In the ’80s and ’90s, the romantic comedy was experiencing a golden age: Pretty Woman, Jerry McGuire. The Nora Ephron triple bill of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. By the ’00s, Hollywood became an assembly line for romcoms, but although quantity increased, quality didn’t necessarily rise with it.
Boy, were there a lot of romcoms. The Hollywood romcom industrial complex was churning out Katherine Heigl love stories faster than audiences could keep up with them.
Due to the sheer excess of these flicks, a huge amount of them fell by the wayside and have now become forgotten ’00s romcoms. These are the love stories that will enjoy a revival on this list. These films aren’t necessarily bad, they just weren’t sentimental enough to earn a place in our hearts. You probably forgot that some of these actors ever played opposite each other in a romantic comedy.
Previously, we’ve covered the ’00s teen movies that time forgot. Now it’s time to revisit 15 ’00s Romantic Comedies You Completely Forgot About.
15. Definitely, Maybe (2008)
In 2008, a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds played a hot dad in the endearing romcom Definitely, Maybe. Abigail Breslin plays his daughter. In the wake of her dad’s divorce, she asks him to tell the story of how he met her mother. He agrees, but changes the names so she’ll have to guess which of three women ends up being her mother.
There’s Elizabeth Banks as the college sweetheart, Rachel Weisz as the alluring career girl, and Isla Fisher as the close friend who’s destined to be something more. It’s kind of like How I Met Your Mother, but only two hours long.
14. Shallow Hal (2001)
Shallow Hal has such an interesting concept that it’s worth a watch just for the story.
Jack Black plays Hal Larson, a shallow guy who chases after beautiful women just for their looks. He knows he should appreciate women for their inner beauty, and after being hypnotized by famous life coach Tony Robbins (who plays himself), he becomes infatuated with Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) due to her inner beauty. Because of his hypnosis, she looks skinny to him, since that outer beauty matches her inner goodness. In reality, she is morbidly obese, and everyone can see it except Hal.
That means that we have Gwyneth Paltrow alternating between looking like Gwyneth Paltrow and wearing a fat suit and prosthetic makeup. The constant shifts in POV make for some great sight gags, and the movie has an important message about beauty to boot.
13. In the Land of Women (2007)
In the last year of the The O.C.‘s reign on primetime TV, Adam Brody starred in this romantic comedy/drama In the Land of Women as the man wandering through the aforementioned land of women.
Although his character Carter has notes of Seth Cohen’s awkwardness around women, he’s pretty different for the most part. Carter is a sleazy soft-core adult film writer living in L.A. After his girlfriend, a famous actress, breaks up with him, he retreats to Michigan to visit his grandma, Phyllis. While he’s there, he attracts the attention of the women of a neighboring family, Sarah (Meg Ryan) and her daughters Lucy (Kristen Stewart) and Paige (Makenzie Vega).
Even though she’s a little too young for him, there’s a definite attraction between Lucy and Carter. But more importantly, let us acknowledge that Adam Brody and a pre-Twilight Kristen Stewart were a movie couple.
12. Hope Springs (2003)
In Love Actually, the 2003 romcom and one of the best Colin Firth films, our favorite charming British actor plays a sad writer. Hope Springs is another romcom in which Firth stars as another sad artist, this time a painter. So why did we all forget about Hope Springs?
While it’s not nearly as good as Love Actually, Hope Springs is the perfect movie to watch if you want to satisfy your Colin Firth in Love Actually craving.
In Hope Springs, Firth plays a painter arrives in the joyful-sounding town of Hope Springs to try to forget about his ex-fiancée (Minnie Driver). While there, he starts to fall for a therapist played by Heather Graham. This part is such an on-point character for Firth to play that his character is even named Colin.
11. A Lot Like Love (2005)
Ashton Kutcher’s charming performance in No Strings Attached merits a look back and the other romantic comedies he’s fronted. In 2005, he starred in A Lot Like Love with Amanda Peet. It’s the story of two people who have a brief fling and decide they’re not a match, only to run into each other repeatedly over the course of seven years as fate pushes them together.
It’s worth a watch simply to stare at dreamy ’00s crush Ashton Kutcher. Limited Too did not sell “I Love Ashton” merch in the aughts for nothing: the That ’70s Show actor is charming and knows how to carry a romantic comedy. The film also features the talented Kathryn Hahn in a supporting role.
10. Catch and Release (2006)
It’s very important that the entire world know that Timothy Olyphant was in a romcom. Yes. Timothy Olyphant was in a straight-up romcom, playing the love interest of Jennifer Garner. The talented and handsome Olyphant proved his comedy chops with Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, but he just doesn’t seem like the romcom type.
Catch and Release is basically about how a woman (Jennifer Garner) whose fiancé dies and then all his male friends try to take care of her (but really more like hit on her). Olyphant and Kevin Smith play two of those friends. Also, her fiancé actually wasn’t a good person because he kept secrets from her, including the fact that he has a kid with another woman and now she just has to deal with this. It’s not a very romantic romcom.
9. Down with Love (2003)
Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor co-star in a romcom set in the world of the 1960s? Why hasn’t this movie been added to the Criterion Collection?
Down with Love revolves around the classic “dating bet” plot line. Zellweger plays Barbara Novak, a feminist advice author whose fictional book Down with Love proclaims that love is dead. Women only need sex, not love. McGregor plays Catcher Block, a playboy journalist who goes undercover to try to get her to fall in love with him, undermining everything she wrote in her book. But then he starts to catch feelings too.
8. Along Came Polly (2004)
Jennifer Aniston plays a manic pixie dream girl to Ben Stiller’s sad guy in this 2004 romcom.
