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Movie Love Scenes That Were Ruined By Bad Acting

Let's face it, acting in a love scene is hard. Actors and actresses are forced to share an intimate moment with a person that they likely don't actually have any romantic feelings for. On top of that, they're aware that an entire audience will be watching them in rapt silence as they try to fake one of the most personal and often embarrassing human emotions.

Despite this difficulty, almost every good story needs a bit of romance; unfortunately, for every successful kiss atop a Ferris wheel, bridge or rooftop, there are about a dozen botched moments when the stars simply couldn't make the scene work — with the end result usually being nothing more than a woefully uncomfortable mess. 

Whether it's hammy dialogue, lack of chemistry between the stars, or just plain bad acting, there's no shortage of movie love scenes that fell flat for the viewers and made movies simply unwatchable. While bad acting can ruin just about any scene in a movie, we can all agree it's particularly painful when it rears its ugly head during a tender moment. In that spirit, here's a rundown of some of the most memorable movie love scenes ruined by bad acting.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in 'Gigli'

Widely considered one of the worst movies of the modern era, Gigli has not improved with age — a failure made all the more disappointing since the chemistry between the two leads should have been a no-brainer, given that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez got engaged after hitting it off on the set.

Unfortunately, there's something decidedly unromantic about an amoral, slack-jawed wannabe mobster trying to convert a lesbian. The characters spend a majority of the movie at odds with an occasional wink of attraction here and there, and when the time comes to finally have the characters make love, it's neither a tender moment of passion nor a steamy floodgate-opening romp in the sheets.

Instead, audiences were treated to the now-infamous line "Turkey time, gobble, gobble" line from a very sultry-yet-cringy Lopez. As if that wasn't bad enough, Affleck's one and only approach to his character can be summarized as "be bemused by her at all times." Both would go on to make more bad movies, but thanks to "turkey time," Gigli remains their worst by a comfortable margin. 

Tommy Wiseau and Juliette Danielle in 'The Room'

There's a lot of bad acting in The Room, writer-director-star Tommy Wiseau's infamous fever dream of a movie. The sex scene is just the tip of the iceberg, but it's worth mentioning because it's embarrassingly, unnecessarily long — and it's used twice in the film. In a 2012 Reddit AMA, actress Juliette Danielle shed some light on why it lasted for so long.

"Of course they were uncomfortable... but those were scenes pretty standard compared to how they are usually done on a set," Danielle recalled. "The only difference is that Tommy used ALL the footage... rather than whittling it down to a short sequence like most do."

In the Room-inspired retrospective book The Disaster Artist, Wiseau is quoted as saying "I have to show my ass or this movie won't sell," which explains the long close-up shots of his backside. He must have really loved the scene because, as mentioned, it comes up again later in the movie. Savvy fans spotted footage used from the first lovemaking scene in a different one later on that, to put it mildly, is simply baffling. 

While the choices behind the camera were head-scratchers, the most crippling problem is the star's insistence that these characters have sexual or romantic chemistry despite doing nothing to illustrate that. This choice put the weight of their romance on the duo's acting — and they quickly buckled under the pressure.

Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman in 'Watchmen'

When Watchmen crimefighters Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II find themselves older, more out of shape and slower than they were in their salad days, they go for a night out on the town stopping crime that ultimately culminates in a slow, agonizing sex scene in Nite Owl's high-tech plane, set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

The moment is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, with moments like her accidentally pressing the flamethrower button in a moment of passion. However, there are some technical issues. First of all, the moment in question completely breaks up the action of the movie and feels totally out of place in an otherwise fast-moving and dramatic film. The movie isn't really about superheroes doing superhero work, but the second the audience gets a bit of that, this scene starts — and doesn't seem to end for a long time. Second, and arguably more importantly, the actors didn't have any visible chemistry. 

Director Zack Snyder told MTV that the scene was difficult to shoot because the duo is friends in real life. Perhaps as a result, you get a romance scene that feels completely foreign — to the movie that it's in as well as the characters being portrayed. While there's obviously some nuance at play when it comes to the comedic aspects, the comedy doesn't cancel out the awkward in the way the film needs it to.

Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman in 'Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones'

The second installment of George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy has a great many problems, but Attack of the Clones' most crippling issue might be the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. The two actors are given nothing but awkward and clunky dialogue devoid of any real emotion or meaning. Couple that with the fact that they're working against a completely green-screen environment, and you get a total and complete lack of chemistry. "I am haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me" is a real thing someone says to another human being in this movie.

A lot of films have bad love stories, but Anakin's romance with Padme is not only supposed to be what this movie hangs its hat on, it's the single greatest factor toward him becoming Darth Vader and setting off the chain of events that make up one of the most popular franchises of all time. Again, a lot can be blamed on the script, but when making a film that has your characters literally sequester themselves from the action to build chemistry and heat, you need to actually be able to build chemistry and heat. What ends up onscreen is just a sleepy-looking rendition of Shakespeare in the park.

Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl in 'The Ugly Truth'

The Ugly Truth finds Katherine Heigl acting opposite Scottish heartthrob Gerard Butler, the latter of whom is playing to absolutely none of his strengths as the piggish male lead that turns out to be a sensitive guy in the end. He's ditched the accent (strike one) to play a chauvinistic TV commentator who spends most of the movie talking about sex in the most unsubtle and cringeworthy ways — and while that seems like a criticism for the writers, Butler clearly had the wrong idea for what his character should be from the get-go. In 2009, he spoke with MTV about the film's raunchy undertones, musing, "I think it's a movie for guys. I think it's more of a sex comedy than a romantic comedy."

