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The Worst On-Screen Chemistry Couples Ever

8 min read

By ActiveBeat Author

Some stars have some serious chemistry on-screen while others fizzle right before our eyes! Casting directors usually order screen tests to ensure that actors and actresses have the right amount of chemistry to convince viewers that the relationships are authentic. Unfortunately, they sometimes fail! We have compiled a list of 22 onscreen couples that have absolutely no on-screen chemistry!

22. Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in “Cowboys and Aliens”

Cowboys and Aliens was not a particularly good movie. The mix of genres and the poor writing definitely resulted in a less-than-impressive film overall. The on-screen chemistry between Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde was also incredibly disappointing. Considering that both of these stars ooze sexuality, the chemistry between them seemed forced. Perhaps screen tests aren’t always accurate…

Zade Rosenthal/©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

21. Keiko Agena and Todd Lowe in “Gilmore Girls”

Lane never got the storylines that she deserved on Gilmore Girls, so it really shouldn’t have been that surprising that she ended up with a guy she shared zero chemistry with. She and Zack were terrible together and their shared storyline was unfortunate, especially for Lane. Not only does she end up with the wrong guy, she got pregnant the first time they had sex. That meant she was stuck with him for good – bad chemistry and all!

Neil Jacobs / ©Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

20. Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in “Star Wars”

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen’s chemistry in the Star Wars trilogy was completely unconvincing. It could be attributed to the poor dialogue in the movie but, whatever the case, these two acting as an on-screen couple left a lot to be desired. Ironically these two were rumored to have dated around the same time period! We hope their chemistry off-screen was better than it was on-screen!

Copyright 2002 Lucasfilm Ltd., courtesy Everett Collection

19. Mischa Barton and Benjamin McKenzie in “The O.C.”

The romance between Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) and Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) was a central storyline on The O.C. Unfortunately, the chemistry relationship between these two was totally unconvincing. Maybe it was Barton’s stiff acting that was to blame but, putting all blame aside, these two did not pass as teenagers in love.

© WB / Courtesy: Everett Collection

18. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” Franchise

Considering that Fifty Shades of Grey is supposed to be all about the chemistry between Christian and Anastasia, one would think they would think that the actors portraying the characters would need a lot of chemistry, but that clearly wasn’t the case. Even during a hot sex scene, these two still couldn’t muster up any passion, and it only got worse with each film.

Doane Gregory/© Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

17. Christian Bale and Katie Holmes in “Batman Begins”

In Batman Begins, the romance between Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) is definitely stilted and Bale and Holmes have absolutely no chemistry. Maggie Gyllenhaal took over the role of Rachel Dawes in the sequel and the difference between her and Holmes is astounding. Now Gyllenhaal and Bale have way more chemistry…

(c) Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

16. Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight in “Grey’s Anatomy”

Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight’s characters Izzie and George are considered one of Grey’s Anatomy’s worst couples. While fans were really excited when the two characters began pursuing a relationship together, once they finally got together, it was just plain awkward. These two had no passion, which made their relationship torture for the viewers who had to watch it.

Gale Adler / © ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

15. Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough in “Safe Haven”

Nicholas Parks’ films are all about romance and Safe Haven is no exception! Unfortunately, the relationship between Katie (Julianne Hogh) and Alex (Josh Duhamel) fell flat. It doesn’t help that the movie was over the top and came off more as a soap opera that was an hour too long.

James Bridges/©Relativity Media/courtesy Everett Collection

14. Daniel Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright in “Harry Potter”

The relationship between Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ginny Weasely (Bonnie Wright) leaves a lot to be desired! There are no sparks between these two. We much prefer the relationship between Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Now Radcliffe and Emma Watson have way more chemistry!

©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

13. K.J. Apa and Camila Mendes in “Riverdale”

When it comes to Archie and Veronica’s relationship on Riverdale, it feels like the show is pushing them on us, hence all of the gratuitous sex scenes. What the show doesn’t realize is that the viewers want more Jughead and Betty. At least they have chemistry. Archie and Veronica, on the other, are seriously lacking in that department.

Katie Yu / ©The CW Network / Courtesy Everett Collection

12. Mila Kunis and Wilmer Valderrama in “That ‘70s Show”

On That ‘70s Show, Jackie had great chemistry with Kelso and Hyde, but her chemistry with Fez left a lot to be desired. Sure, he had a huge crush on her for most of the series, but that didn’t mean they should date. It felt like the writers had run out of ideas when they threw these two together and fans really deserved better.

