There comes a point in every man’s life when he’s forced to watch a romantic comedy, better known as the infamous 'chick flick'. As the name implies, the genre is meant for women (or chicks), and only them. Do you see the words “manly” or “action-packed” in there?
While watching these “films” is normally quite difficult and regarded by some as an agonizing pass-time—there are those who may use the word “torturous”—it’s unfortunately a necessity for people in relationships, especially those of us who are perpetually stuck in seemingly interminable fights and need these flicks to save us from eternal damnation.
We’ve got your back, Jack. Here’s our list of chick flicks that either, one, have an intriguing storyline (yes, they exist), two, focus more so on the “comedy” aspect of the name (if we’re calling it a romantic comedy) or, three, include some form of fighting (yes, those, too, exist). And if you already like chick flicks for some reason, well, these will definitely reinvent the way you view them.
15 License to Wed
Like in all of his movies, the wonderful and very-much-missed Robin Williams delivers in License to Wed. RIP.
Not only is Robin hilarious, but he appears to get sick, sadist jollies from watching couples suffer (even though he plays a reverend). Even better, critics have described Robin's character as "creepy" and more worthy of a horror-film villain than a comic lead. Win-win!
The couple who’s fallen victim to Robin’s many absurd “tests” and almost demoniacal tricks is Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore) and Ben Murphy (John Krasinski), as part of Robin's prenuptial course. They want to get married at his church, and they must jump through hoops to get there.
14 To Rome With Love
Let’s start by saying there are four separate stories within this one, all-encompassing tale. When you take that into effect, instead of one major deathathon of a film, you get four, much smaller, less harmful “sprints.” With that said, each little anecdote is actually extremely funny. Plus, since there’s four, there’s more of a chance that you might like one of them, and that’s a home-run when it comes to chick flicks.
In one, Penelope Cruz is a prostitute who seduces a married man (the wife is also seduced by a famous actor); another involves Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), who's in a relationship but falls in love with nymphomaniac Monica (Ellen Page), and is randomly followed by Alec Baldwin; the third is about Jerry (Woody Allen), a retired and reviled avant-garde Opera director, who convinces Giancarlo Santoli to sing in an Opera while taking a shower; and the fourth tells the story of a normal, boring man named Leopoldo Pisanello who ambivalently becomes famous and is soon constantly harassed by the paparazzi and forced to appear on TV to talk about his mundane daily tasks.
This is your classic “guy runs into the devil and gets seven wishes in return for his soul” story. Oh. It’s not a classic? Well, it’s similar to a genie giving a lucky sonuvagun three wishes, but, here, you lose your soul. At least you get four more wishes!
In this case, Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) doesn’t get a lamp, but Satan, and the devil’s a “she” (Elizabeth Hurley).
Since Elliot has a “thing” for a colleague, Alison Gardner, all of his wishes revolve around her. But, seeing as the devil is, well, the devil, Elliot’s wishes don’t really turn out well. To give you an idea, in one “wish scenario,” Elliot is not … well-endowed. Ouch.
12 Bounty Hunter
First off, don’t get so excited. This type of a bounty hunter isn’t like Boba Fett, running around, getting knocked into sarlacc by a blind Han Solo (Harrison Ford). This type of bounty hunter is a bail enforcement agent who seeks out people who don’t post bail and make em pay or lock em up. Even though this hunter doesn’t have a jet pack, flamethrower or grapple-gun-thingy like Fett, he does more damage than Fett ever did in the original trilogy. But we digress.
Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler) is the bounty hunter (it’s no coincidence that there are two films on this list that both star Butler -- see #4. Butler basically puts the “awesome” in every chick flick he’s in). And who's he hunting? Nicole Hurley (Jennifer Aniston). While Aniston is kind of a big deal, why should we care he’s hunting her? Because Nicole is Milo’s ex-wife. There we go!
11 Meet Joe Black
There are only three words to describe this film: “grim,” “reaper” and “death.” Now, before you get ahead of yourself, there isn’t a cloaked skeleton running around, slicing people’s heads off with a scythe. Although that would be awesome, that doesn’t happen. In fact, you never see Death’s actual form because he’s busy possessing bodies and masquerading as those people. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?
While the general consensus at Rotten Tomatoes is that the movie is “Glacially slow,” that’s fine with us because it means we get to enjoy the film longer.