In the end, she's supposed to fall for him in a romantic hot air balloon interlude, despite him showing no signs of being anything but a brash and unapologetically perverted misogynist. As a result, both actors are playing grossly unlikable characters that have no reason for getting together at the end of the movie other than the fact that the poster says they're going to. Butler was right in that this isn't a romantic comedy, but it's not a sex comedy either. Perhaps Rolling Stone got it best when they deemed it "sexist swill."

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1'

By the time the fourth Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, hit theaters, stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart had started to publicly distance themselves from their teen roles while still actively playing them. This was perhaps most evident in Bella and Edward's first sex scene as husband and wife. It's a charged moment that sees him break the bed with his superhuman strength and desire to feed on the blood of his blushing new bride. As if that's not awkward enough, the actors were clearly having trouble keeping the steamy sex scene under the banner of a PG-13 rating. 

"It's just trying to think of inventive ways to make something sexy. It can't just be a normal sex scene. It's supposed to be about, like, the greatest vampire sex you've ever had," Pattinson said (via Us Weekly). Stewart echoed those sentiments, telling Harper's Bazaar in 2015 that the scene was "agony." 

"It had to be transcendent and otherworldly, inhuman, better sex than you can possibly ever imagine," she pointed out. "We were like, 'How do we live up to that?'"

Short answer? They didn't.

Dane Cook and Jessica Alba in 'Good Luck Chuck'

At the height of his career, comedian Dane Cook was cast in a handful of romantic comedies... despite having limited acting experience and capabilities. This is perhaps most evident in Good Luck Chuck, in which he plays a man who realizes women magically meet their soulmates right after they have sex with him.

Enter Jessica Alba's Cam Wexler, a clumsy manic pixie dream girl who quickly has chemistry with Cook's character because they're numbers one and two on the call sheet. To her credit, Alba didn't seem to expect cinematic magic once the cameras started rolling. "It's porn! It wasn't supposed to be like that," she told Elle regarding the atmosphere on set. "But every day when I was done, I ran away. I was like, 'Bye.' As long as they didn't disrespect me, I could give a rat's butt."

When the time came for Alba and Cook's characters to finally do the deed, the result was an odd sequence when they crash around her apartment breaking a bunch of stuff, including some walls. Reinforcing her comments about the movie, it's all about him manhandling her and was clearly included to avoid any real romance. While it's meant to be a play on her clumsiness, the scene just plays out like a violent fight. 

Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson in 'From Justin to Kelly'

Admittedly, these two never wanted to be actors, nor did they ever claim to be. Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini were contractually obligated to be in From Justin to Kelly after coming in first and second on the first season of American Idol. Be that as it may, they still went before the cameras... and their love scenes rank among the more painful parts of a truly dire film.

Clarkson, who went on to superstardom, will be the first to tell people that she wasn't on board from the get-go. "I just didn't believe in it, first of all," she told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm not a beach blanket-movie kind of girl. And I didn't want it to deter or ruin any chance of me being able to go down the path I actually auditioned for on Idol."

The "love scenes" in this movie were mostly staged as long, drawn-out ballads sung by people who had no interest in doing anything but recording off-camera in a recording studio — let alone feigning a romance with one another. Regardless, the duo forged ahead and did what they were asked to do. The end result was a film that the Razzies dismissed as the "'Worst Musical' Of Our First 25 Years."

Billy Baldwin and Sharon Stone in 'Sliver'

Sliver is a thriller that, thanks to a pretty graphic sex scene and some adult subject matter, almost received an NC-17 rating, which would have crippled it at the box office. Some hasty recutting saved it from the wrath of the MPAA, but it wasn't enough to deliver a film worth watching.

This is an example of a sex scene that was almost too real for it to be anything but hard to watch. When Sharon Stone's character begins a hot and heavy sexual relationship with Billy Baldwin's character — one of the many creepy guys in her building — they engage in a very long, drawn-out romantic scene that sees them practically undressing in real time. Everything from their passionate kissing to hot-and-heavy coupling is shown in unapologetic close-up, and lingers on the actors for several beats longer than necessary.

The entire film struggled with Stone's evident disinterest in playing the role of someone lured into the psychosexual dynamics of her partner rather than being the aggressor she so expertly played in other roles. She's giving it her all during the scene in question, however — it's Baldwin who seems totally checked out. That reversal of mood, coupled with the way this very graphic scene was shot, makes for a viewing experience as painful as the movie's title.

Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen in 'Swimfan'

Even setting aside the baffling logistics of having sex in the deep end of a pool, there's a lot that's simply not working during Swimfan's heated hookup scene. The movie follows a high school jock (Jesse Bradford) who cheats on his sweetheart with the wrong girl (Erika Christensen). Most of the story deals with the fallout from the sex scene in question, but it's perhaps the weakest part of an already struggling movie. While Christensen is doing exactly what you'd expect from a high school femme fatale, Bradford's presence is sorely lacking.

Things culminate in a moment when she tells him to say he loves her, even if he doesn't mean it. While she's acting like a temptress and seducing the guy she wants for a torrid affair, he's acting like a bumbling meathead that may as well be saying "duhhhh" the entire time. While the movie was never destined for Oscar glory, it's still jarring to see one person bringing intensity and chemistry and another coming up completely short. In another movie it might not be as noticeable, but Swimfan really hangs its hat on this one moment — and it isn't even sturdy enough to support the tiniest pair of swim trunks.