21 Tropes I Can’t Believe We Let ’00s Movies Get Away With, And 21 I Can’t Get Enough Of

Why was every movie about a journalist named Andie?

Early 2000s movies have a certain magic about them. I mean, I genuinely can’t think of a post-2010 movie I’d watch over and over, but I could watch What a Girl Wants every single day and never get bored.

A part of the “secret sauce” that makes these movies feel unlike anything else is that they tended to reuse the same tropes over and over. While some of these tropes deserve a place in the canon of classic cinema, others…well, they deserve to stay in the past.

Here are 21 ’00s movie tropes we should bring back immediately:

1.

The main character’s most important relationship isn’t a romantic one.


Walt Disney Co. / © Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: What a Girl Wants and Freaky Friday

I miss those “girl power” movies where she’s searching for something other than love (and I love when she still finds romance on the way!).

2.

The female protagonist is considered strong without losing her love of “girly” things.


MGM / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Legally Blonde

Why does it feel as if strong female characters need to reject anything that’s considered “feminine” to be seen as tough these days? Elle Woods was tough as nails and still wore pink every single day. 

3.

The romantic subplot is friends-to-lovers.


Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: 13 Going on 30 and Legally Blonde

It’s very “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift. I feel like we don’t see this kind of relationship as often anymore. 

4.

The main character finds a magical portal to another world.


Buena Vista Pictures / © Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Enchanted and Bridge to Terabithia

Portal fantasies are so fun. Like, who doesn’t dream about finding a whole new world in their wardrobe? 

5.

The lead character magically becomes older or younger.


New Line Cinema / © New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: 17 Again and 13 Going on 30

There are still so many cool twists they could do with this trope, like having an actor parent and child play the same role. Okay, now I need a movie where Eugene and Dan Levy play the same character.

6.

Anne Hathaway becomes a princess.


Buena Vista Pictures / © Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries

It’s what she deserves.

7.

There’s a big musical or dance number.


Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Ella Enchanted and 13 Going on 30

This trope has been revived by a couple of Netflix sitcoms, but imagine if the Knives Out sequel ended with a dance sequence.

8.

The love interest is a musician.


Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: What a Girl Wants and Camp Rock

Can we get Harry Styles to do a rom-com, please?

9.

The movie is a modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play.


Dreamworks / © DreamWorks / Courtesy Everett Collection

As she in: She’s the Man and Motocrossed

An Antony and Cleopatra movie about student government? A modern version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Yes, please!

10.

Book series are turned into epic fantasies.


Walt Disney Co. / © Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Inkheart

I just want the Chronicles of Narnia movie series to continue. 

11.

The movie is based on a Broadway musical (that is not Dear Evan Hansen).


Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Mamma Mia and Legally Blonde

So many amazing musicals have come out recently…maybe I just really want a Six movie.

12.

Campiness is embraced in a fantasy.


Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Stardust (2007) and Ella Enchanted

I’m a little tired of dark, gritty fantasies, à la Game of Thrones. I just want to watch a princess go on a journey to undo a goofy curse and find true love along the way.

13.

One of the leads is a mythical beast who isn’t supposed to exist.


Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com

As seen in: Twilight and Aquamarine

There are so many interesting folktales and myths that the film industry has yet to tap into. There could be a rom-com about a selkie or a teen movie about a faun who enrolls in high school.

14.

The main character helps reunite their mom with her lost love.


Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: What a Girl Wants and Mamma Mia

I love when the main character isn’t the only one who gets a “happily ever after.”

15.

A magical person needs help getting back home.


20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Aquamarine and Enchanted

And then they learn that the meaning of true love is different from what they thought it was. 

16.

Judy Greer plays the main character’s best friend.


Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: 13 Going on 30, 27 Dresses, and Love Happens

It’s a role she was born to play.

17.

The protagonist has to hide a unique secret.


IFC Films / © IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Tuck Everlasting and Penelope (2006)

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen many movies about families who have to hide a spring of eternal life or a girl keeping her pig nose concealed. Every character is a secret witch or vampire these days. 

18.

The movie is actually a parody of a popular genre.


Dimension Films / © Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Scary Movie and Not Another Teen Movie

I miss movies that don’t take themselves too seriosuly.

19.

Things from a book or story start to come to life.


Walt Disney Co. / © Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Bedtime Stories and Inkheart

It’s like the portal fantasy trope reversed!

20.

Taking fate into their own hands, the two love interests find a way to be together when all hope seems lost.


Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The Lake House and Serendipity

All of that dramatic suspense is worth it once they reach their happy ending.

21.

And there’s a scene where the main character wears a beautiful ball gown.


Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: What a Girl Wants, A Cinderella Story, and The Princess Diaries

And the moment when everyone’s eyes are on her — I’m obsessed.