Like the guys at Rotten Tomatoes, Death is bored. Even though he’s been around the block for, like, eons, he’s ostensibly never heard someone talk about how awesome life is because he's suddenly moved by a speech billionaire media mogul Bill Parrish (Anthony Hopkins) gives his daughter Susan (Claire Forlani). Nonetheless, Death is fascinated and feels the best way to introduce himself to this man is to give Bill a heart attack (he is Death after all). So he gives him one. Once Death has Bill’s undivided attention, Death strikes a deal. In return for Bill getting a few more days with his family, Bill is only required to show Death everything there is to know about living, making him an undead chauffeur.
But in order to successfully do this, Death needs a body. And it involves Brad Pitt.
10 Crazy, Stupid Love
We should probably tell you that Steve Carell is in the film. If you’re a fan of his humor, then you won’t be disappointed. Heck, Dan Fogelman wrote the screenplay with Carell in mind, so it’s a Carell film, through and through.
In the story, Carell isn’t having a good time… at first. He discovers that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), not only cheated on him with—surprise, surprise—Kevin Bacon’s character, David Lindhagen—but now wants a divorce.
Middle-aged and without much experience at being single, Cal seems to have his work cut out for him. But things begin to look up when he crosses paths with a womanizer named Jacob Palmer (you guessed it—Ryan Gosling) who, feeling sorry for this pathetic excuse for a man, takes Cal under his perverted wing by teaching him the ways of seducing women and then throwing them to the curb.
Suffice it to say, the flick is saturated with Cal’s awkward attempts at being a lady’s man.
This movie is so great, it was nominated 11 times and won four. The lovely, lovely Emma Stone, who's in the film, too, snagged three of em. No surprise there.
9 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
There had to be at least one good ole black-and-white film in this list because, dang, they knew how to make movies back then. We chose this specific one because, yup, there’s a ghost involved.
The story revolves around young widow Lucy Muir who moves into a “haunted” house. And whaddaya know! She’s visited by the ghostly apparition of the former owner, a sea captain named Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), you know, the guy from My Fair Lady, another classic flick that almost made it here.
An interesting relationship is born, and of course, conflict, seeing as temptations of the flesh can transcend anything that's Platonic.
Just to give you an idea of how great this movie is, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir made it on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Passions list in 2002, clocking in at #73. It beat The Princess Bride (#88), another well-known classic and also a contender for this spot. But everyone should know how great it is already, and if you don’t, well, then, wow.
8 The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Time Traveler’s Wife stands out for having both a tragic storyline (and ending!) as well as an overall engaging, highly creative plot. It actually gives you something to think about (rather than most chick flicks where there’s nothing of substance to mull over).
From the very beginning, two lovers are faced with what’s assumed to be an everyday dilemma: the archetypal case of “male restlessness” syndrome or the inability to stay with one’s partner. That might sound like every other boring drama out there but there’s a catch: Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) is “leaving” Clare Abshire DeTamble (Rachel McAdams) because he has a quote-on-quote disease where he randomly time-travels, an ability beyond his control. Yes, there’s time traveling (if you didn’t catch it from the title). Thank God the name of the film isn’t some freakin metaphor!
7 Kate & Leopold
If you’re either a perfectionist or your special someone doesn’t want an overtly sad movie, then this film is basically the “happy” equivalent of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Plus, two of the characters are played by Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber who both portrayed two very different characters in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as Wolverine and Victor Creed/Sabretooth, respectively. This is pretty cool to imagine while watching this flick (believe me, this writer has done this).
Kate & Leopold is an upbeat time-travel flick. Liev’s character (Stuart Besser) is from the present and goes back in time to 1876 to obtain information about his great-great-grandfather, who’s, of course, Jackman’s character, Leopold Mountbatten, the Duke of Albany. After finding Stuart in his study, the Duke follows him before accidentally getting transported into today’s world, where he gets involved with Stuart’s ex-girlfriend Kate McKay (Meg Ryan).
Let the awkwardness of meshing 21st-century and 19th-century mannerisms and customs begin!
6 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Just because Jim Carrey is in this film doesn’t mean you’re going to get another Ace Ventura or Liar Liar, because you aren’t. In fact, Carrey’s character is pretty subdued, and the film itself is actually quite depressing. Despite its obvious focus on love, Eternal Sunshine… is extremely (we can’t stress the word extremely enough) unique.
In this very deep and complex movie, Carrey’s character, a secluded man named Joel Barish, gets involved with Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who is anything but. Can anyone say "Sitcom"?
As their relationship grows, so do their problems. And soon, Joel finds his girlfriend making out with another guy… because she literally forgot about him. Apparently, she took part in a program where the memory of a relationship can be erased (there it is! There’s the twist!). Rather than letting it go, Joel undergoes the same procedure... and the process of him losing his memories is illustrated beautifully and in a profoundly innovative way.
