Please Stop Making Women Look So Terrible In Rom-Coms

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Mindy Kaling once summed up how a reasonably intelligent person can totally lose herself in the pleasure of a romantic comedy: "I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world," she wrote in "Flick Chicks," published in The New Yorker and her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? "For me, there is no difference between Ripley from Alien and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fake-y razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it."

After watching the trailer for The Boss, we suspect we'll be adding Kristen Bell's Claire, the "asexual" single mom, to Kaling's list of implausible rom-com types (the klutz, the ethereal weirdo, etc.). Come to think of it, there are many, many more mythical creatures that we can list.

We put on our most cynical glasses to view the women in popular rom-coms, from the '90s through today, and came up with far too many reasons to believe these ladies exist off the screen. Mind you, this often has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the films. It all depends on how much the other elements of the movie have encouraged us to suspend our disbelief.
1 of 15
The Neurotic Clown, French Kiss (1995)
Kate (Meg Ryan) is an uptight, supremely organized, lactose-intolerant history teacher whose life plans go out the window when her fiancé (Timothy Hutton) ditches her for a woman he meets in France. She sucks up her fear of flying to go win him back and inadvertently smuggles in a stolen necklace for French lout Luc (Kevin Kline).

Unbelievable: That Kate is somehow both a really put-together person and also a total clown (Luc's words), always on the verge of throwing her body around in spasms, falls, or fits of disgruntlement. She's also willing to give up basically all the things she values (safety, stability, politeness) for men.

Watch French Kiss on Amazon with a Starz subscription.
2 of 15
Every Man's Ideal, There's Something About Mary (1998)
Ted (Ben Stiller) tracks down his lifelong crush, Mary (Cameron Diaz), whom he hasn't seen since their ill-fated prom night. She's a gorgeous orthopedic surgeon living in Miami, pursued nonstop by all the men she charms.

Unbelievable: We buy this perfect girl's relentless niceness to the underdog, fueled by her love for her autistic brother, and even the fact that she is into everything guys love. What we can't swallow is her willingness to consider being with Ted after discovering that his obsession drove him to hire a detective to find and stalk her.

Watch There's Something About Mary on Amazon.
3 of 15
The Humble Movie Star, Notting Hill (1999)
Anna (Julia Roberts) is a beautiful movie star who literally runs into bookstore owner Will (Hugh Grant) in London and decides to date him, with their first date being his sister's birthday dinner party.

Unbelievable: While there actually are plenty of movie stars who marry civilians, it's difficult to imagine a woman as successful as Anna not getting fed up with Will's weak, indecisive nature.

Watch Notting Hill on Netflix.
4 of 15
The Not-Quite-Homewrecker, The Wedding Planner (2001)
Mary (Jennifer Lopez) is a wedding planner who accidentally falls in love with the groom (Matthew McConaughey) of her biggest client after one sort-of accidental date. Clumsy shenanigans ensue.

Unbelievable: In her work, Mary should be exposed to all kinds of couples who aren't meant for each other, and yet she makes the flaky decision to agree to marry some guy (Justin Chambers) just because her dad likes him and because the other guy isn't available.

Watch The Wedding Planner on Amazon.
5 of 15
The Small-Town Traitor, Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is a successful fashion designer living in New York City and engaged to the mayor's son. The only problem is she's still married to her childhood sweetheart in Alabama.

Unbelievable: This whole movie posits that an ambitious, smart woman like Melanie has decided that in order to live in New York, she had to stop speaking to everyone she knew back home. We may not love visiting our own hometown, but pretending that it (and the exes left behind) don't even exist suggests she's suffered some kind of psychotic break — or perhaps a seriously abusive situation.

Watch Sweet Home Alabama on Amazon.
6 of 15
The Intrepid Misogynist Journalist, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Andie (Kate Hudson) is a writer for a women's magazine who does everything she can to ruin a "relationship" with a man she's just met, Ben (Matthew McConaughey), who is also trying to win a bet that he can make any woman he meets fall in love with him in the same amount of time.

Unbelievable: Granted, the involvement of Ben's coworkers means this situation was set up, not coincidental; but the worst part of the whole scenario is that both parties seem to think Andie's extremely codependent behavior is how a woman might really behave. Writing this article is the worst kind of betrayal to fellow women and we thank the publishing gods that Composure magazine doesn't exist.

Watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on Amazon.
7 of 15
The Forgiving Amnesiac, 50 First Dates (2004)
Lucy (Drew Barrymore) has a rare form of amnesia that prevents her from making new memories, but Henry (Adam Sandler) wants to try to be her boyfriend, anyway.

