Either due to a less-than-desirable screenplay, tensions on the set, or just the wrong pairing of actors, these movie couples had terrible chemistry.
- Sofia Coppola and Andy Garcia’s lack of chemistry drags down The Godfather Part III, with their scenes feeling unnatural and uncomfortable.
- Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem fail to capture the real-life chemistry of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in Being The Ricardos, resulting in a lifeless and cold relationship on screen.
- The romance between Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets feels forced and unconvincing, detracting from the overall film.
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For big Hollywood movies, it is easy to get two attractive people in a room together, but it is much harder to make them a believable couple with real chemistry. For some actors, romantic chemistry comes easy, and they can easily play the love interest of just about anyone, but most need to be paired with the right partner to believably sell the romance. A weak script and poor direction can also lead to a couple’s chemistry being off.
Several of these actors have given great performance, but for whatever reason they failed to communicate realistic romance in these films. In some cases, the movie manages to overcome the bad chemistry and deliver something interesting nonetheless, while other times the bad chemistry completely tanks the movie. Sometimes there is a clear culprit for why the romance isn’t working. But in other situations, it was just the wrong people in the wrong movie.
Related: 10 Popular Movie Couples That Make No Sense
10 Sofia Coppola & Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III)
Despite its less-than-stellar reputation, The Godfather Part III isn’t a terrible film. While not as strong as the first two, or other films by Coppola, the third film in the mafia franchise has a lot to admire. However, the pairing of Sofia Coppola and Andy Garcia does drag the movie down. Sofia Coppola’s performance, while not as bad as it has been made out to be, is out of step with Garcia and the two of them feel like strangers in every scene they have together. To make matters worse, the characters are supposed to be cousins, making the entire relationship less believable and more uncomfortable at the same time.
9 Nicole Kidman & Javier Bardem (Being The Ricardos)
When Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem were announced as the leads for a biopic about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, it was met with extreme backlash, to the point where both leads considered dropping out. While the two would go on to receive Oscar nominations for their roles, the initial backlash turned out to be partially justified as neither was able to convincingly capture the real-life chemistry of the I Love Lucy couple. Being the Ricardos is filled with historical inaccuracies, but its biggest sin is how lifeless and cold the relationship between the two leads is, as both actors are more focused on nailing a voice than having any chemistry with the other.
8 Laurence Olivier & Marilyn Monroe (The Prince & The Showgirl)
Pairing two of the most iconic screen presences of all time in a modern-day spin on Cinderella seems like a recipe for guaranteed success. However, the 1957 rom-com The Prince and the Showgirl proves this theory wrong. Marilyn Monroe could have good chemistry with a wide range of co-stars but not Laurence Olivier apparently, as this period romance is more dull and lifeless than hot and steamy. It’s reasonable to put the blame on Olivier, as he also directed the film, failing to find any sparks between him and his co-star.
7 Cara Delevingne & Dane DeHaan (Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets)
Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has just enough strange visuals and neat ideas to make it almost worth the lengthy runtime and overcrowded story, but only if the central romance was in any way believable. Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan are both attractive people, but their screen personas do not gel at all together, as they often feel like teens in a high school play pretending to be in a relationship, instead of a real couple. For all the strange alien life forms the movie manages to pull off, it is a shame that it can not convincingly portray a romance.
6 Gerard Butler & Emmy Rossum (The Phantom Of The Opera)
The Broadway version of The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most beloved romance stories of all time, so the film adaption had a lot to live up to while casting its leads. Sadly, director Joel Schumacher picked Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, both good actors, but ones who did not go well together. Rossum was 17 at the time of filming, and it shows. While having Christine being younger is an interesting take, it doesn’t match the gruff performance Butler is giving. It also doesn’t help that Butler’s singing capabilities are nowhere near as good as Rossum’s, making the pair seem like actors from two different productions.
Related: The 9 Best Adaptations Of The Phantom Of The Opera
5 Chris Pratt & Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
The Jurassic World films, while being incredibly successful at the box office, failed to recapture the great character moments and dynamics of the original film. Most of the new characters were instantly forgettable, and the central romance between Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard is only notable because of the stars attached. Howard’s character is uptight and business-minded, whereas Pratt’s Owen Grady is rugged and tough, but aside from those basic traits, the actors have nothing to go off of to sell their relationship. This romance is one of the most stale elements of the sequel trilogy.
4 Mark Wahlberg & Zooey Deschanel (The Happening)
15 years after its release, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening is as baffling as it was when it came out. It’s unclear how serious the film, as well as Wahlberg’s character, are meant to be taken, but whatever the case, he and Zooey Deschanel do not make a believable couple. To be fair to both of them, neither Wahlberg nor Deschanel feel like real people throughout the film due to decisionmaking that didn’t make sense, so it’s only natural that their romantic chemistry would be off as a result.
3 Jamie Dornan & Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
The Fifty Shades films had several flaws, but most of them could be forgiven if the romance that drove the stories was strong and worth pulling for. Though Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have proven to be incredible actors who can carry a lot of emotional depth, none of that comes through over the course of the three films, making the sexual intrigue of the series fall flat. Unfortunately, their lack of chemistry becomes increasingly apparent with each installment.
2 Seth MacFarlane & Charlize Theron (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
While Seth MacFarlane can convincingly play a rude teddy bear, a baby who is an evil genius, and a genderless alien, he struggles as a romantic lead. In his western-comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West, MacFarlane plays the underdog hero along with Charlize Theron, but the two fail to make any sparks fly in this nearly two-hour comedy. Theron is a professional when it comes to playing a romantic lead, but MacFarlane just doesn’t have the live-action acting chops to anchor the heart of the movie.
1 Natalie Portman & Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Surprisingly, Thor is the Marvel character who has managed to get the most solo films out during the MCU, as a majority of entries in the franchise spend far too much time on Thor’s romance with scientist Jane Foster. Both Portman and Hemsworth have been charming in other films, but fail to create a spark of any kind in Thor. Even when Portman returned to the series in Thor: Love and Thunder the love aspect just never seemed to click, and the two characters were as bland as they ever were. This series just goes to show that chemistry takes more than just good looks and sheer will.