I say this as a self-proclaimed romantic comedy devotee: there are some romcoms with crazy plots out there. Sometimes, a movie will completely embrace the fact that its plot is bonkers. A great example is 13 Going on 30, which finds a 13-year-old's consciousness jumping into her 30-year-old body. This could open up all kinds of avenues for creepiness, but the movie avoids almost all of them by staying close to its innocent, heartwarming core. Yet not all rom-coms can navigate their premises with such ease, and as a result they become downright weird when you actually stop to think about the brand of romance the movie is peddling.
Full disclosure, some of the movies on this list are among my absolute favorite rom-coms ever. Bizarre though their plots may be, they still hold a special place in my romantic comedy loving heart. Others, however, are not as deserving of praise — if anything, they'll make you question how they even got made. The one thing all these movies have in common is that, love them or hate them, they present the most bizarre roads to romance you could possibly take. Trust me, no one should look to any of them for dating advice.
1. The Switch (2010)
Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston play best friends in this rom-com with a truly disturbing concept at its center. Bateman's Wally has feelings for Aniston's Kassie, but instead of telling her, he gets super drunk at her artificial insemination party (that's a thing, I guess). He ends up knocking over her anonymous donor sample while he's in the bathroom and he replaces it with his own without telling her. That's right, he let's his best friend have his baby and only tells her seven years later to stop her from marrying another man. Hollywood says romantic comedy, I say horror story.
2. 50 First Dates (2004)
Henry becomes enamored with Lucy, a woman whose memory resets at the end of each day due to a traumatic accident, and he spends every single day wooing her all over again until they eventually get married and have children. There's just one little problem, though: Lucy continues to wake up every single day not knowing who Henry is and must watch a video to orientate herself to her life each morning. You know, totally normal married people stuff.
3. Never Been Kissed (1999)
Josie, a journalist, goes undercover at her old high school and ends up falling for her super charming English teacher. The major problem here is that he thinks Josie is a student when he starts having feelings for her, and even though the audience and Josie all know Josie is an adult woman, he doesn't. There is a definite creepy factor there.
4. Life As We Know It (2010)
Nothing says romance and comedy like the tragic deaths of your best friends — wait, actually that doesn't seem quite right. Still, that is the wacky premise that finds perpetually single Holly and Eric moving in together to raise their dead best friends' daughter, and eventually fall in love despite hating each other because the universe demands it.
5. Only You (1994)
Thanks to a prank pulled on her by her brother when she was 11, a woman spends the rest of her life believing she will only ever be truly happy if she finds a man named Damon Bradley. Coincidentally, the man she ends up engaged to has a friend named Damon Bradley, who she impulsively decides to fly to Rome to meet because that is a totally sane thing to do. Things only get more convoluted and nonsensical from there.
6. How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (2003)
Incredibly specific coincidences are the bread and butter of the rom-com world, but How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days takes chance encounters to a whole new level. Andie just happens to be working on an assignment that will show women how to get rid of a man in just 10 days when she meets Benjamin, a man who just happens to have recently made a bet that he can make any woman fall for him in 10 days. This is not how life works.
7. What Women Want (2000)
A chauvinist jerk slips in the shower while holding a hair dryer and gains the ability to hear women's thoughts. Who comes up with this stuff? The premise becomes uncomfortably invasive from there as he uses the intimate thoughts of the women around him to mold himself into a better person, but honestly, the hook alone has more than enough weird packed in it for one movie.
8. The Wedding Planner (2001)
Granted, I've never considered a career in wedding planning, but I don't think part of the job description involves falling for someone else's groom. To be fair, Mary doesn't know the guy who saves her life is the future husband of the woman who she is chatting on the phone with when she almost gets ran over (holy, unbelievable coincidence, Batman!), but once she finds out, the whole romance angle should be dropped. Those two crazy kids are determined to be together though, and the movie twists itself into a knot to convince you destiny is on their side.
9. Simply Irresistible (1999)
A magic crab makes Sean Patrick Flanery fall in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar. A magic crab. I just want to make sure you are hearing me — this is a rom-com that's key plot point is a magic crab. Also, you should all watch this movie immediately.
10. When In Rome (2010)
Frustrated by her lack of luck in love, a woman removes four coins from a fountain in Rome. Removing said coins causes their owners to fall madly in love with her and they engage in some pretty serious stalking. But it's funny? Well, the movie thinks it's funny.
11. Killers (2010)
Finding out your husband is a spy who has killed people sounds like nightmare fuel to me, but in Killers it just leads to marital bonding and Katherine Heigl realizing her family has a spy past, too. Just remember the next time you go out on a date that the guy sitting across from you could totally be a spy and he won't mention it until you are married, pregnant, and have a hit out on you. Happy dating!
Ah, the joys of romantic comedies. Their premises can range from the silly to the frightening, but they are so addictive it's impossible not to watch them all anyway.
Images: Columbia Pictures (3); Miramax Films; 20th Century Fox (2); Warner Bros. Pictures; TriStar Pictures; Paramount Pictures (2); Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Lionsgate