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

·11 min read

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.

Warner Bros. Pictures / Via giphy.com

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.

MGM Distribution Co. / Via giphy.com

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

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

Tess, in her daughter's body, warns Anna to behave

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!).

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

2.The female protagonist is considered strong without losing her love of "girly" things.

Elle Woods wears her signature color and sparkles in the courtroom

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.

MGM / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.The romantic subplot is friends-to-lovers.

Jenna and Matty cuddling on the couch

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.

Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.The main character finds a magical portal to another world.

Gisella finds a portal to New York City

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?

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

5.The lead character magically becomes older or younger.

Mike finds himself a teenager again

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.

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

6.Anne Hathaway becomes a princess.

Princess Mia Thermopolis

As seen in: Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries

It's what she deserves.

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

7.There's a big musical or dance number.

Jenna leads a "Thriller" dance

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.

Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.The love interest is a musician.

Ian sings at Daphne's debutante ball

As seen in: What a Girl Wants and Camp Rock

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

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

9.The movie is a modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play.

Viola is disguised as her brother on the soccer field

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!

Dreamworks / © DreamWorks / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Book series are turned into epic fantasies.

King Peter fights for Narnia

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

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

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

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

Sophie sings from her alcony

As seen in: Mamma Mia and Legally Blonde

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

Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Campiness is embraced in a fantasy.

Tristian and Lamia battle with their magic wands

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.

Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Bella tells Edward she knows he's a vampire

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.

Summit Entertainment / Via youtube.com

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

Daphne's parents reuinite

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."

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

15.A magical person needs help getting back home.

Aquamarine is a mermaid

As seen in: Aquamarine and Enchanted

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

20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Judy Greer plays the main character's best friend.

Lucy and Jenna stare down the street

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

It's a role she was born to play.

Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

17.The protagonist has to hide a unique secret.

Penelope stays in her room so no one else sees her pig nose

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.

IFC Films / © IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

18.The movie is actually a parody of a popular genre.

The monster sneaks up on Brenda

As seen in: Scary Movie and Not Another Teen Movie

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

Dimension Films / © Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

The gumballs from Skeeter's story rain down on him in real life

As seen in: Bedtime Stories and Inkheart

It's like the portal fantasy trope reversed!

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

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

Alex and Kate finally meet

As seen in: The Lake House and Serendipity

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

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

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

Andie enters the dance wearing a ballgown and a mask

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.

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

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.

Jane tries on one of her 27 dresses

As seen in: 27 Dresses, The 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!

20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Regina George

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?

Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

24.The protagonist is named Andie.

Andie tries on an expensive necklace

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.

Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Regina George post-bus accident

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?

Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

26.Two women compete against each other instead of working together.

Emma and Liv glare at each other in their wedding dresses

As seen in: Bride Wars, The 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.

20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

27.The titles are, like, violent.

The girls peer inside John's house

As seen in: Slap Her...She's French and John Tucker Must Die

Who approved these in the first place?

20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Shelley dances with the Zetas

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.

Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

29.The protagonist is a journalist.

Andie is at her desk

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.

20thcentfox / © 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

30.The movie is done in creepy claymation.

Coraline and her other mother

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.

Focus Features / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

31.The story is loosely based on Cinderella.

Sam dances with Austin

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.

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

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

Landon and Jamie cuddle

As seen in: A Walk to Remember and The Notebook

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

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

33.Every historical drama is set in England.

Anne goes to meet the king

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.

Focus Features / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Steve walks Fran to a taxi in her wedding dress

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?

Columbia Pictures / © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Jane shows a slideshow of Tess eating wings

As seen in: 27 Dresses and Bride Wars

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

20th Century Fox / Via youtube.com

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

Tony tests out his new Iron Man arm

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?

Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

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

Henry forces Lucy to relive her trauma in hopes she'll remember him

As seen in: 50 First Dates and The Notebook

These relationships were more toxic than romantic.

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

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.

Mia undergoes a makeover, losing her glasses and curly hair

As seen in: The Princess Diaries and Miss Congeniality

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

Buena Vista Pictures / Via Disney+

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

Margaret introduces her assistant as her fiancé

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.

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

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

The cat in the hat balances books and milk in one hand

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

The only exception is Paddington.

Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

41.The lead character is the new kid in school.

An unimpressed Poppy shows up at her new boarding school

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?

Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

42.And finally, the main villain is a gorilla.

King King is eye to eye with Ann

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

The only movie about gorillas I've ever enjoyed is Tarzan.

Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

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!