15 Movies That Made US Cringe Hard in the Early 2000s

The Happening

The early 2000s offered a range of movies spanning from artsy masterpieces to blockbuster hits. However, with successful movies also came a collection of underwhelming films with dull scripts, subpar performances, and questionable plotlines. We rounded up some of these in our list of 15 of the most cringe-worthy movies from the early 2000s.

1. The Last Airbender (2010)

The Last Airbender (2010) Nicola Peltz Beckham
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The Last Airbender was a highly anticipated live-action version of a beloved animated TV show. However, as some live-action adaptations of animation go, this film just completely missed the mark and let a lot of fans down.

2. Dragonball Evolution (2009)

Dragonball Evolution
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Dragonball Evolution was another live-action adaptation that flopped. While the cast was great, and the movie itself could have gone far, the writing was cheesy, and the budget brought it down. 

3. Gigli (2003) 

Image Credit: Mel Bouzad.

Gigli tells the story of a low-level mobster, Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck), who is assigned to kidnap the mentally challenged brother of a federal prosecutor. However, things take a bizarre turn when Gigli falls in love with a quirky, free-spirited woman named Ricki (Jennifer Lopez).

The film's weak dialogue, lackluster performances, and the lack of chemistry between the two leads, who were literally a couple in real life, contributed to its reputation as one of the worst movies of the early 2000s.

4. Catwoman (2004)

Image of actress Halle Berry
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Catwoman follows the transformation of Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) into the iconic DC Comics anti-heroine. After gaining cat-like powers, she seeks revenge against a corrupt cosmetics company. Despite being a DC superhero film, it was a critical and commercial failure.

The script was amateurish, the action sequences were underwhelming, and many found Halle Berry's portrayal of Catwoman to be questionable at best. This one's a guilty pleasure watch of mine. It's so bad, it's good.

5. Glitter (2001)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Glitter centers around Billie Frank (Mariah Carey), a talented young singer who rises to stardom in the 1980s music scene. The film chronicles her struggles with fame, personal relationships, and substance abuse.

However, its weak storyline, poor acting, and lack of chemistry between characters resulted in a disastrous reception, making it a prime example of a failed musical drama despite casting a tremendous musical talent.

6. The Happening (2008)

the happening movie
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

The Happening presents a scenario where a mysterious toxin in the air causes people to commit suicide. As a high school science teacher (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife (Zooey Deschanel) attempt to flee, they confront the chilling reality of an environmental disaster.

Despite the potential of its premise, the film suffered from laughably cringeworthy dialogue, a silly execution, and a very jarring performance from Wahlberg. The entire film elicits an uncanny valley feeling that is hard to shake. This is a far cry from Shyamalan's best work in The Sixth Sense.

7. Elektra (2005)

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Elektra is a spin-off from the film Daredevil, focusing on the titular assassin (Jennifer Garner). Tasked with protecting a young girl from a mystical organization, Elektra faces her demons and battles supernatural foes.

However, the film's messy plot, weak characterization, and uninspired action sequences failed to capture the essence of the beloved comic book character and felt more like a B-movie.

8. Disaster Movie (2008)

Disaster Movie Nicole Parker
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Disaster Movie attempts to spoof various disaster films but falls flat in its execution. The film strings together a series of pop culture references, crude humor, and slapstick gags without offering substantial comedic value. Its lack of wit, originality, and coherent storytelling resulted in a critical and commercial failure.

9. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures/Sony Releasing.

In Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, the hapless male gigolo Deuce Bigalow (Rob Schneider) finds himself in Amsterdam, where he becomes entangled in a murder mystery involving fellow gigolos. The film's reliance on crude humor, lowbrow stereotypes, and a weak storyline failed to capture the charm of its predecessor, making it one of the worst movies of the early 2000s.

9. I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures.

I Know Who Killed Me follows a young woman named Aubrey Fleming (Lindsay Lohan) who mysteriously disappears and is later found alive but claims to be someone else. As she unravels the truth behind her abduction, the film delves into dark themes of identity and violence. However, the movie tried to patch up a convoluted plot with excessive violence and the star power of Lohan. The film quickly started to feel like it was going off the rails, and Lohan's performance was widely criticized.

10. Son of the Mask (2005)

son of mask
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Son of the Mask is a sequel to the 1994 film The Mask. The story revolves around Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy), an aspiring cartoonist who discovers a magical mask that grants him extraordinary powers. However, chaos ensues when his newborn son gets ahold of the mask. For several glaring reasons, this movie earned its infamous reputation as one of the worst films.

The film fails to live up to the magic and charm of its predecessor, leaving fans of the original feeling disappointed and let down. The weak script offers little in terms of engaging storytelling or clever humor, relying on tired gags and slapstick comedy that fall flat. It also suffers from poor execution, with subpar visual effects that lack the polish and creativity seen in the original. 

12. The Cat in the Hat (2003)

cat in the hat
Image Credit: Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures.

Based on the beloved children's book by Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat brings the mischievous feline (Mike Myers) to life. The film follows two children as they embark on an adventure with the Cat, who wreaks havoc in their home.

Despite its colorful visuals, the film was heavily criticized for straying from the source material, relying on crude humor, and lacking the charm and whimsy of the original book. The film was such an inappropriate disaster that Dr. Seuss' widow, who is in charge of his estate, has since decided she won't allow any more live adaptations to be made of Dr. Seuss' work.

13. Honey (2003)

Image Credit: Universal Studios.

Honey centers around Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba), a young dancer who dreams of making it big in the music video industry. As she navigates the challenges of pursuing her passion, she also finds love and fights against exploitation. However, the film is stiff and predictable with its clichéd characters and formulaic approach to the dance genre.

14. You Got Served (2004)

Image from the movie You Got Served
Image Credit: Screen Gems, Inc.

You Got Served follows a group of talented street dancers as they participate in underground dance competitions. The film showcases their rivalries, personal struggles, and a quest for redemption. Despite its flashy dance sequences and energetic performances, You Got Served ultimately stumbled as a film. The weak acting, formulaic plot, predictable tropes, and lack of depth made the movie a total flop.

15. From Justin to Kelly (2003)

from justin to kelly
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Maybe watching From Justin to Kelly now feels more like watching a live time capsule of the early 2000s, but it wasn't met with great reviews when the film first came out. After her Season 1 American Idol win, Kelly Clarkson starred alongside Justin Guarini, in this interesting movie musical. 

The film encompasses everything that was cool about the early 2000s: Spring Break in Florida, skateboarding, and baby tees. This movie musical is full of dance numbers and songs, but that doesn't make it great.