Next to naps, Forex trading over Instagram and buying drinks in the club, Valentine’s Day takes its rightful place as a scam of the highest order dressed in holiday attire. Although it serves as an excuse to be explicitly romantic whilst boosting the floral and chocolate industries, February 14th also serves as a reminder that a dinner for two can also be a large meal for one given the right motivations and lack of prospects. Instead of crying in ‘forever alone’, flip the script and use V Day as an opportunity to celebrate singlehood… By ugly laughing at love. Here is a list of romantic films that missed the mark by a considerable margin and then some - showing viewers that fairytale endings should sometimes stay in the books.
1. The Break-Up (2006)
It’s bad enough when you have one character that plays themselves in every movie they are cast, but when you have two actors in Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, that play Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, somehow love doesn’t feel like it’s in the air. After the couple ‘call it quits’, neither of them want to move out of the luxurious apartment they bought together. The tedious arguments over everything and nothing causes the film to drag - turning the romcom into a ‘comedy’ for all the wrong reasons.
2. Valentine’s Day (2010)
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’? With a star-studded line-up including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper and Queen Latifah, the production had promise on paper. Despite having an estimated budget of $52 million, the movie only received 18% from Rotten Tomatoes and for good reason. The story was intended to be carried by the status of the actors and not the actual plot. There were too many scenarios and not enough time to explore the different couples in depth. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Taylor Swift’s character name, which was Felicia… I shit you not.
3. Naked (2017)
The Wayans, in particular, Shawn and Marlon, are ‘notorious’ for making spoof comedies with whacky and slapstick twists. So, when Marlon Wayans approached the ‘do over’ or ‘loop’ trope with his signature style, it didn’t come as a surprise. The protagonist, Rob Anderson jumps through hoop after hoop on his wedding day but can’t seem to make it to the alter. Rob repeatedly wakes up butt naked, stuck in a cycle and ultimately unmarried. HOWEVER, for nudity to be the main device, in both a romance movie as well as this economy, something somewhere is not adding up.
4. The Kissing Booth (2018)
When you look past the reductive script, regressive character constructs, clichés and misogyny, it’s still really cheesy. In a typical coming-of-age story, Elle falls in love with her best friend's 'bad boy' brother, putting a strain on their lifelong relationship. The franchise clearly has a following that gave it the platform for sequels, but it also made it apparent that the target audience is for those experiencing puberty. As a result, it has made its way firmly onto the list.
5. New Year’s Eve (2011)
As if the pandemic didn’t ruin my birthday enough, the creators of the Valentine’s Day movie decided to romanticise another holiday unprovoked. In an attempt to find happiness, a decorated cast comprised of Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert De Niro and other esteemed actors scour the city in the name of love before the clock strikes 12. Although there were improvements in comparison to their first attempt, the script and dialogue still fall flat and short of the heartwarming content expected. There’s also a personal vendetta from attaching my good name to my special day (birthday) every year.