Prince Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy (Idina Menzel) in Enchanted
What is a “disposable fiancé” (or fiancée)? Look to Enchanted for the perfect example: Edward and Nancy are both totally fine — nice, even! — but they’re not the romantic-comedy love interests of the film.
Bob Kelly (Christopher Meloni) in Runaway Bride
Bob was the latest of Maggie’s (Julia Roberts) left-at-the-altar beaus, but we all knew she would end up with Richard Gere in the end.
Darryl (Eriq La Salle) in Coming to America
Though Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem also had a girl waiting for him back home, the real disposable fiancé was Darryl, Lisa’s (Shari Headley) boyfriend-turned-fiancé.
Greg (Finn Wittrock) in La La Land
Greg was totally fine, if a bit stiff. He wasn’t a fiancé (just a boyfriend of a few months), but he still filled that narrative purpose.
Wendy (Lynn Collins) in 13 Going on 30
When Jenna (Jennifer Garner) skipped forward to age 30, her former best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) was engaged to a perfectly nice-seeming meteorologist who was moving with him to Chicago.
Jeff King (Alec Baldwin) in Notting Hill
Baldwin made an uncredited cameo as Anna’s (Julia Roberts) American movie-star boyfriend.
Bruce (Ralph Bellamy) in His Girl Friday
Poor Ralph Bellamy lost his fiancée not once, but twice to Cary Grant — first as a bland insurance man engaged to a star reporter (Rosalind Russell)…
Dan (Ralph Bellamy) in The Awful Truth
…and then as “Oklahoma” Dan Lesson, who gets engaged to a woman (Irene Dunne) who’s still not over the man she’s divorcing.
Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker) in Bringing Up Baby
This time, it’s the woman being left: Cary Grant’s character is engaged to the dour Alice Swallow. Three guesses who he ends up with after he meets a free-spirited woman played by Katherine Hepburn.
Richard (James Marsden) in Superman Returns
Fellow frequent runner-up James Marsden played Richard White, the nephew of The Daily Planet’s editor-in-chief and fiancé to Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth).
Lon Hammond Jr. (James Marsden) in The Notebook
Marsden was yet again second place, but who can blame Rachel McAdams for going with Ryan Gosling?
Walter (Bill Pullman) in Sleepless in Seattle
Meg Ryan begins the movie engaged to Walter but senses there’s something missing in the relationship. (Spoiler alert: It’s him not being Tom Hanks.)
John Jameson (Daniel Gillies) in Spider-Man 2
Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) was engaged to an actual astornaut (the first man to play football on the moon!), who also happened to be the son of The Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief, but she ran away in her wedding dress to be with Spidey (Tobey Maguire).
Patricia Eden (Parker Posey) in You’ve Got Mail
Patricia was with Joe “NY152” Fox (Tom Hanks) while he was emailing Kathleen “Shopgirl” Kelly (Meg Ryan) — and it was Patricia’s idea to get Kathleen writing children’s books.
Frank Navasky (Greg Kinnear) in You’ve Got Mail
Kathleen, meanwhile, was living with Frank, a nice but underwhelming writer.
Richard (Billy Campbell) in Ghost Town
Ricky Gervais played a dentist who can see ghosts, and who falls in love with an Egyptologist (Téa Leoni) engaged to a human-rights lawyer (Campbell).
Leonard Samson (Ty Burrell) in The Incredible Hulk
Leonard began dating Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) while Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) was away trying to get a cure for his “condition.”
Colin (Kevin McKidd) in Made of Honor
He was a bona fide Scottish lord, and he still lost out in the end.
Lara Tyler (Alice Eve) in The Decoy Bride
Lara Tyler is an American movie star engaged to a famous novelist (David Tennant) for the wrong reasons.
Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott) in Leap Year
Instead of waiting for her cardiologist boyfriend (played by Scott) to propose, Anna Brady (Amy Adams) decided to take matters into her own hands. Turned out he only decided to get married to help them get into an apartment building.
Inez (Rachel McAdams) in Midnight in Paris
Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is engaged to Inez, but he falls for a Picasso muse (Marion Cotillard) after being transported back to the 1920s, and later ends up with a Parisian blonde (Léa Seydoux).
Andrew (Callum Blue) in Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement
Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) needed to get married in order to become queen, and Andrew would be a perfect husband. If only they weren’t so bland together.
Richard (Josh Grobon) in Crazy, Stupid, Love
Richard doesn’t actually propose when his girlfriend, Hannah (Emma Stone), graduates from law school, which sends her straight to Ryan Gosling’s perfectly toned abs.
Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) in Sweet Home Alabama
Andrew orchestrated a picture-perfect romantic proposal at Tiffany & Co., and his mother was the mayor of New York. Total marriage material!
Fran Donolly (Bridgette Wilson) in The Wedding Planner
Every woman’s nightmare: your fiancé (Matthew McConaughey) falling in love with your wedding planner (Jennifer Lopez).
Glenn Guilia (Matthew Glave) in The Wedding Singer
Disposable fiancés come in two flavors: bland nice guy and cheating jerk. Glenn falls in the latter category.
Sack Lodge (Bradley Cooper) in Wedding Crashers
Sack also falls into the latter category — he reveals he’s cheating on Rachel McAdams’ character.
Henrietta (Anna Chancellor) in Four Weddings and a Funeral
Hugh Grant makes it as far as the altar with Henrietta before realizing he wants to be with Andie MacDowell.
Baroness von Schrader (Eleanor Parker) in The Sound of Music
The Baroness, engaged to the Captain (Christopher Plummer) before the nanny (Julie Andrews) swept in, was glamorous and funny, and maybe also a Nazi sympathizer.
Ben (Rafe Spall) in What If…
Chantry’s (Zoe Kazan) long-term boyfriend worked for the U.N., but he was no Daniel Radcliffe.
Natasha (Embeth Davidtz) in Bridget Jones’s Diary
So stiff! So formal! Darcy’s (Colin Firth) law-colleague-turned-fiancée has none of Bridget’s (Renée Zellweger) spark.