Top 10 Most Unforgivable Rom-Com Betrayals
VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb
WRITTEN BY: Catherine Neal
These rom-com betrayals are beyond unforgivable. For this list, we'll be looking at the biggest, most painful stabs in the back from the romantic comedy canon. Our countdown includes "27 Dresses," "Bride Wars," "Juno," and more!
Top 10 Most Unforgivable Betrayals in Rom-Coms
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Unforgivable Betrayals in Romcoms.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the biggest, most painful stabs in the back from the romantic comedy canon. There are few shockers ahead, so consider this your spoiler warning.
Which betrayal would you struggle to forgive? Let us know in the comments!
#10: The Article
“27 Dresses” (2008)
In this Katherine Heigl rom-com, James Marsden’s Kevin is commissioned to write an article for Jane’s sister’s wedding. Jane loves the journalist’s work, but hates his cynical attitude. He’s attracted to her, but bemused by her long-suffering bridesmaid persona. They begin to hit it off when he encourages her to let her hair down for a fun photo session. She assumes this is all off the record, but it goes straight into a mortifying front-page article. The pair grow closer, before Kevin’s indiscretion is revealed. It’s the worst possible timing for both of them, and a punch to the gut for Jane. Kevin knew that the piece would hurt her, yet he still put her in that position.
#9: John Dates Girls From Different Cliques
“John Tucker Must Die” (2006)
American high school movies are all about the cliques. The popular kids, drama geeks, and nerds famously do not mix. In “John Tucker Must Die,” teen heartthrob John Tucker finds a way to work that system to his advantage. He dates girls from different social groups, so that they never find out about each other. Because why would the head cheerleader be talking to the smart perfectionist, or the vegan activist girl? When the truth comes out in gym class, his three girlfriends are understandably furious. Not only have they been cheated on, they’ve been played. His behavior is pretty slimy, to say the least. So the girls hatch a plan, and he ultimately learns some lessons about honesty.
“Bride Wars” (2009)
Ditching your best friend for a guy is one thing. But destroying a lifetime of friendship over a wedding? That’s a new low. “Bride Wars” tells the story of long-time best friends, Emma and Liv. They’ve both got their heart set on their dream wedding venue, but there’s only one date available. The ensuing war of wills is petty and totally unnecessary. It’s not really about the Plaza in June. It’s about Emma finally standing up for herself. But there’s got to be a better way to do it. The betrayals come thick and fast and the girls go straight for the jugular, each using the other’s deepest secrets to devastating effect. Could their friendship ever really be the same after this?
#7: Rachel & Dex
“Something Borrowed” (2011)
Kate Hudson makes a great rom-com villain, but whether we like her character Darcy or not, she’s also the victim in this scenario. The best friend and the boyfriend is an enduring trope in romantic movies. But there’s nothing romantic about it. If the dream guy is prepared to cheat on his fiancée with her prospective maid of honor, he’s not exactly setting the best precedent for a relationship. Darcy might be the absolute worst, but she puts her trust in Rachel and Rachel throws it back in her face – metaphorically of course. What she actually does is sneak around behind her back. The final moments suggest that Rachel and Dex are meant to be together - but do the ends really justify the means?
#6: Nobody Puts the Mistress in the Closet
“He's Just Not That Into You” (2009)
As with most ensemble cast movies, “He’s Just Not That Into You” has some storylines we’d like to forget about. Bradley Cooper plays Ben, husband to Jennifer Connelly’s Janine. But he begins an affair with Scarlett Johansson’s character, Anna. This obviously puts a strain on his marriage, and in an attempt to reconnect, his wife turns up at his office. The problem is, he’s just had his mistress in there with him. What happens next is a shocker. The character manages to betray both women at once by making the inexplicable choice to get intimate with Janine while Anna is hiding in the closet. It’s weak, disrespectful, and pretty dark behavior. Despite sharing some characteristics with old-fashioned farce, it’s possibly the least funny scene ever.
#5: Gerry Cheats on Helen
“Sliding Doors” (1998)
Speaking of cheaters, who could forget Gerry from “Sliding Doors?” His girlfriend, Helen, was happy to go out to work and support him, so he could ‘write his book.’ But he spent his free time entertaining an ex-girlfriend. The movie is split into two parallel realities - in one, Helen makes her train, which means she also catches Gerry in the act. In the other, she’s too late. But the near miss doesn’t stop him from continuing the affair, and the truth comes out in the end. Gerry’s betrayal is all the worse because he doesn’t even seem to like Lydia very much. He lies to both women, gaslights Helen, and spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. What is wrong with this man?
#4: Greg Hides the Letter
“Love, Rosie” (2014)
“Love, Rosie” tells the story of childhood friends, Rosie and Alex. We know that they’re destined to be together, but the timing always seems to be off. Following a messy breakup in his life and the death of Rosie’s father, Alex takes his chance and finally pours out his feelings on paper. It seems like this could be their moment at last. But Rosie doesn’t get the letter. Her husband, Greg, finds Alex’s message, reads it, and stashes it away. He’s jealous, and with good reason. But there’s no excuse for lying to his wife and removing her ability to make her own choice. It’s a terrible betrayal - Greg knows he can’t make her happy, and he won’t let Alex try.
#3: The Bribe
“10 Things I Hate About You” (1999)
We may love the late Heath Ledger’s Patrick Verona, but we have to admit he messed up. Patrick starts pursuing Kat Stratford when her horrible ex, Joey, offers him money to take her out. If Kat starts dating, her sister Bianca can too. It’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, remember? Patrick genuinely falls for Kat, but he doesn’t tell her the whole truth, and doesn’t stop taking the money. For Kat, this is the ultimate betrayal. She let herself trust him, and all the time he was lying to her. What’s worse, the scheme was largely orchestrated by Joey, who’s the reason Kat started putting up walls in the first place. She chooses to forgive Patrick, but he’s definitely got some groveling to do.
#2: A Grown Man Hits on a Teenage Surrogate
Rom-coms from the aughts tend to be a lot darker than their nineties counterparts, and “Juno” throws up some really serious themes. The central character is a pregnant teenager who decides to give up her baby for adoption. She finds a suitable duo of prospective parents, with a lovely mom, Vanessa, and a dad, Mark, who she gets along great with. Everything appears perfect, until Mark starts to get a bit too friendly. A grown, married man hitting on a teenager is creepy enough. But the added ick is that he’s jeopardizing both the baby’s future and his wife’s chance to get the child she’s been longing for. Thankfully, Vanessa adopts the baby in the end and Mark ends up alone, which serves him right!
#1: The Necklace & the Joni Mitchell CD
“Love Actually” (2003)
Infidelity and heartbreak are not what we typically like to see in our holiday films. But Emma Thompson’s immaculate acting as Karen in that one “Love Actually” scene has turned it into a must-see movie moment. Alan Rickman plays her husband Harry, who thoughtlessly enters into an affair with a woman from work. When she discovers a necklace in his things, she thinks it’s her Christmas gift. But when the present giving comes around, she unearths his sordid little secret. After taking a moment to get herself together as her life falls apart, Karen takes stock of what this betrayal really means, powerfully summing it up. He’s broken her heart for no good reason, and he’s not nearly sorry enough.