Films — Animated
- In Meet the Robinsons, Aunt Petunia smacks Uncle Fritz quite regularly, it seems. The only comment that might have referred to it is Lewis's, asking if she's "cranky." This could be justified as Fritz roleplaying though that opens a new can of worms.
- Wreck-It Ralph: Played with—Sgt. Calhoun provides Felix with a solitary Get A Hold Of Yourself Man slap while they are stuck in the NesquikSand, which reveals that the "vines" they can't reach are actually Laffy Taffy that happen to find the idea of Calhoun hitting Felix hilarious. Calhoun does not, however, and even after Felix shows he can fix his injuries by hitting himself in the face with his magic hammer, she is still reluctant, and Felix has to convince her to continue just so that the Laffy Taffies will reach down to a point where they can grab them. So while the circumstances are extraordinary and the abuse is presented more as Amusing Injuries, try to imagine the same situation being Played for Laughs with the genders swapped; it would come across far darker and inappropriate for a children's movie.
- Rio 2 has Jewel more or less emotionally abusing her husband Blu for the entire film, making all of his decisions for him, allowing her stern father to berate him and showing a blatant disregard for his difficulty transitioning to jungle life. But because Blu is supposed to be a sheltered worry-wart, all of his opinions are treated as hilarious inept. If the genders were flipped, there'd be an uproar.
Films — Live-Action
- Lifetime Movie of the Week movies almost always play this straight. The one subversion was Men Dont Tell, which strongly deconstructed the trope with the story of a husband who's abused by his wife.
- Played with in My Super Ex-Girlfriend a romantic comedy about a guy, who in response to him leaving his super-powered girlfriend for being crazy, she proceeds to do all sorts of vicious things, ranging from throwing his car onto the moon, get him fired by using her powers to strip him naked in the office, and throwing a shark at him. Though it's played for laughs, we still seem intended to sympathize with the guy. Once people realize both that it's G-Girl who's after him and that she's angry over the breakup rather than trying to capture him for some undisclosed crime, they get a lot more upset with her, and she wasn't quite a Karma Houdini either, she is briefly Brought Down to Normal in a plot to stop her tirade, when she refuses to let it go even after that, the guy's current (much less unhinged) girlfriend uses her new found powers to beat some sense into her.
- Still played straight in that this movie couldn't possibly work as a comedy if the gender roles were reversed and the super ex-boyfriend did the same things.
- Played With in The Hangover: Stu Price is dating a nagging, controlling woman who cheated on him with a bartender and who beats him. "That was only twice!" defends Stu desperately to keep his manliness; he even goes so far as to claim that one of her beatings of him was actually justified. It's completely Played for Laughs in the beginning, but his friend Phil constantly reminds Stu of how horrible Melissa is and tells him to break up with her. Stu later wises up at the end of the movie, then breaks up with her at the wedding.
- Played straight in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist when the titular characters are arguing and Norah gets so upset that she hits Nick in the throat. The double standard is particularly striking, considering that Michael Cera (Nick) has the build of a twelve year old girl, making Kat Dennings (Nora) looks like an Olympic powerlifter compared to him. There's also the fact that Nick was getting over a break-up with Tris, who emotionally abuses him.
- Subverted in Kingpin where the main characters, a man and woman, get into a fist fight. While it's played for laughs when the woman does a few groin attacks it's viewed as equally hilarious when the man responds by using her breasts like punching bags.
- In Kung Fu Hustle, the domineering landlady constantly beats on her lecherous doormat of a husband with comedic, slapstick violence.
- Korean Rom Com My Sassy Girl is 2 straight hours of this trope as an excuse for slapstick.
- Tokyo Zombie includes a scene in which a meek abused man buries his mother in a giant mountain of trash and corpses at his girlfriend's instance (specifically, when threatened with sex deprivation). Not content with that the girl proceeds to kick her head into orbit while still belittling her boyfriend.
- The War of the Roses is built around playing an Escalating War of domestic abuse for dark comedy. The wife is always played as far more brutal and vicious than the husband in an apparent effort to keep the two even.
- In the original Parent Trap, in a fit of anger at one point Maggie socks her ex-husband Mitch in the eye. His dialogue seems to imply she'd done stuff like that back when they were married: "Why do you have to get so physical? Can't even talk to you about anything, you're always trying to belt me with something." The movie tries to make the whole situation seem cutesy by the awkward and girly way in which she throws the punch, but for the modern viewer it casts an ominous tone over their eventual reconciliation.
- The remake acknowledges this in a conversation between Nick and Elizabeth, talking about one of their fights. Elizabeth asks "did I hurt you when I threw that...what was it?" and Nick coldly says "it was a hair dryer" which prompts a very guilty look from Elizabeth. Later on Meredith has thrown a ring at him and he says to Elizabeth in the same tone "at least it's smaller than a hair dryer".
- Played straight in Birthday Girl. Sophia participates in the beating, robbery, torture, and kidnapping of her husband John. She gets angry at her co-conspirators later and decides to free John, but never so much as apologizes for her actions - and the fool nonetheless sticks with her and they live (happily?) ever after together. There are even disturbing intimations that John deserves to be victimized because he is a fan of bondage porn, although he never even hints at acting out his fantasies on Sophia, and he is mortally embarrassed when he realizes that she knows about his tastes, even though she implies that she regards them as harmless.
