Whenever my boyfriend gets mad at me, he grumbles “Stop being such a Debbie.” He’s referring, in case you didn’t quite get it, to Leslie Mann’s snippy housewife character in Knocked Up. She nags, she picks, she’s never happy. And her dysfunctional relationship with the hilariously bumbling Paul Rudd was so terrifyingly relatable, they got their own spin-off flick This is 40. This recently-released rom-com is awash with the archetypal flaws of the genre, and has the bad reviews to prove it. But no matter how much you curse the first-world problems of Judd Apatow’s characters, the truth is: we’ve all been there. We’ve all pestered a partner to some extent, or hoped they’d change, and we’ve all dealt with feelings of looming heartbreak or near-breakups. We’ve also all certainly wondered from time to time whether we’re on the right path when it comes to matters of the heart (if not, what’s wrong with you?).
Tragic, even fatal romance is the making of many a film plot, but such heartache tends to verge on the overly-dramatic, sentimental or just downright fictitious. There’s nothing wrong with that of course – otherwise why would we have films in the first place? – but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the everyday humdrum in life, and in love. We’re narcissistic beings, and from time to time we like to see our own conundrums mirrored in popular culture (this is the era of Girls, after all).
And so, whilst the cupid-clad greeting cards are beginning to emerge ominously in your local newsagent, here are Portable’s favorite dysfunctional relationships in film. They’ll make you feel a little better about your own petty rows and marathon bust-ups, or otherwise give you full bragging rights to relish in your singledom. And most importantly, because they are the most realistic of portrayals, they serve as wholehearted guidance towards your own romantic endeavours. We hope you can heed this advice when the love woes surface (but if not, don’t worry; it’s not you, it’s me).