17 Rom-Coms That Featured Your Fave Celebs Before They Were Your Faves
Romantic comedy films are known for injecting a little humor into on-screen relationships — and for being cheesy and stereotypical in many cases — but they have often filled another role in Hollywood, too: career starters. There are a number of rom-coms that featured your favorite celebs before they you followed them, acting as an early career bridge to bigger and better roles in the future. Some of these movies featured current stars back when they were kids, while others showcased relatively established actors still waiting for their breakout roles. And in some small way, these rom-coms all helped make these actors the stars they are today.
As far as the films included in this list are concerned, you're likely to come across at least a few you've seen before. There are multiple movies that star early 2000s rom-com mainstays like Matthew McConoughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Katherine Heigl, and you may be surprised to see who shows up alongside them. There are also some memorable teen rom-coms from the late '90s and a couple of Judd Apatow's male-centric rom-coms, and they all have the same thing in common: they featured big-name actors back when they were still no-names. So take a look at the 17 films below and see how many of these familiar faces you remember seeing in these guilty pleasures.
1. Bradley Cooper - ‘Failure To Launch’
Now one of Hollywood's top stars, Cooper was still best-known as "that other guy from Alias" back in 2006 when he showed up in this Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker film.
2. Paul Rudd - ‘Clueless’
A young Rudd was one of the leads in this all time classic from 1995, but his career wouldn't peak for another two decades (he still looks the same, though).
3. Jonah Hill - 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin'
Hill's career was just beginning when he established himself as a member of Judd Apatow's crew in this 2005 film.
4. Kristen Wiig - 'Knocked Up'
Wiig had yet to emerge as SNL's top talent back in 2007 when she stole every scene she was in in this Judd Apatow effort.
5. Chloë Grace Moretz - '(500) Days Of Summer'
Before she was a leading lady, Moretz took on the role of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's kid sister in this quirky 2009 film.
6. Jack Black - 'High Fidelity'
Black had his own hit rom-com with 2001's Shallow Hal, but a year earlier he played a supporting role alongside John Cusack here.
7. Melissa McCarthy - 'The Back-Up Plan'
Hollywood's reigning queen of comedy was still trying to make the transition from TV to film when she showed up in this 2010 Jennifer Lopez movie.
8. Octavia Spencer - 'Never Been Kissed'
Long before winning any Oscars, Spencer was fighting for screen time in this 1999 Drew Barrymore favorite.
9. Channing Tatum - 'She’s The Man'
Released just months prior to his breakthrough role in Step Up in 2006, Tatum played Amanda Bynes' love interest here.
10. Ginnifer Goodwin - 'Win A Date With Tad Hamilton!'
Once upon a time, this actress was just starting out, and her appearance in this 2004 Kate Bosworth comedy was just her second film ever.
11. Maya Rudolph - 'As Good As It Gets'
Three years before landing her SNL gig, the comedian appeared as a cop in this Jack Nicholson romantic-dramedy from 1997.
12. Joseph Gordon-Levitt - '10 Things I Hate About You'
Obviously you know Gordon-Levitt from this 1999 classic of the genre, but it would still be over a decade before he became a household name.
13. Krysten Ritter - '27 Dresses'
Well before she was drinking hard and kicking ass as Jessica Jones, Ritter played "Gina the Goth" in this 2008 Katherine Heigl movie.
14. Ryan Reynolds - 'Coming Soon'
The future Deadpool star was just beginning his career in 1999 when he popped up in this NYC-set rom-com alongside Mia Farrow.
15. Scarlett Johansson - 'If Lucy Fell'
The highest-grossing actress of all time got her start in movies at a young age, including a role in this 1996 Sarah Jessica Parker film when she was just 11.
16. Kathryn Hahn - 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days'
This funny lady seems to be in everything these days, but her first studio film was this 2003 Kate Hudson/Matthew McConaughey vehicle.
17. Zoe Saldana - 'Get Over It'
Before she was the queen of outer space with roles in Avatar, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Saldana was playing a supporting role alongside Kirsten Dunst and Mila Kunis in this 2001 film.
Rom-coms are probably more openly mocked than any other film genre, but this list makes it clear that they have provided major opportunities for young actors to break into the business. And for that, they should be applauded.