20 Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon)

It might not look like it, but we're romantics at heart.
20 Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon)

In true rom-com fashion, we have an ongoing witty banter thing going on with romantic comedies. We love the genre, but at the same timeugh… it just creeps us out with its slimy, borderline criminality. Plus, it’s been 20 years and we still haven’t forgiven it for how awful How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days was. That being said, our active disdain for the sketchiness of the genre does not preclude us from also liking some of its most common ideas. Thus, we thought we might take a look at some tired tropes of the genre that can still make us swoon. And speaking of swooning…

Alright, we’re gonna be real with the warning here: this article is pure, distilled fluff. No classic Cracked edginess here, just lovely tropes to make us all warm and fuzzy inside. So as a counterbalance to all the sweetness that’s coming, we’re dropping a bitter truth bomb and we don’t care what the PC police says. Oh yeah, Cracked is going to trigger some snowflakes over here. Alright, here we go, ready? No rom-com will ever surpass When Harry Met Sally – YEAH, WE SAID IT. Although Working Girl and Brown Sugar are super underrated. And Before Sunset is even better than Before Sunrise. And Chasing Amy’s dialogues are unparalleled even if its sexual politics are messed up. And Harold and Maude is a timeless masterpiece – alright, whatever, bring on the tropes!

Meet Cute

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) 40 The meet cute Meet cutes are a structural pillar of the rom-com, like the final fight in action movies. The meet cute scene in Trainwreck had a few good jokes, but the one between Silver Linings Playbook's two highly imperfect characters was just perfect. Who knew comparing psychiatric meds could be romantic? I CRACKED.COM

Multiple Stories

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Multiple intertwining stories We love rom-coms that manage to juggle several stories at the same time - it's like getting multiple movies for the price of one. Love Actually totally pulled this off-it might have aged badly, but it's still miles better than American knock-offs. An even better example? Crazy, Stupid, Love. CRACKED.COM MERRY

Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Acknowledged

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Acknowledging the manic pixie dream girl Initially just quirky and innocuous, the manic pixie dream girl became kind of toxic. Curiously, the (often misinterpreted) movie that started it all, 500 Days of Summer, already exposed the trope as an unfair, dehumanizing male fantasy. CRACKED.COM


Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Silent acknowledgement We love witty banter, but sometimes all that is needed is the silent acknowledgement of attraction. Destination Wedding was already getting a bit too mean and cynica, but then its last scene gave it just the amount of hopeful sweetness it needed. CRACKED.COM

Secondary Romance

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Romance can be secondary A smart rom-com can still have its explicit romance play second fiddle to the movie's actual emotional core, like in / Love You, Man. In Bridesmaids we're rooting for Kristen Wiig and Chris O'Dowd, but the driving dramatic force is her friendship with Maya Rudolph. (That and the dangers of food poisoning.) CRACKED.COM

Player in Love

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) The player falls in love Players need not be hurtful douchebags, but they do cause distrust in their partners - right before they actually fall madly in love. Hitch was a below average rom-com trying to pull this trope off, but Crazy, Stupid, Love actually did it. CRACKED.COM


Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Raunchy humor Rom-coms can be all sweet and brainy and classy, but there's always room for a poop joke or two. Our favorite contemporary examples include Bridesmaids (of course), but also Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and, well, the classic Judd Apatow entries, mainly Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. CRACKED.COM

Turning Tables

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Turning the tables A chases B-but when В reciprocates, they have screwed up so that A loses interest. Bad Teacher's Cameron Diaz wanting to hang out with Jason Segel after having hooking up with slimy Justin Timberlake (and being rejected because, well, slimy Justin Timberlake) is a great example of this trope. CRACKED.COM

Reverse 'Pretty Woman'

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Reverse Pretty Woman A strong, successful woman falling in love with a down-on-his-luck guy was the gimmick of 2019's Long Shot, which explicitly references the Julia Roberts classic. And it's a fairly good movie - too bad that it totally fizzles out by the end. CRACKED.COM

Cool Parents

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) The parents get it Parents in rom-coms are usually either doofuses or antagonistic forces, but when they just get it and support the main characters, it can rock too. See Emma Stone's parents in Easy А, or for an even better example, Timothée Chalamet's talk with his dad by the end of Call Me by Your Name. CRACKED.COM

Falling In Love

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) The falling-in-love montage Promising Young Woman (that was a rom-com, right?) totally pulled off this trope, with several scenes of the two lead characters falling in love to the tune of Paris Hilton's (damn good song) Stars are Blind. CRACKED.COM


Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Mature decisions If unexplainable, erratic decisions are the scourge of dumb Netflix rom-coms, characters able to make mature decisions and build on romances turning sour are our kink. This was an important element of La La Land's third act, which did not make us cry. CRACKED.COM

Exposing Lies

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) The big lie Big lies being shockingly exposed before the third act amp up the drama and provide an great excuse for the final reconciliation. The absolute classic Easy A was built on a big, scarlet-lettered lie-well, that and Emma Stone's impeccable comedic timing. CRACKED.COM

More Than Eye Candy

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) #? ich de the Maycol The soulful hottie Hot characters in rom-coms used to be just eye candy. Having subverted that, we're still reeling from Cameron Diaz listening to metal and smoking weed in Bad Teacher-and while The Lost City is bland and formulaic, we really enjoyed Channing Tatum's himbo starting dumb and then showing heart and depth. CRACKED.COM

Friends to Lovers

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) From friends to lovers Friends that fall for each other can still drive a solid rom-com. It's pretty much the entire plot of Love, Rosie and Always Be My Maybe, but it also features prominently in one of the best romantic dramas of recent times, Silver Linings Playbook. CRACKED.COM

First Kiss

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) GREETINGS - 1 سدار السيد - The first kiss. Our couple has had their meet-cute, has exchanged the banter, has built the sexual attraction. Now comes the first kiss. Our favorite contemporary examples appear in 500 Days of Summer, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and The Girl Next Door. And while Moonlight isn't a rom-com (not at all), its first kiss scene was astonishing. CRACKED.COM


Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) You FEA لا Stop Ca THE HT Ex trouble A twist on the old love triangle, rom-coms can still benefit from the ex returning to pursue the protagonist and/or wreak havoc trope. Hell, Scott Pilgrim had to fight evil exes, and the worst one was still his own ex, wonderfully played by Brie Larson. CRACKED.COM


Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Pushing the envelope Rom-coms with non-normative couples have a long history, and now they're going mainstream. We're big fans of Imagine Me & You, Love, Simon, and The Incredible Jessica James, but also, the upcoming Bros looks particularly fun. CRACKED.COM

Love Declarations

Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) The third-act declaration of love. Our leading man realizes he screwed up and declares his love. It has been subverted in Trainwreck (where she apologizes to him), Imagine Me & You and Happiest Season (where she apologizes to her), but our favorite recent example is Palm Springs (where the romance itself becomes trivial in light of her actual goals). CRACKED.COM


Tired Rom-Com Tropes (That Still Make Us Swoon) Awkwardness Snappy banter can be fun, but no one talks like that, let alone teens. So we really enjoyed the clumsy awkwardness in Love, Simon and To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Also Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far from Home (which we're making honorary rom-coms). CRACKED.COM
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