There’s nothing worse than watching a movie with your parents or someone you barely know, only to have a love scene unexpectedly pop up on the screen. But watching a love scene that’s brief and integral to the plot is one thing, as seen in movies like The Notebook and Titanic. Watching an uncomfortable love scene that feels gratuitous and feels never-ending is something else entirely.
For whatever reason, American audience along with the MPAA have been particularly rigid when it comes to onscreen intercourse. Meanwhile, no one seems to have a problem with watching fictional characters beat each other bloody or pump their adversary full of bullets in many PG-13 rated movies. Why love trumps violence in the realm of inappropriate content remains a mystery, but even if you don’t consider yourself a prude, you’ll have a hard time sitting through these cringe-inducing love scenes.
While some of these movies intentionally want you to be uncomfortable during these scenes, others suffer from some awkward choreography, shoddy editing, or catastrophic casting choices, making these love scenes near unwatchable. In short, don’t pick any of these films out for family movie night.
Here are 15 Movie Love Scenes That Were Too Cringey To Watch.
15 Evan’s Almost-First Time — Superbad
If you want to ensure that your love scene is going to be hard to sit through, you can’t do much better than putting Michael Cera in it. This young actor is basically a walking cringe, with the unique skill of making everyone else feel awkward on his behalf.
In this raunchy coming-of-age comedy Superbad, Cera plays Evan, a high school senior who has been pining over his classmate Becca since grade school. But when Becca gets plastered at a house party, Evan finds himself in way over his head when Becca promises to give him everything he’s been waiting for - and more.
Though McLovin has his own awkward first outing at the same party, this scene is easily the hardest to sit through, as it starts with Evan citing health class lessons and ends with Becca puking all over the bed.
14 Hallelujah — Watchmen
Much like everything that Zack Snyder gets his hands on, people either love or hate the director’s 2009 adaptation of Watchmen, the acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore. No matter which side of the line you fall on, pretty much everyone agrees that this love scene between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre hits all the wrong notes.
In the source material, this is an empowering moment which shows that Daniel Dreiberg has rediscovered his confidence after finally suiting back up as Nite Owl to take down some criminals. But character development is pushed to the side during the film sequence, which tries too hard to be sexy and ends up feeling gratuitous. Not to mention that there’s a visual gag at the scene's most intimate moment...
The kicker is, of course, the song choice: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen — which doesn’t fit the scene aesthetically or thematically, making this one instance where turning the sound off actually makes the scene slightly more bearable.
13 Graveyard Love — MacGruber
With his hit TV series The Last Man on Earth and this 2010 film MacGruber, Will Forte has quickly become one of the masters of cringe comedy, joining the ranks alongside Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais.
In this 2010 parody film, Forte appears in multiple cringe-worthy sex scenes, which are both set to the 1985 pop song “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister, until the music inevitably cuts out and we’re left listening to MacGruber’s aggressive, unattractive grunting for the remainder of the lovemaking.
Though the scene with MacGruber’s love interest, Vicki Gloria St. Elmo, is already awkward enough, things get exponentially worse when MacGruber goes to his wive’s grave to confess his sexual encounter, only to end up making love to his wive’s ghost atop her gravestone.
It’s no wonder that this film initially bombed at the box office only to develop a cult following in the subsequent years.
12 Leg Wound — Crash
To call this scene from Crash a “love scene” or even a “sex scene” is a bit misleading. In fact, this entire 1996 thriller which revolves around a bizarre sub-culture of people who receive sexual gratifications from car crashes is not for the faint of heart.
The film was directed by body-horror mastermind David Cronenberg and stars James Spader as James Ballard, a film producer who finds himself drawn into the disturbing underworld after being involved in a horrific car crash of his own.
In this particular scene, which would leave even the most brazen cinephile cringing in their seat, James has “sex” with a recent car crash victim by using her leg wound for his own arousal. Though this scene from Crash may not be the most explicit, the connotations of the act are enough to make you avert your gaze from this scene, and quite possibly the remained of the movie.