Don’t trust us? The film won 34 out of 97 nominations. Time Out New York also ranked it as the third best film of the decade, and Writers Guild of America awarded it Best Original Screenplay as well as putting it in the top 25 on their list of "101 Greatest Screenplays" in 2013 (it’s 24).
Oh, did we mention that Elijah Wood is in the film and plays a disturbing freak? We didn’t? There’s that, too.
5 The Proposal
The title alone seems daunting. Who wants to watch a film about a proposal? Well, we’re happy to inform you that this proposal is a little different because neither party wants to marry. And, no, the parents on both sides weren’t involved... initially. An expired visa is the culprit.
The owner of said visa is boss Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), who, because she’s quite horrible (no, this isn't a jab at the actress), is on the top of her subordinates’ hit lists. After realizing she’s getting deported to Canada, Margaret realizes she can stay in the US if she gets married. Who will do the deed? Her ultimate bitch boy, assistant Andrew Paxton who’s played by Green Lant… err… Deadpo… er… Ryan Reynolds.
Of course, the immigration agent suspects fraud and tells them that if they fail his department’s “love” test, then Margaret will be deported and Andrew will face a hefty fine and a few years in prison. Dang!
Plus, Betty White is in the film. That should be reason enough to watch.
4 The Ugly Truth
First, let’s just open by saying “vibrating panties.”
Let that sink in.
Okay. Now let us begin.
On the one side, we have a woman named Abigail Richter (Katherine Heigl) who’s obsessed with “true love” and romance. And on the other is Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a guy who hosts his own show that’s ostentatiously cynical about love and relationships (complete with a raunchy delivery). Abigail isn’t only forced to work with this guy, but is actually blackmailed into taking “love” advice from him. And one of his tips involves vibrating panties. There they are. Fight!
Because Melissa McCarthy is so awesome, we thought it would be suitable to include a chick flick she stars in. What makes McCarthy even greater than she already is, is that she’s mostly starred in action comedies since her big break after Bridesmaids. Tammy is one of the few that kind of is a romantic comedy.
Luckily, romance doesn’t over-saturate this flick; it’s almost submerged. In fact, before Tammy Banks (Melissa McCarthy) gets her heart broken -- before finding her husband, Greg (Nat Faxon), eating a romantic meal... not the other eating... with their neighbor, Missi (Toni Collette) – she strikes a deer on her way to work, is fired from her job at a fast food joint, steals and contaminates the restaurant's food and has to walk home after her car dies.
After freaking out, Tammy decides to go on a road trip and takes her grandmother's car -- Pearl (Susan Sarandon) -- who convinces Tammy to take her along. Let the journey begin!
There isn’t a hint of romance until the dynamic duo meets Earl Tillman (Gary Cole) and his son Bobby (Mark Duplass) later on.
Plus Tammy likes destroying random things when she’s mad or frustrated. It’s great. She’s great. We love you, McCarthy.
We thank God for this movie because many critics have cited it as being the touchstone for women in comedy. Heck, people have designated the proliferation of films starring female comics, like the wonderful Melissa McCarthy, as the “Bridesmaids” effect.
Even though McCarthy only had a “minor” yet amazing role in Bridesmaids, McCarthy achieved recognition for her role as Megan Price garnering these nominations: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Bridesmaids basically tells a story of jealousy between maid-of-honor Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig) and bridesmaid Miss Richy-McRichpants Helen Harris III (Rose Byrne), who fight over the recognition of bride-to-be Lillian Donovan (Maya Rudolph). Things get territorial. And you know what happens when women get territorial... fun stuff.
1 A Knight’s Tale
Before Heath Ledger’s completely unexpected “acting 180” through his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger’s role as William Thatcher in A Knight’s Tale was his first “wow, I guess Ledger doesn’t wholly suck” movie.
The villain is also great. If you’re a fan of the kind of evil jerk Rufus Sewell portrays in The Illusionist as Crown Prince Leopold (you know, the movie where Edward Norton is a magician), then this is yet another reason to see this film.
The main plot device in this film is, not romance, but the pursuit of glory beyond one’s lowly station. While it later becomes a quest for love, it only comes into the mix later. Before then, enjoy the fight scenes. There’s jousting and sword fighting, galore!
Warning to English Lit Majors: Even though the film is named after Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale", there’s little to no similarities.
Sources: visualhollywood.com, peopleschoice.com, deadline.com, hollywoodreporter.com, rottentomatoes.com
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