While a lot of main characters get the girl in the end, sometimes it’s hard to tell if they’re really the best dating option of a movie. Here’s a list of six friends and partners who are just as dateable (if not more) than their paired-off counterparts.
Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Save Ferris? Save Cameron, his best friend who gets roped into joining in on a day of Chicago sightseeing despite actually being sick. While Ferris and Sloan are the film’s hot couple, Cameron acts as the perfect third wheel — following them, acting as a friend to both of them and never letting on about how single he feels. Unlike Ferris, Cameron has an overwhelming sense of responsibility, devotion to his friends and appreciation of classical art. He also has quite a complex when it comes to his unseen father’s disinterest in him and Ferris’ threats to find a new best friend, but if anything that makes him more relatable (how many of us have sat in our cars, debating whether to go out with a friend or not?). Yes, we all rather be a free-spirited Ferris, but wouldn’t you rather date a trustworthy, everyman like Cameron?
Sergeant “Roadie” Rhodes (Terrance Bridges, Don Cheadle) from the Iron Man series
Yes, Tony Stark has the brains, charm, humor, bravery and money that makes us all adore the iron-clad Avenger. But he also has Pepper Potts, his own “girl Friday” who backs him up and sometimes even saves the day. Stark’s army pal Sergeant “Roadie” Rhodes, however, is single and has a suit and wit of his own, as well as a lot more regard for the rules and duties asked of his Iron Patriot persona. Just watch how he tries to get Stark under control when the playboy-millionaire-philanthropist gets a little soused in his suit. He might not be an Avenger, but he certainly is an all-American superhero with whom we’d like to share a slice of apple pie.
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
It’s hard to imagine Johnny Depp as a third wheel, but even as the main character in the Pirates of the Caribbean series he’s the one who always seems to watch his friends hook up. With Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan together since childhood and (ex-girlfriend? Crewmate? Business partner?) Anna Maria only wanting one thing — a new boat — Jack is the elusive “main character third wheel.” Not only does he have suave charm and Depp’s looks, but also the savvy to get out of trouble. Once you get past the drinking, run-ins with the law and supernatural entrapments that make up his foibles, he’s an even better catch than Orlando Bloom’s blacksmith-turned-pirate.
Gale (Liam Hemsworth) from The Hunger Games series
He may want to be with Katniss, but in the glaring spotlight of the Capitol, he’s not just a third wheel to the District 12 love saga but a nuisance, having to take on the role of her “cousin” to avoid any scandal. Meanwhile, his devotion to overthrowing the government and concern for his best friend’s wellbeing is paramount to a personality that sometimes overshadows romantic rival Peeta. Even before Katniss’ name is drawn, he wants to change the world around him — or at least the world he and Katniss have to live in. As it turns out, he’s also one of the more proactive characters, which means there’s more reasons he’s attractive than simply being played by Thor’s little brother.
Mark (Andrew Lincoln) from Love, Actually
What’s worse than “the total agony of being in love?” Being in love with your best friend’s wife. Shortly after Peter and Juliet’s wedding, the groom’s best friend, Mark, has to hide his love for the bride, finally cracking by showing up at her door on Christmas Eve with make-your-heart-weep-for-the-romance-of-it-all queue cards. It might not be a realistic gesture, but it does show that the art gallery owner has his own creative impulses and isn’t afraid to act on them. In the end, his friendship with Peter remains tight, which means Mark will need someone to make those double date nights a little less awkward. And when you’re done dining in London, hit rural Atlanta to do some zombie slaying.
Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) from National Treasure
One of the greatest mysteries of the National Treasure series is not what lies in the catacombs of Boston or what treasure maps hide in the Declaration of Independence. Instead, what everyone wants to know is why Riley Poole is still single. Riley is far more dateable than leading character Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage), having a wickeder sense of humor, more computer whiz know-how and a pair of blue eyes that can’t be contained behind smart-guy glasses. Abigail can have Ben and his warring parents — Riley is a much finer treasure.
Did we miss any? Leave your favorite third wheel character in the comments!
Kate Everson is Chicago journalist and University of Missouri alumna. By day she is an associate editor for four HR industry magazines. By night, she reviews films, outlines fiction novels with tough female leads and dreams of being the first person to win two Oscars in the same night for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay. When her fingers aren’t getting exercise bouncing across her keyboard, she’s reading Palahniuk and Vonnegut, practicing her Batgirl skills in the dojo or waiting by the mailbox for her Hogwarts letter. As Katharine Hepburn said: “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.”