When the Moviefone staff started trying to name the worst romantic comedies of all time, the discussion quickly got heated. Is The Sweetest Thing a crass, tasteless mess or an underrated gem? What's worse, Swept Away or Who's That Girl? Which is the worst Freddie Prinze, Jr. rom-com of all time? And are we remiss not to have a single Lindsay Lohan vehicle make the final cut?
We're sure you'll have your own strong reaction to our list, especially if you worship Kate Hudson and Dane Cook. (Note to Hollywood: That is not a suggestion to pair these two up. Thank you.)
Don't get us wrong, when rom-coms are great, they're great, but more often than not these days, they're very, very bad. We have to take it on faith that Female Star and Male Star are destined to be together because the script says so, not because they have anything resembling chemistry. We have to endure ridiculous set-ups, annoying characters and, ever since 'There's Something About Mary,' new heights (or rather, lows) in gross-out humor. Can we get a little actual romance here? And maybe a few laughs that aren't because we're cringing in horror?
25. 'Rumor Has It' (2005)
A decent cast can't save this lackluster, laugh-free flick, or its queasy premise. Jennifer Aniston's character learns that her mother and grandmother both had flings with a millionaire playboy (Kevin Costner), which possibly inspired the movie 'The Graduate.' Then she -- yuck -- also falls for him. At one point, a discussion about classic movies begs the question, "Why don't movies like those get made anymore?" We wish we knew!
24. 'Blind Date' (1987)
Shocking as it may seem, Bruce Willis wasn't always a badass. Before 'Die Hard,' he was a wisecracking smart-aleck on 'Moonlighting.' And in this pathetically unfunny comedy by Blake Edwards, he plays a dweeby exec who's powerless to stop a drunken hottie (Kim Basinger) from ruining his life on the world's worst blind date. Maybe you can entertain yourself imagining how John McClane would deal with the situation. We'd rather just watch 'Die Hard'
23. 'Simply Irresistible' (1999)
The magic is missing from this would-be fairy tale about a so-so chef (Sarah Michelle Gellar) whose cooking can suddenly send people into 'Like Water for Chocolate'-esque ecstasies, thanks to (of all things) an enchanted crab. A lot of other weird stuff happens, none of it particularly charming or funny. Moviemakers should know by now that referencing much better movies, as Gellar does in a nod to 'Breakfast at Tiffany's,' is always a mistake.
22. 'Employee of the Month' (2006)
Best reasons to see this: Jessica Simpson's ample chest. Guys getting whacked in the privates. "Gay" and "retarded" jokes galore. Yeah, those are the pluses. Even cameos from other comics like Andy Dick and Harlan Wilson fail to add much humor to the proceedings. You could always look it as a bromance between romantic rivals Dax Shepard and Dane Cook as they spend far more time vying for Simpson than either one does with her -- but yeah, that wouldn't do much good either.
21. 'Arthur 2: On the Rocks' (1988)
After a series of less than stellar flicks, Dudley Moore thought it was time to revisit his most popular character, Arthur, the boozy millionaire. But the original director had died and the charm, whimsy and light touch of the original was nowhere to be found the second time around. John Gielgud reprises his Oscar-winning role as the late Hobson in a small cameo, but the drunk jokes have worn thin.
20. 'Alex & Emma' (2003)
Sure, it's from Rob Reiner, but this is no 'When Harry Met Sally.' Instead we get Alex, a novelist who owes $100,000 to "some guys" and who must churn out a novel in 30 days to repay them. Enter Emma, a stenographer who also turns into characters in Alex's stunningly awful book that we, unfortunately, see played out. You haven't truly cringed until you've seen Kate Hudson as four different maids with four ridiculous accents.
