Sometimes all you need after a long hard day is a funny, romantic and uncomplicated movie. Watching two people fall in love while battling the odds somehow makes all your troubles melt away. Maybe it makes you feel even better when there’s lame dialogue, goofy sidekicks and unrealistic storylines? Cue guilty pleasure rom-coms. You’ll hate yourself for loving them.
1. Fool’s Gold (2008)
The Couple: Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson
The Tagline: This February true love takes a dive.
The Plot: Estranged couple Finn (McConaughey) and Tess (Hudson) find themselves on the hunt for ocean treasure in The Bahamas but they’re up against a gun-toting rap star (Kevin Hart) and his team of rival deep-sea treasure hunters.
What Makes it Bad? Considering it’s a rom com, it’s fairly light on the romance and the comedy. The backstory is incredibly convoluted and I spent most of the movie confused about what they were actually doing. Also, Gemma (Alexis Dziena), the bimbo daughter is painfully stupid.
Why Do I Love It? The location. It’s filmed in Queensland, Australia so there are endless golden beaches, sparkling blue oceans and clear skies. Despite their chemistry being weaker than in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, McConaughey and Hudson are still a pretty awesome duo. Some of the supporting characters were enjoyable including multi-millionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) and gangster Bigg Bunny Deenz (Kevin Hart). It’s directed by Andy Tennant whose other rom-com credits include Fools Rush In and Sweet Home Alabama.
Watch the trailer for Fool’s Gold
2. One for the Money (2012)
The Couple: Katherine Heigl and Jason O’Mara
The Tagline: She’s looking for a few not-so-good men.
The Plot: Based on the successful fluffy crime novels written by Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum (Heigl) fumbles her way through her new job as a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey. Her first bail jumper is high school crush and bad boy Joe Morelli (O’Mara).
What Makes it Bad? Readers of the books who are purists, might have an issue with the casting and the changes to the plot – nothing was going to meet everyone’s expectations. Those who haven’t read the books might not really understand the characters or the dialogue. Out of all the characters, I thought Grandma Mazur and Lula were the most “off” but that being said, I still enjoyed them.
Why Do I Love It? I loved seeing the characters and locations (yes, I know it’s Pennsylvania not New Jersey) I’d read about come to life. I thought Katherine Heigl was a perfect Stephanie, Morelli (while not what I pictured) was charismatic and sexy, Ranger was hot and brooding and the sexual tension between Stephanie and Morelli was spot on. Also loved the inclusion of Stephanie’s favourite snack Tastykakes.
Watch the trailer for One for the Money
3. Simply Irresistible (1999)
The Couple: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flanery
The Tagline: A bewitching romance.
The Plot: Although Amanda (Gellar) really wants to keep her late mother’s restaurant afloat, she’s a terrible cook and a poor businesswoman. Then a magical crab appears and a series of wonderful and wacky things happen to help her realise her potential and achieve her dream.
What Makes it Bad? It’s cheesy and corny and every other food-related adjective you can think of that means lame. Also, there’s a magical crab that wears a top hat at one point.
Why Do I Love It? Who doesn’t love food movies? Amanda makes so much delicious-looking food like crab Napoleon, a smoky apple dessert and mouthwatering caramel eclairs (skip to 6:23). There are unforgettable script writing gems like, “If the broom fits, ride it!” If you can suspend your disbelief with the magic element, you’ll enjoy this for what it is – sweet and charming.
Watch the trailer for Simply Irresistible
4. Killers (2010)
The Couple: Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl
The Tagline: Marriage… give it your best shot.
The Plot: Jen (Heigl) marries Spencer (Kutcher) without knowing he’s an international hitman. Their marriage becomes strained when they have to run for their lives from other contracted killers who have been offered $20 million to kill Spencer.
What Makes it Bad? Cheap laughs, flimsy plot and Heigl’s horrible pencil skirt/safari coat combo. It’s a bit heavy on the action sequences for a rom-com but I guess this is more of a “spy movie rom-com”.
Why Do I Love It? As a mega fan of both Roswell and That ’70s Show, this was a match made in WB TV heaven. Heigl provides a lot of laughs and Kutcher provides a lot of eye-candy. I also enjoyed Tom Selleck as Jen’s protective father and Catherine O’Hara as her alcoholic mother. Director Robert Luketic is known for other classic rom-coms such as Legally Blonde, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Monster-in-Law and The Ugly Truth.
