6 Popular Rom-Coms That Are Actually Too Creepy For Our Comfort

6 Popular Rom-Coms That Are Actually Too Creepy For Our Comfort
Image credit: 20th Century Studios, MGM, Netflix

Double it and give it to the next person.

Rom-coms often paint charming pictures of romance and happily ever afters, but beneath the surface of some of these seemingly delightful movies is a layer of unease that often goes unnoticed.

Here are 6 popular romantic comedies that, if you look closely, have creepy undertones that might make you think twice about dreaming of having what their characters have.

365 Days (2020)

Often criticized for its graphic content, this controversial Polish film seems to try to pass off stalking and assault as romance. The plot revolves around a powerful gangster, Massimo, portrayed by Michele Morrone, who kidnaps a woman named Laura, portrayed by Anna-Maria Sieklucka, and gives her 365 days to fall in love with him.

6 Popular Rom-Coms That Are Actually Too Creepy For Our Comfort - image 1

While the movie tries to romanticize the situation, adding a good amount of money to Massimo's bank account and the tension between the characters, it's important to remember that kidnapping and manipulation are not the building blocks of a healthy relationship, neither in the fictional nor the real world.

There's Something About Mary (1998)

While this comedy has become a classic in its own right, it's hard to overlook the level of creepiness lurking in the background. Starring Ben Stiller as bumbling protagonist Ted, the film centers on the obsessive pursuit of his high school crush Mary, played by Cameron Diaz.

Years later, after an unfortunate mishap on the night of his prom date with Mary, Ted's longing to reunite with Mary leads him to enlist the help of private investigator Pat Healy, played by Matt Dillon. However, things take a disturbing turn when Pat begins to gather intimate details about Mary in an attempt to manipulate her into a relationship.

Poor Mary unknowingly finds herself at the center of this bizarre romantic competition, being stalked by two men at once and ending up with one of them.

This Means War (2012)

On the surface, This Means War may seem like a lighthearted spy romantic comedy, but when you dig deeper, the premise becomes questionable. Two CIA operatives, played by Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, who also happen to be best friends, engage in a rather invasive competition to win the heart of Reese Witherspoon's Lauren, who remains oblivious to their tactics.

The idea of two men using their spying skills and equipment to manipulate and outwit each other for a woman's affection doesn't exactly scream healthy romantic comedy. While it's all in the name of comedy and entertainment, the real-life consequences of such actions, like bugging someone's house and invading their privacy to win their heart, are undeniably creepy.

50 Shades of Grey (2015)

This adaptation of the infamous 50 Shades book series is known for its explicit content, but it also romanticizes a deeply disturbing, unhealthy power dynamic between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, whose relationship is filled with control, manipulation, and elements of BDSM. To begin with, Christian Grey's controlling and possessive behavior raises serious concerns, particularly in the context of informed consent and boundaries.

Furthermore, Christian's restrictions on discussing their activities with others and his monopolization of Ana's learning about the lifestyle are far from the principles of a safe and consensual BDSM dynamic because they blur the line between consent and manipulation.

Passengers (2016)

While Passengers combines elements of romance and science fiction, it's hard to ignore the eerie undertones of its plot. The film follows two passengers on a spaceship, Jim Preston and Aurora Lane, portrayed by two major Hollywood stars, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, who awaken from their hibernation pods 90 years early with no way to return to sleep or communicate with the ship's crew.

The film's central ethical dilemma arises when Jim, feeling isolated and desperate, makes the controversial decision to awaken Aurora to alleviate his own loneliness, even though it means she will spend the rest of her life on the spaceship. This act sets the stage for a complex and morally challenging narrative that pushes the boundaries of consent in a life-altering scenario.

Overboard (1987)

While Overboard is a cult classic of the '80s romance genre, it features a plot that, when viewed through the lens of real life, can be more disturbing than romantic. It all begins when a wealthy but unkind woman, Joanna Stayton, portrayed by Goldie Hawn, suffers a head injury and experiences amnesia after falling off her extravagant yacht.

That's when Kurt Russell's Dean Proffitt, a widowed carpenter, steps in and claims to be her husband. What makes this story so troubling is Dean's approach: instead of choosing ethical or legal routes, he capitalizes on Joanna's amnesia by manipulating her into believing she's his wife and the mother of his children, effectively tricking her into a life she didn't choose.