19. 'Haunted Honeymoon' (1986)
Looking for the inspired horror hijinks of 'Young Frankenstein'? (Also written by Gene Wilder?) Keep looking, bub. You won't find it in this '30s period piece with real-life comedy couple Wilder and Gilda Radner as a pair of about-to-be-hitched radio stars who spend the weekend in a haunted mansion. The tragedy isn't just that Radner died shortly after filming, it's that she and Wilder are wasted in this unfunny mess.
18. 'Two of a Kind' (1983)
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta would have been better off choosing 'Grease 2' as their reunion vehicle instead of this schlocky waste of time. Not only do our two stars have to fall in love, the fate of humanity rests on whether they hook up or not. With God and the Devil running interference, this contrived comedy just makes us groan. Unless you're hellbent on seeing Gene Hackman as God, this one's skippable.
17. 'Who's That Girl' (1987)
Just because you throw in a cougar (the animal kind), doesn't mean you get a classic screwball comedy. In this uninspired redo of 'Bringing Up Baby,' the Material Girl stops channeling Marilyn and goes with a beyond-annoying impersonation of squeaky-voiced, '50s actress Judy Holliday. Wacky, attorney-shanghaing shenanigans ensue, but it's a painful ride for both us and co-star Griffin Dunne.
16. 'Over Her Dead Body' (2008)
In an attempt to launch her film career, Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria stars as a ghost who tries to prevent her would-have-been husband from hooking up with someone new. Lots of potential in that premise (check out 'Blithe Spirit' to see it done well), but stale jokes, unlikable characters and plot twists you can see coming a mile away sink the whole production. The cheap-looking CGI and sets don't help.
15. 'Down to You' (2000)
How to tell this crummy Freddie Prinze Jr. romantic comedy from all the others? This one co-stars Julia Stiles, is set in college, and features Freddie (here called "Al") trying to commit suicide by soap after their breakup. Yes, you read that right. Soap. All we can say is this movie might make you reach for the soap too. Oh yeah, and it's the one that's earned a putrid "4%" on Rotten Tomatoes.
14. 'My Boss's Daughter' (2003)
It's not like we're asking for Oscar material from a movie starring Tara Reid and Ashton Kutcher, especially when it's about a guy forced to house-sit for his scary boss, whose daughter he happens to be crushing on. We'd just like to laugh a little as we munch our popcorn. But when the set-ups are this lame, the characters this idiotic and the gags this stale, it gives even the best movie munchies a bad taste.
13. 'Say It Isn't So' (2001)
Call us crazy, but a comedy where our two young lovers (Chris Klein and Heather Graham) might actually be brother and sister isn't exactly our idea of a good time. After 'There's Something About Mary,' we'd come to expect a certain bad taste and envelope-pushing sensibility from the Farrelly Brothers, but we also expected the funny, which was totally absent from this best-forgotten flick. Why Sally Field agreed to be in it, we'll never know.
12. 'I Love Trouble' (1994)
When searching for an example of "bad chemistry," look no farther than the notoriously bad pairing of Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. With these two as competing reporters, we hoped for snappy, battle-of-the-sexes fun like 'His Girl Friday.' Instead, the two stars' obvious dislike of each other is painfully apparent. Nolte and Roberts agree: He's called it his worst film and she's called him the worst actor she ever worked with. Ouch!
11. 'Good Luck Chuck' (2007)
Whose bright idea was it to make comic Dane Cook a romantic lead? As the luckless Chuck, women sleep with him only because, it seems, whomever he beds will wed the next guy she meets. So what's he to do when he meets Jessica Alba? Frankly, we don't care. The mood is rude and raunchy but the laughs are few and far between. And we've seen more romance on Cinemax!
10. 'All About Steve' (2009)
It takes real effort to turn Sandra Bullock, one of Hollywood's most likable stars, into a character so embarrassingly dorky and desperate we can't bear to watch her. Like the hapless Bradley Cooper, the unlucky object of her desire, we just want to get the hell out of there. There's zero romance and zero comedy in this all-over-the-map misfire. We're just happy Bullock had an otherwise bang-up 2009.