Watch the trailer for Killers
5. New in Town (2009)
The Couple: Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr.
Tagline: She’s an executive on the move. But her career is taking her a little farther than she expected.
The Plot: A Miami businesswoman (Zellweger) has to travel to a small town in Minnesota to oversee factory work for her company. She doesn’t get off to a great start with the union rep (Connick Jr.) or the townspeople who think she’s bad news.
What Makes it Bad? Nothing much happens. It’s a bit of a slow one. After coming to love Zellweger as charming Bridget Jones, she’d definitely less likable as cold and often clueless city girl Lucy (she is completely unprepared for winter in the midwest which I find hard to believe).
Why Do I Love It? I love movies set in small towns with colourful townspeople and these people have great accents and love scrapbooking. Harry Connick Jr. sports a rugged beard and flannel and it totally works for me! Blanche Gunderson (Siobhan Fallon Hogan), Lucy’s kindhearted secretary, might be the cutest and sweetest character in a rom-com ever. Meanwhile, where can I get my hands on some tapioca pudding?
Watch the trailer for New in Town
6. When in Rome (2010)
The Couple: Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel
Tagline: All is fair in love and Rome.
The Plot: Beth (Bell) travels to Italy for her sister’s wedding and throws a coin in a fountain wishing for true love. Once back in New York, she believes Nick (Duhamel) is only interested in her because he’s under a love spell along with illusionist Lance (Jon Heder), Sausage King Al (Danny Devito), artist Antonio (Will Arnett) and male model Gale (Dax Shepard).
What Makes it Bad? The four goofy men who are in love with Beth end up being more creepy than funny. A lot of the humour falls flat. I felt like too much time was spent on the “love spell” stuff and not enough on the main couple which was actually enjoyable.
Why Do I Love It? Josh Duhamel is in it. Case closed! Well, okay, a few more things: Kristen Bell is charming, they have great chemistry together and Dax Shepard with a man bun.
Watch the trailer for When in Rome
7. The Beautician and the Beast (1997)
The Couple: Fran Drescher and Timothy Dalton
The Tagline: Once upon a time…
The Plot: Boris Pochenko (Dalton) is president and dictator of Slovetzia, a small (fictional) Eastern European country and a single father of three children. Boris sends emissary Ira to the United States to find a tutor for his kids and Ira mistakenly hires beautician Joy (Drescher) thinking she’s a science teacher. Boris and Joy butt heads when she tries to teach his kids about real life.
What Makes it Bad? It’s cliched, Fran’s voice is annoying (to some people) and Slovetzia is almost insultingly backward and barbaric.
Why Do I Love It? Fran Drescher. This is the movie sister to The Nanny. Sure, the humour is mostly lame, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need when your brain won’t shut off. I love the cultural quirks like blood sausage in clotted cream being a delicacy. Timothy Dalton is great as the gruff dictator, Joy wears a lot of fun outfits and the two of them together actually work really well.
Watch the trailer for The Beautician and the Beast
8. Bride Wars (2009)
The Couple: Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway (they’re not lesbians, they’re just the leads)
The Tagline: Even best friends can’t share the same wedding day.
The Plot: Liv (Hudson) and Emma (Hathaway) are besties who’ve dreamed of getting married at the Plaza Hotel in June since they were little girls. When they both become engaged, they’re ecstatic! Until they find out that the Plaza accidentally scheduled their weddings on the same day. Then they become bridezillas obsessed with sabotaging each other’s weddings.
What Makes it Bad? The level of vindictiveness and pettiness is pretty unbelievable and hard to watch. I mean, tampering with fake tan and hair dye? Trying to make your best friend fat by sending them junk food? Replacing a touching video montage with a raunchy spring break video? Come on.
Why Do I Love It? I love Kate Hudson. She is so much fun to watch and she fits this character so well. Bryan Greenberg (Jake from One Tree Hill) looks fine in a tuxedo. Kristen Johnston is hilarious as Emma’s self-absorbed teacher “friend”. Emma sends Liv these fictional heavenly-sounding treats: Truffle-opolis, Jolly Walrus cookie bouquet and International Butter Club (what IS that?).
Watch the trailer for Bride Wars
What’s your rom-com guilty pleasure?