© 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved, Courtesy: Everett Collection

11. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in “Gigli”

In hindsight, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez had a rather awkward romance off-screen. On red carpets, he always looked tremendously uncomfortable with her while she seemed completely oblivious to his discomfort. On-screen, they didn’t have much chemistry either. Maybe it was the writing or maybe it was just the fact that the two just couldn’t feign any chemistry. Whatever it was, these two were terrible together on-screen.

GIGLI, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, 2003, (

10. Sarah Michelle Geller and Marc Blucas in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Buffy and Angel had such an intense chemistry that even her relationship with Spike came off as tepid by comparison, but her worst relationship by far was the one she had with Riley in season four and season five. Sure, he was really good looking, but he was so dull in comparison to Angel and their relationship just seemed forced.

Copyright (c)20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

9. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the “Twilight” Franchise

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were dating while filming the Twilight movies, but they still weren’t a very convincing couple on-screen. Maybe it was because they were so awkward off-screen that this ended up being conveyed on-screen – who knows! Their characters were supposed to having an epic romance and Stewart and Pattinson’s acting just was persuading us to buy it.

Press Association

8. Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff in “Sons of Anarchy”

Despite having a rich history together, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Tara (Maggie Siff) from Sons of Anarchy do not have a lot of chemistry.  The passion between the two is almost nonexistent and, considering that they were childhood sweethearts, we would think it would be a more compelling romance.

Prashant Gupta/©FX Networks/courtesy Everett Collection

7. Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in “The New Girl”

Although the creator of New Girl views the growing relationship between Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) as organic, we see the relationship as a bit contrived. Although the cast went through chemistry tests to secure their roles, we don’t believe that there is a lot of chemistry between Deschanel and Johnson. Zooey’s chemistry with Joseph Gordon-Levitt is way more apparent!

Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

6. Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc in “Friends”

The brief relationship between Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) on Friends was a little far-fetched. The two characters have less than nothing in common and the chemistry between Aniston and LeBlanc was non-existent. It makes sense that their characters went back to being friends because a romantic relationship would never have worked in the long run.

©Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

5. Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders in “How I Met Your Mother”

Barnie (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) played a married couple on How I Met Your Mother; however, their relationship didn’t come off as convincing. While Harris had chemistry with loads of other ladies who came on the show, he didn’t have any with Smulders. We expected a bit more from these two!

Richard Cartwright / ©CBS / courtesy Everett Collection

 4. Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor Johnson in “Anna Karenina”

Considering that Anna Karenina is about a passionate love affair between the married Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) and Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor Johnson), this film adaptation falls flat. These two actors are incredibly talented, so the lack of chemistry was definitely a surprise (not to mention a disappointment). We really like Knightley and Johnson — just not as lovers!\

Laurie Sparham/©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

3. Sarah Jessica Parker and Mikhail Baryshnikov in “Sex and the City”

Carrie Bradshaw had two epic romances on Sex and the city – one with Mr. Big and the other with Aidan. Her relationships with Jack Berger and Alexander Petrovsky paled in comparison. While Berger and Carrie didn’t have a lot of chemistry, her relationship with Petrovsky had even less – and she moved to Paris for him! Carrie and Petrovsky had the kind of relationship that should have fizzled after one date. How it managed to go for so many episodes is mind-boggling.

© HBO / Courtesy: Everett Collection

2. Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in “The Great Gatsby”

The Great Gatsby is centered around the ill-fated love affair between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, but the chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan was undetectable in this adaptation. When it comes to Hollywood actors and actresses, DiCaprio and Mulligan are la crème de la crème, so we are a bit confused as to what happened!

©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

1. Katie Holmes and James Van Der Beek in “Dawson’s Creek”

Dawson and Joey were the couple we were supposed to root for on Dawson’s Creek. From season one on, writers were planning on having them end up together in the end, but no one really liked them as a couple. There was no passion between them and no playfulness either. When they were together, they spent their time navel-gazing. She always belonged with Pacey. Now those two had chemistry!

Guy D’Alema / ©Columbia TriStar Television/courtesy Everett Collection

ActiveBeat Author




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