9. 'Summer Catch' (2001)
Sure, the stars are attractive but there's not much more to this rom-com than scantily clad hotties. Freddie Prinze, Jr., in yet another formulaic and forgettable flick, plays a Cape Cod lawn boy who yearns to play baseball and who falls for rich girl Jessica Biel. The clichés come fast and furious as he learns to believe in himself, win the game and get the girl. Nothing you haven't seen a million times before.
8. 'Because I Said So' (2007)
'Something's Gotta Give' proved that Diane Keaton's still as lovable a leading lady and a gifted comedian as ever. But even she can't elevate this sitcom-level comedy -- about an interfering control-freak mother trying to find love for herself and her daughter (a winsome but also wasted Mandy Moore) -- within spitting distance of 'Give.' Surely there are better ways to use one of Hollywood's best actresses than the lame slapstick routines she's subjected to here.
7. 'Mannequin: On the Move' (1991)
The first 'Mannequin' wasn't very good but it had a certain charm thanks to stars Kim Cattrall and Andrew McCarthy. In the sequel, we're stuck with William ('Herman's Head') Ragsdale and Kristy Swanson who's all too convincingly wooden as a peasant girl who's been frozen for decades. We've seen this fish-out-of-water comedy before .... when it was called 'Splash.' And don't even get us started on the stereotypically queeny window dresser played by Meshach Taylor.
6. 'Dirty Love' (2005)
Jenny McCarthy stars in this unwatchable horror directed by her then-husband. No wonder they split up! Menstrual blood gags and a character who gets off on using fish as butt plugs set a new low for crudeness. Wow, is this one bad. It won the Razzie Award for Worst Movie of 2005 and grossed a piddling $36,000. If you want laughs, listen to the DVD audio commentary that proclaims how brilliant it all is.
5. 'The Beautician and the Beast' (1997)
Feisty female goes to foreign country, points out the error of their backward ways, and, naturally, the strict, no-fun authority figure instantly falls for her. Sound familiar? If you were dying to see 'The Nanny' by way of 'The King and I' (or 'The Sound of Music'), on what looks like a sitcom budget, then this is the film for you. If not, avoid, avoid, avoid.
4. 'Mr. Wrong' (1996)
Proof that you can take an extremely talented cast -- Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Pullman, and Joan Cusack -- and squander their abilities completely. DeGeneres stars as Martha, who thinks she's finally met the man of her dreams, until he transforms into a scary stalker. We love a good black comedy but this one's just cruel as Martha endures one humiliation after another. The twist at the end, assuming you make it that far, is the final insult.
3. 'From Justin to Kelly' (2003)
Thank God we were spared more 'American Idol' films after this notorious flop. Reviewers were inspired to new expressions of hatred by its inept dancing, lousy songs and obvious lip-synching, calling it "manipulative, product-placing drivel" and "the motion picture equivalent of Cheez Whiz." Luckily for Kelly Clarkson, this fiasco didn't dent her record sales. For 'Idol' runner-up Justin Guarini, it just might have been the kiss of death.
2. 'The Hottie & the Nottie' (2008)
How truly awful is this Paris Hilton vanity vehicle? One reviewer called it "about as funny as the anal rape scene in 'The War Zone.'" Yee-ouch. Audiences didn't need the heads-up from the critics to stay away: Opening weekend, the film averaged a pitiful $249 per theater, or about 5 people per screening. The only way it scored big? At that year's Razzies, and on just about every "Worst Of" list ever made.
1. 'Gigli' (2003)
Who knew that the seemingly hot pairing of then-lovers Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez would yield the biggest box-office disaster of our time? After audiences got a whiff of the cringe-inducing dialogue (like the infamous "it's turkey time" scene), the film was pulled from theaters after just three weeks. This mega-flop racked up more Razzies and jokes than ticket sales and its unpronounceable title became a metaphor for anything that's really, really craptastic.