A low critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t what makes a movie as these rom-coms make for a fun movie night—whether you want to spend the time hating or otherwise.
Listen. We all have that one movie that flopped in more ways than one that we absolutely adore. Did you know that Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement only has 29% on Rotten Tomatoes? Shocking, I know. Of course, movie reviews—no matter how good or bad they are—are always subjective (just like this article!). That’s why below is a list of literally underrated romantic comedies that I think are worth a watch, even if they’re certified “rotten” on the review aggregator website.
HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (2003)
I know—this is often deemed a classic. But this movie starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey only scored 42% on the Tomatometer (the review measuring scale on Rotten Tomatoes).
Well! While not perfect by any means, it offers a fun premise and committed performances. Andie Anderson (Hudson) is a “how-to” columnist for a women’s magazine. She gets the bright idea to act like a complete nightmare of a girlfriend for an article: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, inspired by her friend who can’t keep a relationship. Benjamin Barry (McConaughey) is an advertising executive who made a deal with his boss that if he can make any woman fall in love with him, he gets to lead a huge ad campaign. They meet at a bar, enact their plans, and you can guess what happens next.
CHASING LIBERTY (2004)
Chasing Liberty is from 2004. So, if its 18% Tomatometer score has anything to say about it, it has cheesy 2004 problems. Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) is sick of the constant pressures and limitations bestowed upon her as the daughter of the President of the United States. One night, on a trip to Prague, she decides to escape the watchful eyes of her protection detail and asks Ben Calder (Matthew Goode) for help. He accompanies her as she makes her way through Europe to attend a music festival in Berlin, while keeping his true identity as a Secret Service agent secret from her. You can bet the reveal turns out well (spoiler, it doesn’t).
Moore is effervescent and carefree, but also whiny and terribly naive, while Goode exudes leading man charm in this made-for-a-teen-audience rom-com.
LEAP YEAR (2010)
Can you tell the writer of this article is a Matthew Goode enjoyer? In this 2010 rom-com, he plays Declan O’Callaghan, a surly, sarcastic Irish pub owner, opposite the ever-so-sweet Amy Adams as prim and proper Anna Brady. Anna’s been waiting forever for her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) to propose, so she decides to surprise him in Dublin and propose herself. She doesn’t make it there, though, and hires Declan—who needs money to keep his pub afloat—to bring her from Dingle to Dublin. The two start off as rocky as the gorgeous landscape of Ireland, and hijinks ensue.
Leap Year only has 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. A review by Tim Robey of the Daily Telegraph simply, hilariously, reads: “Poor Amy Adams.” Regardless, to this writer and definitely non-professional-movie-critic, Leap Year is sweet, funny, and boasts a lovely romance.
WHEN WE FIRST MET (2018)
Adam Devine’s Noah Ashby goes a long way to learn a great lesson in When We First Met. Noah’s been in love with Avery Martin (Alexandra Daddario) for three years, but she’s firmly put him in the friendzone and is set to marry Ethan (Robbie Amell). When he discovers a photobooth that sends him back in time to the time he and Avery first met, he tries a myriad of ways to win her over—all resulting in less-than-stellar outcomes in the future. Don’t worry—it’s fun to get mad at him for going about things the wrong way.
The film pairs classic rom-com tropes with a fantastical premise and a subversive take on the genre. At 43%, it’s not certified fresh, but it’s certainly not without its praise. Jeffrey Lyles of Lyle’s Movie Files says on Rotten Tomatoes, “While it’s predictable, the destination eventually makes the journey worthwhile and rewarding.”
MONTE CARLO (2011)
We all love a good identity theft moment. Monte Carlo, which is must-watch viewing for any Selena Gomez stan, follows graduating high school student Grace Bennett (Gomez), who looks an awful lot like the British heiress Cordelia Winthrop-Scott. On a trip to Paris, after being mistaken for the socialite, she assumes Cordelia’s identity and lives the high life with her friends Meg (Leighton Meester) and Emma (Katie Cassidy). She meets Theo Marchand (Pierre Boulanger), who knows of Cordelia’s spoiled personality, but eventually she wins him over.
At 40%, Monte Carlo is said to be “mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula.” However, it delivers authenticity and a promise to be a great addition to a girls’ night movie watchlist.
SHE’S THE MAN (2006)
Speaking of identity theft, She’s the Man is one of the films that totally banked on the fake identity trope in the 2000s. Arguably Amanda Bynes’ most popular film role, it tells the story of high school soccer player Viola Hastings and her shenanigans. Viola, whose girls’ soccer team gets cut, assumes her twin brother Sebastian’s identity to prove her coach and her ex-boyfriend wrong for cutting the team. Viola, as Sebastian, befriends hotshot Duke (Channing Tatum) and they start to bond—but then so does Duke and Viola (as Viola). With all the secrecy and mistaken identities floating around, this movie’s sure to keep you on your toes.
Dated, ridiculous, yet enjoyable, She’s the Man is a comedic watch filled with great one-liners and awkwardness to boot.
HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU (2009)
For those of you who love a hot mess, this film is a heaping pile of it. He’s Just Not That Into You, a 41% scorer, is a romance-comedy-drama that follows the lives of a stacked ensemble cast. How does a movie with Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Kevin Connolly, and Justin Long sound? From affairs and unwanted marriage talks to mixed signals and awkward assumptions, this movie presents relationships in all its glory as well as all its nitty gritty.
SHE’S ALL THAT (2006)
The mother of many clichés, She’s All That is a bucket list rom-com that checks off all the boxes. Quirky, spunky lead girl? Check. Popular hot guy with a hot ex-girlfriend? Check. A relationship based on a bet between bros? Check. Makeovers? Check. Jokes that won’t land today? Check. But Rachael Leigh Cook as Laney Boggs and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Zach Siler endearingly deliver wit, charm, and sincerity that will make you smile, even just a little bit.
She’s All That, despite its 41% rating, is a classic. It spawned an insane parody starring Captain America himself (Not Another Teen Movie, 2001), and a gender-swapped remake that did even worse than its predecessors (He’s All That, 2021), and probably countless more teen films over the years.
Clichéd, unfunny, bland chemistry, terrible acting—you’ve heard it all. But if you’re willing to open your mind to giving these rom-coms a chance, you’ll have a great time. (Hate-watching is also a great time). At the very least, you’ll be able to commiserate and laugh at all the reviews. And you never know—you might find a favorite worth defending.
Continue Reading: 8 Best Romcoms That Prove Fake-Dating Tropes Never Fail