11 “It’s Turkey Time” — Gigli
Though Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were actually dating during the filming of Gigli, the two actors failed to bring any real chemistry to their on-screen performance of Larry Gigli and Ricki.
To be fair, Gigli is an all-around terrible film, with a script containing so much cringe-worthy dialogue that no two actors could’ve saved this film from being any less than awful. The film has a number of awkward “dirty talking” scenes, one of which that lasts over six minutes, where Lopez and Affleck’s characters discuss the pros and cons of heterosexuality and homosexuality by using ridiculous euphemisms like “sea slug” and “diving for oysters.”
But the weirdest dirty talking by far comes when Ricki informs Larry that “It’s turkey time” — presumably another euphemism to say that it’s time to have sex — then she starts making turkey noises. And that’s before the love scene even starts.
10 PTSD — Munich
Though Steven Spielberg can seamlessly bounce from popcorn movies to hard hitting historical dramas, the director has never been known for inserting risque love scenes into his films, which is another reason that this moment from Munich feels so out of place.
The film follows a group of Jewish men hired by the Israeli government, who are tasked with tracking down and killing those responsible for the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Eric Bana plays Avner Kaufman, the leader of the retaliation who spends years assassinating people who returns home to his wife and child, only to be haunted by the things he’s done.
This scene cuts between Avner making love with his wife and images of people being massacred at the Munich Olympics, which is already enough to make anyone cringe. Though the scene is certainly meant to make you feel uncomfortable, it seems to drag on forever, which only serves to pull the viewer out of an otherwise powerful film.
9 Animal Magnetism — Howard the Duck
Even if you’ve tried to wipe this entire 1986 disaster from your mind, it’s hard to forget the scene where actress Lea Thompson almost pretended to have sex with an animatronic duck.
The moment comes when Howard the Duck and his hostess, Beverly, are getting ready for bed and Howard can’t help but admire Beverly’s womanly figure. The two exchange jokes about taking a trip into the “animal kingdom,” when Beverly suddenly decides that they should actually give it a go!
Luckily, Howard stops her before she can whip off her shirt, and much like the rest of the film, this scene hits all the wrong notes and makes the audience feel far more uncomfortable than amused. It’s no wonder that Howard the Duck was panned by critics, and is still considered one of the worst comic book movies of all time.
8 Amy’s Escape — Gone Girl
Gone Girl follows Amy Dunne, an unhappy housewife who fakes her own murder at the hands of her husband, Nick, after finding out that he is cheating on her. However, Amy’s master plan begins to unravel when she’s robbed of all her money and is forced to retreat to an obsessive ex-boyfriend named Desi, who agrees to hide her at his posh lake house.
However, Amy has no intention of becoming a prisoner to another manipulative man, and during another well planned “escape” she seduces Desi one night and slits his throat while the two are having sex. A shower of blood ensues which is sure to make any viewer weak in the knees, especially considering that Amy seems to enjoy the bloodletting more than the actual lovemaking.
7 Swimming Pool — Showgirls
Showgirls is an all-around bad movie, which can only be enjoyed ironically - if it can be enjoyed at all. The film stars Elizabeth Berkley from Saved by the Bell fame — who spends almost as much time naked in this film as she does dressed. Because of this, Showgirls received an NC-17 by the MPAA, making it the only film with that rating to ever be given a widespread release.
The one cringe-worthy love scene that stands out above the rest would have to be the infamous pool scene where Kyle MacLachlan and Berkley’s character get wet and wild in an in-ground swimming pool. We can only assume that this scene was meant to be sexy, but with all the thrashing and splashing, it comes across as everything but. In fact, it’s actually quite impressive how cringe-worthy this love scene manages to be despite the two attractive and nude co-stars.
6 Red Room of Pain — Fifty Shades of Grey
There are almost so many cringe-inducing love scenes from the Fifty Shades series that they could fill a list of their own. But if we had to pick just one, it would have be the prolonged BDSM sequence that takes place in Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain.
