards hollywood Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Lucasfilm adaptation trailers Chernobyl composers finale YA San Diego Comic-Con comedies scorecard directors richard e. Grant National Geographic Black Mirror Nat Geo SXSW OneApp politics SDCC based on movie Vudu spanish rotten movies we love TCA Winter 2020 social media suspense Lionsgate The Arrangement historical drama king kong Cartoon Network breaking bad Ghostbusters Mindy Kaling Avengers asian-american BBC basketball Wes Anderson blaxploitation 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Travel Channel Premiere Dates theme song cars live action E! chucky IFC Films BBC One franchise Masterpiece Star Wars 90s disaster 99% Tomatazos Disney nature Sony Pictures Ellie Kemper First Look USA Network Family Paramount 1990s Pride Month The Walking Dead comic books Video Games