If you've seen the ads for "I Don't Know How She Does It" (opening Sept. 16), then you know it's all about Sarah Jessica Parker: Her superstar power is supposed to sell this chick flick about a woman trying to balance her career and her family.
But for every Chick Flick Queen, there's also a king. Parker co-stars with Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, and they're an important part of the puzzle.
In honor of Kinnear and Brosnan and all the other rom-com boys, here's a tribute to the best male performances from recent chick flicks.
Ryan Reynolds in 'The Proposal'
Somebody better call the fire department, because when Ryan Reynolds is on screen with Sandra Bullock, the entire theater is smoking. Reynolds is obscenely handsome, but his swagger is what really makes him sizzle in this movie. Bullock plays his boss, but he's her intellectual and emotional match. Even when they bicker, you can feel the chemistry of two people who are destined to become partners.
Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in 'It's Complicated'
It's a good sign when you want a leading lady to end up with both of the men in her life. As the rivals for Meryl Streep's affection, Baldwin and Martin are basically playing versions of themselves, but since everyone loves them, that's just fine. Baldwin, who plays Streep's remarried ex-husband, is such a devilish cad that he could practically join the Rat Pack, and Martin's widowed architect is all goofy sweetness. No matter which guy she chooses, Streep's character wins.
Chris O'Dowd in 'Bridesmaids'
As good-hearted police officer Nathan Rhodes, O'Dowd is the perfect balance to Kristen Wiig's zany bridesmaid, who almost ruins a wedding with her shenanigans. His laid-back performance makes him seem approachable and sweet, but when there's trouble in paradise, he's believably angry and hurt. That makes Rhodes a real person, instead of a generic "boyfriend," and it adds heart to the movie's gross-out humor. We still don't know why an American cop would have an Irish accent, but we're willing to let that slide.
Colin Firth in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
Renee Zellweger got an Oscar nomination for this fizzy comedy about an everyday British girl who's trying to get her life together, and Hugh Grant got attention as her bad-boy, heartbreaking boss. But over there in a tacky Christmas sweater, gazing at us with soulful eyes, Colin Firth quietly steals the movie. As a shy lawyer named Mark Darcy, he's a gentle gentleman with a passionate heart. Every time he's on screen, the move gets richer and more complex.
Matthew McConaughey in six million movies
For the last 10 years, McConaughey has been the King of All Chick Flicks. Some of those movies are charming ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days") and some of them are worse than a kick in the face ("Fool's Gold"), but they all celebrate his surfer-dude charm. It's not easy to seem so effortless on screen, so McConaughey deserves credit for becoming America's greatest boyfriend.
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Mark Blankenship is on Twitter as @CritCondition