The film follows Anastasia Steele, an innocent college grad who gets caught up in a sadomasochistic relationship with a young billionaire who has a fetish for whips and chains. For a story that’s meant to titillate its audience, Fifty Shades of Grey is far more awkward and boring than it is erotic.
Even when Ana allows herself to succumb to Christian’s more perverse desires, the Red Room scene fails to emit the sense of danger and exhilaration that the movie is desperately going for. Instead, the whole affair feels clunky and overly choreographed, making the audience wish that they had been blindfolded right along with Ana.
5 Science Experiment Gone Wrong — Splice
This 2009 sci-fi horror film stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast, two rebellious scientists who splice together human and animal DNA to create a hybrid creature named Dren, who they raise as their child.
Of course, we know from films like Jurassic Park that scientists who try to play god don’t get off easy, and both Clive and Elsa find that Dren is growing up too quickly and becoming just as rebellious as her creators.
This cringe-worthy scene from Splice comes when Dren tries to mate with her creator/father Clive, who resists the advances for all but two seconds before he begins to have sex with the non-human creature he's raised since birth.
The scene is wrong on so many levels, and it only gets worse when Dren spreads her newly formed wings just when Elsa stumbles upon to the scene.
4 Webcam Striptease — American Pie
While many of the scenes on this list may be a bit unrelatable, there’s nothing that hits closer to home than someone try to impress their crush and failing miserably.
This is on full display in this scene from American Pie, where the painfully awkward Jim tries to impress the foreign exchange student Nadia by offering up an impromptu striptease. But little does Jim know that the entire town is watching the erotica unfold via a live webcam stream.
While this easily could have been made Jim a man in the eyes of his fellow high schoolers, the inexperienced virgin prematurely ejaculates at the slightest touch from Nadia. Instead of just cutting his losses there, Jim tries to rebound, only to do the same thing a second time while his friends watch in disbelief.
3 Dirty Talking — Her
The 2013 sci-fi romance Her follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Pheonix), a lonely man who develops a relationship with a talking operating system named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
Of course, having a significant other that is actually just a computer has its fair share of obstacles, so when the two decide to get “physical” for the first time the audience has to ostensibly sit through a lengthy phone sex conversation, in which the social awkward Theodore explains step by step what he would do to Samantha if she was actually there.
Not even Johansson’s smoky and seductive voice can save this scene from being an all out cringe-fest, which will definitely make the viewer reconsider their own digital experience with courtship and romance.
2 Different Rhythms — Bridesmaids
The hilarious Bridesmaids was a box office smash and a critical success which received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. It also pulled off a seemingly impossible task: making Jon Hamm look unattractive.
After years of playing the brooding and mysterious ad man Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, Hamm unexpectedly popped up as Kristen Wiig’s selfish booty call in this comedy. The two share a painfully awkward sex scene that continuously cuts from one uncomfortable position from the next, where Hamm has no shortage of unattractive facial expressions and unsexy one liners.
As Wiig’s character mentions in the scene, the two are possibly on different rhythms — which proves to be true both physically and emotionally — as by the end of this sex scene it’s clear that Hamm’s character isn’t just a terrible lover, but a terrible person as well.
1 Every Love Scene — The Room
Often called the Citizen Kane of bad movies, The Room is so notoriously awful that James Franco and Seth Rogan are starring in a film about the making of the movie titled The Disaster Artist, which will be out later this year. Franco
Like the rest of the scenes in The Room, the love scenes are particularly cringe-worthy and unusually long, which is a little disconcerting already considering that Tommy Wiseau, the writer/ director also cast himself as the film’s main character.
In fact, during filming Wiseau decided that he wanted a second love scene in the film. However, actress Juliette Danielle was so uncomfortable shooting the first one that she refused, and another love scene was manufactured with unused footage from the first one — making a total of 10 minutes of cringe-worthy sex scenes sprinkled throughout this film.
So which movie love scenes leave you in cringe city? Sounds off in the comments!