Here’s the story of Along Came Polly: Reuben Feffer (Stiller) is a life insurance man who lives cautiously. When his wife cheats on him on their honeymoon, he returns home and vows to take more risks and try new things. He decides to pursue an old high school classmate, Polly (Aniston); a free spirit who owns a pet ferret. Together they try a bunch of exciting, new things, like salsa dancing and eating at a Moroccan restaurant.
Reuben is disaster-prone and there’s a lot of cringe-comedy that stems from horrible things happening to him when he tries to try live a more interesting life. Philip Seymour Hoffman co-stars as Reuben’s friend Sandy, a former teen idol. There’s a really strange subplot about him trying to make a comeback by making a documentary about playing Judas in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
7. Dan in Real Life (2007)
Dan in Real Life is a criminally underrated film. It was one of Steve Carell’s first serious roles, coming one year after he proved his dramatic acting skills in 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine. Carell plays the depressed Dan, a widower who falls in love with a woman (Juliette Binoche) in a bookstore on the day of a big family reunion, only to realize when he gets home that she’s his brother’s new girlfriend. But, as we know, the heart wants what it wants.
The movie has a stellar soundtrack featuring of the folky acoustic stylings of indie singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche. Dan in Real Life was helmed and co-written by Peter Hedges, who is famous for adapting his novel What’s Eating Gilbert Grape for the screen.
This movie also further supports the theory that Steve Carell is hot.
6. Serving Sara (2002)
This 2002 romcom pairs Matthew Perry with Elizabeth Hurley, who is best known for Austin Powers.
Perry plays Joe Tyler, a smart-mouthed process server trying to serve a woman named Sara Moore with divorce papers. When she offers him a ton of money to serve her husband instead, the two set off to track him down. Despite playing Chandler on Friends, aka being one half of enduring sitcom couple Chandler and Monica, Matthew Perry’s romcoms tended to be forgettable.
Bruce Campbell plays Gordon, Sara’s husband. Also, poor Amy Adams has a supporting role in this movie as Gordon’s mistress, and she’s a real champ about it. After all, this was 2002, before she became a breakout star. Serving Sara was universally panned by critics.
5. No Reservations (2007)
No Reservations is a pretty shamelessly unoriginal romcom. The poster is literally Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart doing the “cross-armed opposites” pose that says “we don’t see eye to eye, but we’re definitely going to fall in love by the end of the movie.”
Zeta-Jones plays Kate Armstrong, the head chef at a fancy New York restaurant called 22 Bleeker. She’s talented, but has a bad temper. Kate’s sister has just died in a car crash and Kate takes in her nine-year-old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin). To help with her precarious work/life balance, she hires Nick Palmer (Eckhart) as a sous-chef. She’s threatened by his talent, and they don’t get along, but they have to work together in small kitchen for the greater good of the restaurant.
4. The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Then boy realizes girl is a total nightmare.
That’s the central conflict in The Heartbreak Kid, the 2007 remake of the Neil Simon film of the same name. Ben Stiller stars as Eddie and Malin Akerman stars as his seemingly normal, turned crazy wife Lila. Malin Akerman seems to haunt the world of bad ’00s romcoms.
Lila is horrible. She’s immature. She’s stupid. She’s completely nuts. And Eddie knows he needs to get away from her. On their honeymoon, he falls in love with another woman (Michelle Monaghan). Naturally, this invokes Lila’s wrath, and she proceeds to make his life even worse than before.
3. View from the Top (2003)
The aesthetic of View from the Top is Gwyneth Paltrow achieving her dream of becoming a glamorous 1960s-era flight attendant.
This was back when air travel was classy and flight attendants were all tall, attractive blondes in cute uniforms. Paltrow’s character Donna Jensen is a small-town woman from Nevada with a dead-end job, an alcoholic mother, and an abusive stepfather. She decides to better herself by becoming a flight attendant, which will enable her to see the world. Rob Lowe also appears as a handsome co-pilot and Christina Applegate, Mark Ruffalo, Mike Myers, and Stacey Dash round out the cast.
2. Love and Other Disasters (2006)
Love and Other Disasters went straight to DVD, and it’s no mystery why. This huge misstep of a Brittany Murphy romcom is all over the place while managing to not be interesting at all.
Murphy plays Emily Jackson-Jacks, an American intern at U.K. Vogue. Emily tries to set her friend Peter (Matthew Rhys) up with a hot coworker named Paolo, who she assumes is gay. But Paolo’s straight, and he’s very much into Emily. Due to the misunderstanding, she lets herself get close to Paolo very fast, thinking they’re just friends, but to Paolo, it seems like she’s coming on very strong. But the film doesn’t even pull off this central misunderstanding well.
Variety‘s David Rooney, one of the few critics to even review the film, wrote, “As thoroughly generic as its title, the comedy genuflects repeatedly to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but it’s more of a wannabe Sex and the City than anything else.”
1. Bride Wars (2009)
In Bride Wars, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway play best friends who share the same dream wedding: The Plaza Hotel in June. When both women get engaged at the same time, they book the Plaza a few weeks apart and everything seems like it’s going to be perfect. Until they realize they actually booked the Plaza on the same day. Neither of them wants to give up the venue, so instead, the pals turn on each other try to sabotage each other’s perfect day.
In 2009, we might have expected this kind of lukewarm romcom from Kate Hudson, but not Anne Hathaway. The film was almost universally panned by critics, scoring a 24 on Metacritic. Bride Wars also brought us the random pairing of Anne Hathaway and Chris Pratt as a romcom couple.
What forgotten 2000s romcom do you wish more people remembered? Sound off in the comments!
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