Unbelievable: While there are documented cases of similar types of amnesia out there, it's just a little too convenient that Lucy's allows her to live out an entire day before her memory resets. Then, there's the fact that she is totally okay with being with a man whose previous actions, for better or worse, she can't ever remember unless he chooses to show her his video of them?

Watch 50 First Dates on Netflix.
8 of 15
The Not-Quite-Dead Girl, Just Like Heaven (2005)
Elizabeth is a dedicated doctor in a coma whose spirit haunts her old apartment, now occupied by a landscape architect (Mark Ruffalo).

Unbelievable: All of the above. Also, if she's such a workaholic, shouldn't she haunt her hospital, instead of her apartment?

Watch Just Like Heaven on Amazon.
9 of 15
The Caretaker, Knocked Up (2007)
Allison (Katherine Heigl) is an entertainment news producer who gets pregnant during a drunken hookup with man-child Ben (Seth Rogen) and then tries to have a relationship with the guy.

Unbelievable: Ambitious women like Allison manage to raise children all the time; what has us shaking our heads is the idea that she'd also agree to raise her kid's baby daddy and be happy doing it. Nope.

Watch Knocked Up on Amazon.
10 of 15
The Gorgeous Blonde Who Doesn't Believe Guys Like Her, When in Rome (2010)
Beth is a museum curator who stops believing in love until she meets a cute guy, Nick (Josh Duhamel), at a wedding in Rome. When she sees him kiss someone else, she gathers coins out of a magic fountain and makes all the men who've dropped those coins in the fountain fall in love with her.

Unbelievable: Well, the entire premise, sure, but within this magical universe, does previously cynical Beth really think men throw coins into fountains wishing for true love? Is she also so unaware that, duh, she looks like Kristen Bell and a lot of men might possibly be in love with her, anyway?

Watch When in Rome on Amazon.
11 of 15
Bridezilla Frenemies, Bride Wars (2009)
Emma and Liv are best friends whose weddings are accidentally booked at the Plaza Hotel on the same day. Rather than change dates or venues, their fight escalates into full-on madness.

Unbelievable: No matter how much anyone has ever dreamt of their wedding, this is not how female friendship works — except maybe on reality TV or in an overpriced ad for the Plaza.

Watch Bride Wars on Amazon.
12 of 15
The Naive Friend, The Switch (2010)
Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) is single, but wants to have a kid before she's too old, so she chooses to be artificially inseminated. Her best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman), is bummed that she didn't ask him to be the sperm donor. In a drunken haze, he switches out his sperm for the batch she was going to use.

Unbelievable: There is no way Kassie can't tell that Wally is secretly in love with her. That's just not a thing. There is also no way that she would forgive him for the stunt he pulled. (And, just to add science into this: Both Bateman and Aniston have blue eyes, so sorry, one of them is not little brown-eyed Sebastian's parent. Did no one take seventh-grade biology?)

Watch The Switch on Netflix.
13 of 15
The Sad Nymphomaniac, Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) is a young widow who's dealt with her guilt by having a lot of sex, but she's trying to channel her energy into ballroom dance, instead. She offers to help Pat (Bradley Cooper), who has bipolar disorder, win back his ex-wife if he becomes her dance partner.

Unbelievable: As skillfully as Lawrence portrayed this woman, she still exists solely in the eyes of Pat — as a mirror of his own mental instability, a tool for his delusional quest to win back his wife, and as his own fantasy of what a "crazy" woman looks like. Show us this movie from her perspective and we might buy that she's a whole person.

Watch Silver Linings Playbook on Netflix.
14 of 15
The Girl Who Just Needs To Get Married, Baggage Claim (2013)
Montana (Paula Patton) is a flight attendant who scrambles to find the perfect man to settle down with — choosing only from among ex-boyfriends — after her sister gets engaged.

Unbelievable: Are you telling us that a woman who looks like Paula Patton and who can enjoy casual sex with the likes of Taye Diggs and Djimon Hounsou would feel bad about herself for not getting married before her sister? Not in this century, please.

Watch Baggage Claim on Amazon.
15 of 15
The Reformed Hussy, Trainwreck (2015)
Amy (Amy Schumer) is a magazine writer who really enjoys casual sex, weed, and alcohol. She meets sweet, romantic doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), and reconsiders her lifestyle.

Unbelievable: Amy's carefree behavior looks more and more like selfishness when she starts to date Aaron and it's hard to believe she would be so unaware of his feelings that she'd jeopardize his career the way she does. The choice of commitment versus independence is presented as moral versus immoral. Real women exist in a gray area in-between.

Watch Trainwreck on Amazon.

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