One of the secrets to Marvel’s success is that they cast really good actors. The Avengers cast boasts more than one Oscar-nominee — Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) have all been nominated for the prestigious award. Others, like Scarlett Johansson, have wracked up Golden Globe nominations. Marvel knows what other studios are still figuring out: if you want to make a good movie, you have to hire good actors.
Alas, just because they have more awards and nominations among them than the entire cast of Batman v Superman doesn’t mean they don’t all have some bad movies hiding in their lengthy resumes. (As Ben Affleck might say, everybody has a Gigli.) As proof, these are The 10 Worst Rom-Coms Starring Avengers, which you can read to bring yourself down from the highs of Captain America: Civil War.
10. The Pick-Up Artist — Robert Downey Jr.
In his very first leading role, Robert Downey Jr. played Jack Jericho, humbly referred to as a pick-up artist. In other words, he played a young man who loved picking up girls almost as much as he loved himself. The rom-com, which co-starred none other than ‘80s movie queen Molly Ringwald, follows Jack as he falls in love with the one girl who refuses to love him back, Randy (Ringwald). Why is it men always want what they can’t have?
The Pick-Up Artist might be the movie that started RDJ’s career, but critics at the time failed to see a bright future for the movie star. In his review, Roger Ebert was dismissive of the future Iron Man, writing, “That leaves Robert Downey as the film’s star, an honor he does nothing to deserve.” Ouch.
9. How Do You Know — Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd co-starred in this universally panned romantic comedy from writer-director James L. Brooks. How Do You Know stars rom-com queen Reese Witherspoon as Lisa, a former softball player who finds herself at the center of a love triangle between Rudd’s George and Matty, a self-centered baseball player played by Owen Wilson. The A-list cast also includes Jack Nicholson and Kathryn Hahn. Sounds perfect, right? Wrong. The movie bombed at the box office and has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 32% – not horrible, but definitely not great.
Despite Rudd and Witherspoon’s innate charm, How Do You Know was quickly forgotten. It’s probably for the best, though, because now Ant-Man fans can focus on revisiting better Rudd rom-coms, like the ‘90s classic Clueless. (Seriously, go watch Clueless if you haven’t already. Now.)
8. Rumor Has It… — Mark Ruffalo
Rumor Has It…, aka the Graduate spinoff nobody asked for, is a strange romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston. Fresh off Friends, Anniston signed on to star in this comedy about a woman, Sarah, who panics after finding out that The Graduate was based on her family. Pre-Hulk Mark Ruffalo plays Sarah’s boyfriend, Jeff, who has to put up with Sarah’s crap as she decides the way to deal with her commitment issues is to begin an affair with Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner), the man who had an affair with her mother and grandmother.
Now, Rumor Has It… was not the first rom-com to star Ruffalo, but it’s certainly one of the most forgettable. If you’re looking for a Ruffalo rom-com, then you’d best steer clear of Rumor Has It… and instead turn to 13 Going On 30.
7. Not Another Teen Movie — Chris Evans
Captain America himself, Chris Evans, got his start in Not Another Teen Movie, a parody of teen rom-coms. The movie is mainly a tongue and cheek take on She’s All That, with Evans playing Jake Wyler, the popular jock, who accepts a dare to turn Janey Briggs, class nerd, into Prom Queen. In the film, Evans takes on iconic teen movie scenes like the whipped cream scene from Varsity Blues and, well, basically every scene in She’s All That (obviously). Think of it as the teen version of Scary Movie, just not good enough to have four sequels.
6. Wimbledon — Paul Bettany
Remember when Kirsten Dunst was everywhere? Well, it was towards the end of the Dunst-mania that she starred in Wimbledon, a romcom about Lizzie, a tennis player (Dunst), who falls in love with an older, washed-up tennis player, Peter Colt, played by Paul Bettany (aka Vision). It’s a strange movie, to be sure, but not entirely horrible. Bettany and Dunst have decent chemistry, but there’s a reason nobody remembers Wimbledon today.
5. He’s Just Not That Into You — Scarlett Johansson
Oh, He’s Just Not That Into You, the ensemble rom-com based on the simple theory that all women are hung up on men who don’t want them and need to learn to let go. Is it fun? Sure it is! Does it recycle sexist ideas on relationships? You bet!
ScarJo has one of the more stereotypical roles, playing Anna, a sexy yoga instructor who pursues a relationship with a married man (Bradley Cooper). Johansson made the movie when she was at the height of her sexy-ingénue moment, so it makes sense that she’d take the role. And, in her defense, the movie is not so bad. Drew Barrymore’s unlucky in love Mary is charming, as is Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays the girl who doesn’t get that “he’s just not that into you.”
4. Over Her Dead Body — Paul Rudd
We hesitate to pick on any movie that stars both Paul Rudd and Lake Bell (Eva Longoria isn’t bad either), but Over Her Dead Body is just inexplicable. Here’s the premise: Henry (Rudd) is engaged to marry the love of his life, Kate (Longoria), when she unexpectedly dies.
Actually, let us break it down for you: she dies after getting crushed by an ice sculpture of an angel on her wedding day. Got that? OK. So, then Kate becomes a ghost who, one year later, haunts her ex and his new girlfriend, a psychic named Ashley (Bell). Long story short, she tries to stop their relationship, sort of succeeds, but then also brings them back together again. Oh, and Jason Biggs is also there as Ashley’s gay best friend who turns out to be not so gay and in love with her (because we all know that’s exactly how that works.)
3. Peace, Love & Misunderstanding — Elizabeth Olsen
Elizabeth Olsen co-starred with Catherine Keener and Jane Fonda in this by-the-numbers rom-com about an uptight lawyer (Keener) who takes her two teenage children to live with her hippy mother (Fonda) after her husband asks for a divorce. There she meets a charming fella named Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and — do we really have to tell you what happens next? In typical fish-out-of-water romantic comedy fashion, Olsen’s character, Zoe, finds herself attracted to a local boy, Cole (Chace Crawford), who probably teaches her to let go and have some fun.
2. The Nanny Diaries — Scarlett Johansson
A two for one deal, The Nanny Diaries stars both Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans. (And you thought that kiss in The Winter Soldier was their first time.) Based on the successful novel by real-life nannies Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, this movie might be considered more of a coming-of-age story than a romantic comedy, as it follows Annie (Johansson), a recent college grad who takes a job as a nanny for a rich family on the Upper West Side.
The romantic comedy part comes in when she meets Harvard Hottie (Evans) in the elevator. Really, the only reason to watch this movie would be to watch Johansson and Evans flirt. The rest of the movie is long, disjointed and, frankly, annoying.
1. View From The Top — Mark Ruffalo
Another two-for-one rom-com, View From The Top stars Mark Ruffalo and Mrs. Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow. This movie is just so crazy and out there, it’s hard to believe any of us actually paid to see it in theaters. Paltrow plays Donna Jensen, a clueless woman from a small town who dreams of being a glamorous flight attendant. At flight attendant school she meets a double-crossing best friend, Christine (Christina Applegate) and her flight attendant idol, Sally Weston (Candice Bergen).
Mike Myers also has a supporting role as her crazy instructor. The movie is certainly different than anything else Ruffalo has ever starred in, but his role is basically just another version of the same role he plays in every other rom-com he’s ever done. He’s good, sweet, honest and mild-mannered. In other words, he’s the nice guy who gets his heart broken and eventually gets the girl. (Sorry, should we have given a spoiler warning?)
Can you think of any other bad rom-coms starring Avengers? Let us know in the comments!