Toast for the douche bags? In the immortal words of Cher Horowitz, as if!
Why do rom-coms always foil the charming romantic lead with a terrible, entitled buffoon who somehow always manages to (at least initially) win the affections of the film’s clever female protagonist? We're beyond tired of this trope, and we decided it was high-time to put these douches in their place.
After conducting a casual office poll, we’ve compiled (and ranked) the biggest offenders the rom-com game—from the harmless jocks to the most genuinely awful d-bags onscreen.
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Who is the biggest rom-com jerk of them all? Here are our findings:
14. John Tucker (John Tucker Must Die)
John Tucker is basically Daniel Cleaver lite (see below). He’s only in high school, but he’s on his way to becoming a grade-A douche. Charming, handsome, great at covering his tracks while he dates four different girls at once— he’s truly the model ex-boyfriend. Remember, for every John Tucker, there’s the other Tucker (his quietly handsome bro, Penn Badgley—or someone like him).
13. Guy Perkins (Never Been Kissed)
This deep-V obsessed Casanova is pretty mild as far as rom-com douches are concerned. Sure, he occasionally compares women to dogs and asks Josie if she’s in the special ed program—but real talk, Josie is 25-years-old and accepting the romantic advances of a 17-year-old. Honestly not sure which is worse.
12. Warner Huntington III (Legally Blonde)
Warner is a high-level douche bag. He underestimates Elle and generally acts holier than thou, relying on his precious admission to Harvard Law School—what, like it’s hard? Surface level charming but slimy AF, he manages to beguile not one but two powerful women. Not cool. However, it must be acknowledged that Warner’s douchebaggery is not without its positive results—without him, Elle might never have found her passion for the law.
11. Josh Bryant (Princess Diaries)
Josh Bryant conforms to the one-dimensional popular douche trope far too easily—there was clearly no effort put into developing his character. However, that doesn’t excuse his behavior.
Princess Mia, desperate for attention from her crush, falls for his shady advances. As ill advised as this is, it throws his douchiness into sharp relief. When Mia’s meet-up with Josh somehow turns into an embarrassing run-in with the paparazzi, it’s hard not to scream “Told ya so!” at the TV—but ah, young love. Shame on you, Josh.
10. Elton (Clueless)
Elton is super dreamy—until he opens his mouth. On the surface, he seems nothing more than an entitled teen with daddy issues, but honestly, that’s how the Brock Turners of the world got their start, so we’re not going to let that fly.
After leading poor Tai on for weeks, he puts the moves on her bestie, Cher (alone in a car that he basically forced her to ride in), who rebuffs his advances one too many times before he gets the message. Between unwelcome come-ons, Elton puts his charm on display, yelling, “Don’t you even know who my father is?!” Cool move.
9. Daniel Cleaver (Bridget Jones’s Diary)
Bridget Jones’s Diary is a great movie (and an even better book). For one, it’s set in England—who doesn’t love a good UK-based tale? Plus, the cast is killer (Hugh Grant and Collin Firth can fight over me any time they’d like). More than that, though, I think the appeal of the series and film franchise lies in its universality—i.e. we’ve all fallen for a Daniel Cleaver. You know, the charming, power-hungry pathological liar type… Cleaver (played by the incredibly well-suited Hugh Grant), is the classic douche bag. He flirts with Bridget (HIS EMPLOYEE) by drawing attention (VIA EMAIL) to the length of her skirt, all the while carrying on with his mistress-cum-fiancée, Lara. His douchebaggery is pretty textbook—none of Daniel’s moves are unexpected, but they’re nonetheless infuriating. He loses points for unoriginality, but I think we can all agree he’s still a prime d-bag.
8. Ted (Bridesmaids)
Jon Hamm's sports car driving, commitment-phobic pig of a Bridesmaids character is the most overt douche bag of the bunch—and likely any bunch, ever. His screen time is minimal, but he truly makes the most of every second. He gets the ball rolling by rudely booting Kristen Wiig’s character (whom he’s sleeping with) from his home: “Wow, this is so awkward. I really want you to leave, but I don’t know how to say it without sounding like a dick.” He then tops himself by slyly requesting a sexual favor when he picks her up in said sports car: “You look tired. If you’re tired, you can totally lay down in my lap. Take a little lap nap.” Eww. But also, JON HAMM. It’s complicated.
7. Sack Lodge (Wedding Crashers)
It’s personally very difficult for me to call Bradley Cooper a douche bag, but his Wedding Crashers character 100 percent deserves the title. First off, his name is Sack. To boot, Mr. Lodge is emotionally and verbally abusive to his girlfriend, Claire (Rachel McAdams), and calls her “kid” (*cringe*). Plus, he’s generally unlikeable and has a habit of sprinkling unexpected threats into casual conversation—you got a f***ing problem with that??
6. Joey Donner (10 Things I Hate About You)
Joey Donner radiates douchiness in every fiber of his being. How he could ever field competition from the adorable teenage Joseph Gordon-Levitt is beyond me.
5. Billy Christianson (Romy and Michele's High School Reunion)
Once a douche, ALWAYS A DOUCHE. Billy Christiensen was cruel to Romy in high school, but unlike many of the lovelorn women in these films, Romy doesn’t fall back under his spell when they reunite. She recognizes him for precisely what and who he is: a loser. Instead, she exacts her revenge, asking him to strip and wait for her in his hotel room but never arriving. You go, girl!
4. Robbie Gould (Dirty Dancing)
Robbie is the douchebag you never saw coming. He cheats on Baby’s sister (she warned her, but still), gets Penny pregnant and refuses to pay for her abortion/have anything to do with her, plus he’s just generally a jerk and a really terrible foil to the brave, kind-hearted Johnny (the late Patrick Swayze). Choice quotes from the charming Robbie include: “I didn't blow a summer hauling toasted bagels just to bail out some little chick who probably balled every guy in the place.” Class personified.
3. Dean Sampson, Jr. (She’s All That)
Dean Sampson Jr. is one of the worst kinds of douche bags—he pits women against each other for his own amusement and sabotages his best friend for the sake of a bet. OH, and the kicker: He legit tries to take advantage of the film’s heroine; she only escapes his advances because of a conveniently located air horn. The worst!
2. Glenn Guglia (The Wedding Singer)
Thinking back on this gem of an Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore rom-com, I’m struck by a deep, deep repulsion for Julia’s (Barrymore) former fiancé, Glenn Guglia. Though the film was released nearly twenty years ago now, I’m still troubled by a description this certified d-bag employs to comment on a woman’s body: “grade-A top choice meat.” This phrase truly haunts me, and is of course made even more revolting when you consider that he’s engaged to a character played by Drew Barrymore (who’s nicer than Drew Barrymore?!). A braggart douche is even worse than a classic A-hole. Zero points for you, Glenn Guglia.
1. Cal Hockley (Titanic)
THIS GUY IS THE ACTUAL WORST. Selfish, pretentious, abusive, controlling, and downright villainous, Cal proves himself the douchiest of them all in the ’97 classic. Granted, he’s the only one on this list to face a legitimate life-or-death situation, but somehow I can’t imagine even Glenn Guglia behaving in such a selfish manner.