There are so many rom-coms that we love and laugh at because of their romantic arc and lovey-dovey stories between two main characters. But the issue is that most of them are filled with many problematic concepts and arcs that would definitely not work in today’s society, whether it’s homophobia or any problematic relationships.
15 Rom-Coms That Would Not Work Today
1. There’s Something About Mary
While the rom-com was hilarious back then and made audiences laugh, what makes this movie so problematic is the fact that it normalized men stalking a woman and treating her as their personal prize to win. Not only that, it even made fun of disabled and mentally ill people as well and treated them as a laughing stock.
2. While You Were Sleeping
The whole plot of this movie is entirely wrong, to begin with. It focuses on a woman who saves a complete stranger from being run over by a train and pretends that she is his fiancée. What makes this even worse is that she later falls in love with his older brother. It is understandable that she was initially lonely and wanted to be loved, but this was not the right way.
3. The Ugly Truth
The rom-com focuses on a TV producer who brings in an unapologetic, womanizing misogynist to boost ratings for her show. He inserts himself into his love life and gives all kinds of bad advice, like never criticize a man for anything. And then, in the end, the woman decides to be with the misogynist instead of a doctor she tried to seduce. Like why?
Overboard may sound simple enough, but its plotline is really troublesome. In the movie, a repairman tries to get revenge on a rich superficial woman who loses her memory due to a brain injury caused by falling off a cruise. He claims that he is married to her and makes her do all kinds of labor and then treats her like she treated him. This movie promotes gaslighting and kidnapping.
5. Garden State
Back then, Garden State was a cute indie film, but today, it would not age well as Natalie Portman’s character is a textbook manic pixie dream girl who has no other personality and motive other than giving Zach Braff’s character a purpose in his life. Which, if you ask us, is a little bit problematic.
6. Shallow Hal
Shallow Hal is a rom-com that focuses on a shallow man named Hal who only loves people for their looks. He is then hypnotized into loving their “inner beauty” and falls in love with an overweight girl whom he sees as thin in his mind. While the message is to love people for who they are and not what they look like, the way it plays out is really problematic, especially in the age where fat-shaming is considered taboo in our society. We are taught that we are beautiful the way we are.
7. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of the most iconic and beloved movies of all time. While it is loved for the performance and fashion of Audrey Hepburn, what we looked past is the character played by Mickey Rooney, i.e., Yunioshi. He serves as a racist caricature, and the worst part is that a white actor plays him. Since in today’s time, where a lot of Anti-Asian hate is taking place, this character has aged poorly.
8. Sixteen Candles
Sixteen Candles focuses on a teenage girl who deals with the fact that her family has forgotten her birthday. While it is an iconic rom-com, some of the problematic elements in this film are the racist portrayal of an Asian character and one of the lead characters mentioning how he could violate a passed-out girl in different manners.
9. Wedding Crashers
While Wedding Crashers remains one of the funniest movies of the 2000s, its concept and most parts of it have aged quite poorly to this date. It’s about two guys who crash weddings so that they could sleep with women. Not only this, but it even has an “all gays are predatory” stereotype and even showcases sexual assault on a man twice, just for the sake of laughs.
Grease is an all-time classic musical. But the issue is the fact that one of the main characters, Sandy, has completely and drastically changed herself for Danny. Even worse, they show blatant neglect of consent in this film when Danny tries to force himself on Sandy in one scene.
11. 50 First Dates
While the concept of this rom-com is cute enough and features the iconic duo of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, it would be easily considered creepy in today’s age as a man tries to woo a woman with short-term memory loss. It would be unknown as to how they could make the relationship work.
12. The Notebook
This movie is easily the most timeless romantic movie of all time. But in today’s standards, it has aged poorly because of how toxic it is how Noah approaches Allie several times, especially when he threatens to kill himself if she doesn’t date him.
13. You’ve Got Mail
While it is good to see Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together as a couple, the way they get together in this rom-com is hugely problematic. These two are rival bookstore owners who, unbeknownst to each other, begin to date via emails. When Tom finds out about Meg’s character, he later begins to manipulate her.
14. Love Actually
Love Actually is one of the timeless Christmas movies and rom-coms of all time. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have issues. This includes one of the creepy guys who is obsessed with his best friend’s wife and creepily confesses his love to her via flashcards, or when Alan Rickman’s character cheats on his wife with his secretary. Karen deserves better!
15. She’s All That
This movie is one of the most iconic 90s movies of all time. But the storyline itself is completely problematic. For starters, Freddie Prinze Jr.’s character Zack tries to change Rachel Leigh Cook’s character Laney from a geeky girl to a hot chick for a bet. It shows a man trying to change a woman from the outside and the absurd concept that if you remove glasses, you look pretty.