And now, here are 21 ’00s movie tropes that we should definitely leave in the past:

22.

Basically, every main character is thin, white, and straight.


20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: 27 DressesThe Devil Wears Prada, What a Girl Wants, Mean Girls…and basically every other ’00s movie.

These movies played a huge part in so many of our childhoods — imagine how amazing it would’ve been if more of us could have grown up seeing ourselves represented in the characters we loved so much. Future generations deserve that!

23.

The most popular girl in school is also a huge bully.


Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Mean Girls and 13 Going on 30

Regina George is iconic, but she has little depth beyond being a bully. I know that’s the point of the movie, but the trope’s become so overdone at this point. What about a popular girl who befriends the new kid and shows them the ropes? What if the president of the knitting club was the dastardly mastermind for a change?

24.

The protagonist is named Andie.


Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The Devil Wears Prada, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Crush

It’s a great name, but we have enough rom-coms about Andie.

25.

The main character’s rival is injured in a serious accident.


Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

As seen in: Mean Girls and The Devil Wears Prada

Why does she have to suffer physical consequences? Can’t she just, like, be transferred to a new school or office to get her out of the way?

26.

Two women compete against each other instead of working together.


20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Bride WarsThe Devil Wears Prada, and Legally Blonde

I still don’t understand why Emma and Liv in Bride Wars didn’t think of doing a double wedding in the first place.

27.

The titles are, like, violent.


20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Slap Her…She’s French and John Tucker Must Die

Who approved these in the first place?

28.

The lead is involved with Greek life and has to help save their chapter.


Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The House Bunny and Sydney White

There’s so much more to college life than fraternities and sororities. I’d love to see more movies that explore different kinds of on-campus clubs, as Pitch Perfect did.

29.

The protagonist is a journalist.


20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and The Devil Wears Prada

I’ve seen enough movies about journalists falling in love while on assignment to last a lifetime. What about a detective, a dog walker, or an acrobat? Just food for thought.

30.

The movie is done in creepy claymation.


Focus Features / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox

There’s just something…unsettling about these movies. The only exception is The Corpse Bride — case closed.

31.

The story is loosely based on Cinderella.


Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: A Cinderella Story, Another Cinderella Story, and Ella Enchanted

I think the recent adaptation starring Camila Cabello is proof enough that we’ve progressed beyond the need for more Cinderella stories.

32.

Every major romantic movie is adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel.


Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: A Walk to Remember and The Notebook

There are so many other romance authors with new stories to tell.

33.

Every historical drama is set in England.


Focus Features / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) and Becoming Jane

This is not Doctor Who — England is not the center of the universe, so why should every period drama take place there? I mean, even Bridgerton is British. 

34.

Someone leaves their fiancé on their wedding day because they’ve fallen in love with someone else.


Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Bride Wars and The Wedding Planner

I just can’t help but think about how much money they’ve wasted planning the ceremony. Like, they couldn’t break up with their partner before they spent so much on an extravagant wedding?

35.

The main character creates a video to humiliate the bride in an effort to stop the wedding.


20th Century Fox / Via youtube.com

As seen in: 27 Dresses and Bride Wars

We don’t need more movies about women tearing each other down. 

36.

A wealthy man is orphaned, then becomes a superhero after being trapped in a cave for a period of time.


Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Iron Man and Batman Begins

If I had a nickel for every movie that begins like this, I’d have two nickels, but it’s weird that it happened twice, right?

37.

The male lead will do whatever it takes to make the woman he’s attracted to go out with him.


Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

As seen in: 50 First Dates and The Notebook

These relationships were more toxic than romantic.

38.

A “geeky” girl undergoes a transformation to make her look more conventionally attractive — and only then is she able to find love and happiness.


Buena Vista Pictures / Via Disney+

As seen in: The Princess Diaries and Miss Congeniality

If I never see this trope again, it’ll be too soon. 

39.

The main character forces a man to pretend to be her boyfriend.


Walt Disney Co. / © Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The Proposal and Holiday in Handcuffs

I love the whole “fake dating” trope, but only when both people agree to it — without an abuse of power or a threat of violence.

40.

Beloved children’s characters are turned into chaotic live-action movies.


Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: The Cat in the Hat and Scooby-Doo: The Movie 

The only exception is Paddington.

41.

The lead character is the new kid in school.


Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: Wild Child and Mean Girls

It’s just so overdone at this point. Why can’t the kids who are already enrolled be the ones shaking things up for a change?

42.

And finally, the main villain is a gorilla.


Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

As seen in: King Kong (2005) and Planet of the Apes (2001)

The only movie about gorillas I’ve ever enjoyed is Tarzan

Now it’s your turn! Did I call out one of your favorite tropes, or did I miss one you love? Let me know in the comments!

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