While you might think that the defining relationships in romantic comedy movies are always the romances, but a second look at them might actually make you realize that that's not true. Without the
comedy part, a rom-com would just be a rom. The cream of the rom-com best friends usually provide that vital second part. But besides offering comic relief, the sidekick also helps facilitate the love story, which makes them the true MVPs.
Rewatch some of your all-time favorite rom-coms and pay attention to to what appears to be the most equal, healthy relationship, and you'll probably find that it's actually the one between the protagonist and their BFF, not their object of affection. Whether that friend is embarking on an elaborate journey to help their friend win someone over or covering the lead's shifts at work so they can pursue an exciting love affair, the rom-com best friend literally makes everything possible.
You can also count on the sidekick to bring their lovestruck friend back to earth, since they usually a voice of reason. For viewers living in a world in which rom-com stuff doesn't actually happen, those little reality checks make these impractical movies a little easier to swallow.
So read on for some of the greatest side characters of rom-com history, who deserve a lot more credit than they get.
1 Penny Nicholson (Judy Greer) In 'The Wedding Planner'
Out of all of the best friend characters that Judy Greer has played, Penny is the best. She's a helpful and supportive cheerleader, who helps make Mary Fiore's (Jennifer Lopez) dreams come true.
2 Anita (Molly Shannon) In 'Never Been Kissed'
SNL vet plays the confidante of Drew Barrymore's undercover journalist character, who goes to extreme ends to help her friend out, including spontaneously teaching a sex ed class. 3 Diedre (Mo' Nique) In 'Two Can Play That Game'
Vivica A. Fox plays Shanté Smith, who thinks she has it all figured out, but Diedre is there to remind her friend that she can't control everything — while also providing top-notch comic relief.
4 Holly Sullivan (Christine Taylor) In 'The Wedding Singer'
Holly Sullivan, Julia's cousin, might not always give the best advice, but she plays an instrumental role in making Robbie's plane confession possible.
5 Becca (Meredith Hagner) In 'Set It Up'
Becca may not have a ton of screen time in Netflix's
Set It Up, but when she's there, she nails her role as the best friend that everyone wishes they had. 6 Michelle (Kathryn Hahn) In 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days'
Kathryn Hahn has played a bevy of rom-com sidekicks, but perhaps her most memorable is Michelle, Andie's (Kate Hudson) co-conspirator in an epic rom-com challenge.
7 Jude, Tom & Sharon (Shirley Henderson, James Callis & Sally Phillips) In 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
This trio provide so much witty commentary and support to the bumbling Bridget (Renee Zellweger), that you can't help but fall in love with them.
8 Rhonda (Kristen Johnston) In 'Music And Lyrics'
Rhonda isn't just Sophie's (Drew Barrymore) big sister, she's also a hilarious friend who helps push Sophie outside of her comfort zone and into the arms of rom-com legend Hugh Grant.
9 Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina) In 'Crazy Rich Asians'
She's the perfect example of a side character who deserves her own movie.
10 Debbie (Leslie Mann) In 'Knocked Up'
Debbie not only supports her sister's unexpected journey into motherhood but who also aggressively defends her in the face of discrimination at a night club.
11 Peggy Flemming (Joan Cusack) In 'Runaway Bride'
Joan Cusack plays the perfect counterpart to Julia Roberts' character, Maggie, and as offbeat as the whole premise of
Runaway Bride may be, Cusack's character, Peggy, somehow helps to make it all charming. 12 Marie (Carrie Fisher) In 'When Harry Met Sally'
Marie may have started dating a guy that her friend Sally (Meg Ryan) was supposed to be set up with, but Sally doesn't see this as breaking a "girl code." That's just how cool and supportive the two women of
When Harry Met Sally are. 13 Duckie (Jon Cryer) In 'Pretty In Pink'
Duckie doesn't always make the right choices, but he's still an iconic rom-com sidekick.
14 Francine (Queen Latifah) In 'Brown Sugar' Brown Sugar basically proves that your assumption that Queen Latifah would make an incredible BFF. 15 Joan (Leah Remini) In 'Second Act'
Leah Remini and Jennifer Lopez are real life BFFs, so naturally, their characters' friendship in the 2018 movie
Second Act is every bit as aspirational. 16 Patti (Sandra Oh) In 'Under The Tuscan Sun' Under the Tuscan Sun isn't just about Frances' (Diane Lane) journey to Italy to find herself. Patti joins Frances in Tuscany, where the two support each other in their times of need. 17 Courtney Rockcliffe (Christina Applegate) In 'The Sweetest Thing'
Courtney is everything that a rom-com sidekick should be. She helps her friend pursue an unlikely romance, and has some of the movie's most outrageously funny lines.
18 Delilah Abraham (Whoopi Goldberg) In 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back'
There would be no reclaiming of one's groove without Delilah, and Whoopi Goldberg's character deserves all the props that she can get for this fabulous role.
19 Casey (Judy Greer) In '27 Dresses'
Again, Greer provides a stunning example of how encouraging and fun a BFF can be.
20 Missy Pantone (Eliza Dushku) In 'Bring It On'
Dushku's character in
Bring it On isn't what you'd expect from a competitive high school cheerleader, but that's what makes her such a breath of fresh air. 21 George (Rupert Everett) In 'My Best Friend’s Wedding'
George provides some hysterical moments and a sense of grounding to the Julia Roberts movie, which cements him in the rom-com BFF hall of fame.
22 Casey (Julie Ann Emery) In 'Hitch'
It's not the rom-com norm that the best friend character seems even more lost in all things romance than the female lead, but that's the case in
Hitch, and Emery's performance as Casey reinforces the overall message of the movie that love is tricky. 23 Dionne (Stacey Dash) In 'Clueless'
For as clueless as Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is, she gets by thanks to Dionne, who's the true partner in crime that every high schooler needs.
24 Laurel Boyd (Bonnie Hunt) In 'Jerry Maguire'
Not all rom-com friends are totally supportive of the main characters' dalliances, especially when they're not fully thought through. That reasonable force in
Jerry Maguire is the understandably skeptical Laurel Boyd (Hunt), a quintessential and skeptical big sister.
Sidekicks do so much more than just give enthusiastic pep talks — though they definitely do that a lot — and no rom-com would be complete without them.