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Ranking, Without Comment, the Last 53 Romantic Comedies Released in North America

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 20, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 20, 2011 |

I don’t know what the actual percentage of studio releases I see each year is, but it’s probably somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of all wide releases. I see a lot of films, and most of them are bad. Honestly, really bad. Many of them I see to review, but there are several categories of films that I see almost regardless of whether they’re good or not. That’s typically any movie expected to make more than $50 million (because I like to have an informed opinion on popular films), almost all horror films (because, believe it or not, it’s one of my favorite genres, even if 90 percent of them are complete rubbish) and every romantic comedy. That’s in part because I typically assign most of the romantic comedy reviews to myself, and it’s also because nothing beats a great romance. Unfortunately, over the last five years, I could count the great romances on one hand, after I’ve cut off two fingers (and only one of them was a romantic comedy). They are a true rarity these days.

How rare? I decided to look back at the last four years of romantic-comedy releases and rank them because, why not? I’ve seen them all, and by lining them all up together on one page, the rest of you can get an idea of just how horrible the genre is. Worse than you’re already low assessment. Most of our readers probably only remember less than half of these, despite the fact that I only chose movies released within the last four years that made at least $5 million. Most of them, however, fall in between the $30 and $75 million range. Most are also instantly forgettable, except for the brain damage, which is permanent.

In selecting the films, I chose only the comedies where a romance was central to the story. In most cases, these movies could be classified as “chick flicks” but I know better than to use that term on this site. But they were targeted by the studios largely at female audiences and date-night engagements. I’ve excluded “bromances” like Role Models and I Love You, Man, as well as straight comedies where the romance is incidental, like Extract.

About the rankings, I would only consider one a “great” romantic comedy. I would consider the next fourgood romantic comedies that I’d watch again (in fact, I have). Everything below number 10 is a bad movie; they’re just varying degrees of bad. Forty-three of the 53 movies on this list received pans by our site, most of them by myself. Everything below number 15, I not only disliked: I hated.

Many of you may take issue, not with the rankings, but with any movie above number ten even qualifying as decent. That’s OK. But when you watch 20 of these a year, any romantic comedy with a half a moment of authenticity stands out. You hated The Proposal? Then look at the bottom ten on this list, and maybe you’ll understand why The Proposal is at number nine or why a movie as mediocre as Four Christmases is at 18. It’s because it didn’t make me want to cause serious harm to myself, only minor.

This, folks, is why so many people despise the romantic comedy genre:

1. (500) Days of Summer
2. Easy A
3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
4. Morning Glory
5. Going the Distance
6. Definitely, Maybe
7. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
8. Sex Drive
9. Date Night
10. The Proposal

11. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
12. Leatherheads
13. The Invention of Lying
14. It’s Complicated
15. Take Me Home Tonight
16. Just Wright
17. Mamma Mia
18. Four Christmases
19. The Switch
20. No Strings Attached
21. Love and Other Drugs
22. How Do You Know
23. Arthur
24. Hall Pass
25. The House Bunny
26. She’s Out of My League
27. What Happens in Vegas
28. I Love You, Beth Cooper
29. Sex and the City
30. He’s Just Not That Into You
31. Made of Honor
32. You Again
33. New In Town
34. Love Happens
35. Valentine’s Day
36. The Dilemma
37. Couples Retreat
38. Fool’s Gold
39. The Ugly Truth
40. When in Rome
41. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
42. Sex and the City 2
43. 27 Dresses
44. Confessions of a Shopaholic
45. The Bounty Hunter
46. The Back-Up Plan
47. Just Go With It
48. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
49. All About Steve
50. Bride Wars
51. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
52. The Love Guru
53. Leap Year

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.