Hey lovebirds, it’s National Kissing Day today! You don’t need to buy a card or flowers, just plant your lips on a spouse, friend or compliant stranger and get smooching.
Of course even a simple kiss can go awry, particularly if there’s not a spark between the involved parties. Here are 10 of the most awkward screen kisses which are sure to kill the mood. Get ready for a severe lack of chemistry and more than one instance of (admittedly fiction) incest.
Click the movie titles for clips of the offending scenes!
10) High School Musical 3 – Zac Efron & Vanessa Hudgens
You’d think that actors who are going out with each other would be able to bring some of that chemistry to the screen. But the consummation of Troy Barns and Gabriella Montez’s previously chaste relationship is a damp squib. Although Disney has about as much sex in its movies as it does sensitive portrayals of ethnic minorities.
9) Wild Things – Denise Richards & Neve Campbell
If you like the idea of seeing two young starlets awkwardly necking in a pool as Kevin Spacey videos it from the bushes, then Wild Things will disappoint. Because its Kevin Spacey isn’t in this movie. It’s Kevin Bacon. But the lack of actual engagement between the kissers he’s voyeuristically observing is supremely obvious, and even a sultry, saxophone-laden soundtrack can’t disguise the fact that neither party is into it.
8) Gone with the Wind – Clark Gable & Vivien Lee
There’s an awful lot of woman-grabbing in this sprawling, kinda boring classic, and Clark Gable’s roguish hero isn’t afraid of grappling with his heroine and asserting his moustachioed dominance. Modern audiences would be a little bit wary of any scene in which a man holds a lady close to his face, commanding her to kiss him, only to dismiss her coldly further down the line. But that’s what onscreen romance looked like over 70 years ago; a little bit rapey.
7) Dude Where’s My Car? – Seann William Scott & Ashton Kutcher
You’ve got to admire the pluck of the two young leads, who pull up alongside romance novel model Fabio at a set of traffic lights and then compete with him for no good reason other than to set up a same-sex kiss. Kutcher and Scott give it their all and seem surprisingly willing, but it’s played for laughs and ends up feeling a bit cheap.
6) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Emma Watson & Rupert Grint
It might not be incest, but watching Ron and Hermione make out sure feels like it. Both the plot of the film and the real world relationship between the actors involved makes this kiss wretch-worthy.
5) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher
Incest caused by ignorance is forgivable, but it’s retrospectively weird to see Princess Leia planting an open-mouthed smacker on Luke Skywalker even if it’s an act that occurs long before they learn that they’re brother and sister. The awkwardness intensifies when you realise they’re being watched by a jealous smuggler, an eight foot space monkey and a golden robot butler.
4) Back to the Future – Michael J Fox & Lea Thompson
Leading the way for weird incest in a mainstream movie is Back to the Future, in which Marty McFly gets to have a go on his mum’s face at least a decade before he was even born. It’s the kind of thing Oedipus might have done if he’d had access to a time machine/not been imaginary.
3) Ghost – Patrick Swayze & Demi Moore
The crowning act of ridiculousness in this supernatural romance movie is the kiss shared by the corporeal Moore and the spectral Swayze just before he saunters off into the afterlife. It might have worked better if they’d just covered him in a sheet and actually put him in the scene, but instead his translucent, shimmering form is overlaid on a shot of her puckering up to nothing but air.
2) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – Viggo Mortensen & Liv Tyler
Not an awful kiss per se, but the image of Mortensen slightly opening his mouth to reveal the tip of his pink, wet tongue before he clashes with Tyler is truly unpleasant. Combined with the fantasy setting, the beard and the gathered crowd of onlookers, this twirling, hungry ritual is thoroughly off-putting.
1) Spider-Man - Tobey Maguire & Kirsten Dunst
On paper it sounds appropriate for a genetically modified teen to play tonsil tennis with his beloved while suspended from a sticky wrist mixture in the rain. Actually it doesn’t, but Sam Raimi must have thought that it would work when he forced the Tobester and Dunsty to enact this fantasy. Aside from the logistics of executing the kiss, imagine how the blood rushing to Maguire’s head must have made him feel? It’s the kind of oxygen-deprived asphyxi-wank death pose that all stars dread being caught in the midst of.