- Averted in both the film and the novel of The Dead Zone. Frank Dodd's lifelong abuse at the hands of his mother is portrayed as horrific, and as the main if not the only reason he has become evil.
- Played straight in Troll 2: Holly and Elliot's relationship would probably have been handled differently if the roles had been reversed.
- More or less played straight in Baby Boy. Yvette (Taraji Henson's character), in a fit of rage, starts swinging her hands toward her boyfriend Jody (Tyrese's character). While one could certainly understand why Yvette's upset, what with Jody's constant cheating and lying, that does not excuse her violently whaling at him to the point of punching him in the eye really hard. So when Jody fought back after failing to restrain Yvette, he smacks her in self-defense, which anyone has the right to do. The movie unfairly paints Jody's actions as a Kick the Dog/Moral Event Horizon moment.
- Discussed in In Bruges (overlapping with Would Not Hit a Girl). Ray mentions the phenomenon, and notes that he himself would not attack a woman in self-defense if she attacked him first, unless she was armed. This later becomes relevant to the plot.
- In Chicago, try telling me that audiences would find the song "Cell Block Tango" nearly as hysterical if it featured a bunch of male inmates describing how they'd killed their wives and girlfriends.
- Mary Poppins: In the Supercalifragilisticexpalidocious sequence, one large cartoon woman in plays a percussion instrument by slamming it on her diminutive husband's head.
Husband: For example...
Mary Poppins: Yes?
Husband: Once I said it to me girl, and now me girl's me wife.
Wife slams instrument on Husband's head.
Husband: And a lovely thing she is, too.
- Averted in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Jean is portrayed as a domineering Jerkass toward her husband Douglas, and it's generally not Played for Laughs.
- Played straight to the point of being disturbing in the romantic comedy Serious Moonlight where Meg Ryan's character knocks her cheating husband unconscious by a potted plant at his head twice and tapes him to a chair until he loves her again. Switch the genders and it becomes a lot less funny.
- Throughout the film Norbit, Rasputia abuses Norbit both physically and emotionally. Although we're supposed to feel sorry for him, most of the abuse is played for laughs. But if the genders were reversed, then it would be a different story...
- A scene in Skip Woods's debut film, Thursday involves the main protagonist being tied to a chair by a woman working for the film's antagonist; the woman then proceeds to rape and taunt him by saying she won't kill him until he achieves an orgasm, which he tries desperately hard to avoid, and adds that she hopes he'll get her pregnant. While the character finds the situation revolting, the scene is played for titulation.
- In Think Like A Man, it's repeatedly implied that Cedric's wife is physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to him—there are references to him having a black eye that he tries to play off as a sports injury—and that the very reason he's leaving her is because he's fed up with it. But the entire scenario is played for laughs throughout the film, with his friends constantly teasing him about it, and at the end, he goes back to her.
- The 2014 comedy The Other Woman features three women tormenting a cheating man (psychologically and physically). Like many other comedies of this ilk, audiences are expected to root for the female characters despite their near-sociopathic behavior. However, it's not likely that audiences would accept a film where three men get revenge on a cheating woman by ganging up on her...even if her relationship crimes were just as heinous.
- The Gamers: Natural One: Two masked men grab Ryan in an alley, throw a hood over his head, toss him into the trunk of their car, and drive off with him. He is later seen tied up at a gaming table because, as it turns out, this is all part of a trial to see if he can game, and thereby prove himself worthy to marry Monica. Ryan angrily calls Monica out for what she did, and she apologizes. When Ryan says he will expect "reparations" from her, Monica meekly agrees - and she smiles when he specifies that the reparations will be of a "kinky" nature. Although the film does not attempt to justify Monica's actions, the fact remains that a man who participated in his girlfriend's kidnapping would never have gotten off so lightly. More than likely, the audience would expect her to dump him immediately, or have serious trust issues with him. At the very least, it would take a lot more than an apology and some make-up sex to get him off the hook.
- Try to imagine the scene in Captain America: The First Avenger where Peggy Carter punches a man to ground with genders reversed. Same thing applies to the scene where she shoots at Captain America without even giving him a chance to explain that he didn't initiate the kiss with the Sexy Secretary. (For the record: Peggy gets even worse during the first few episodes of her own TV series.)
- People would have erupted if sexes had been switched during the reunion scene between Thor and Jane Foster in Thor: The Dark World. Despite the first Thor film establishing her team's knowledge that the Bifröst Bridge had been destroyed at the end of his battle with Loki, then The Avengers having the heroes' battle with the Chitauri made public news (to which she would've had to realize that someone had sent him there with full focus on stopping the threat), her first reaction to seeing Thor again was to slap him twice demanding to know where he was because his absence was hard on her.
- Near the beginning of Intermission, Sam leaves his wife Noeleen for a younger woman. Near the end of the film, she confronts him outside the bank where he works and violently assaults him. In The Stinger, they're back together, and she openly assaults him in order to keep him in line. All of this is Played for Laughs.
- In Hot Tub Time Machine, Jenny stabbing Adam in the eye for breaking up with her is treated fairly trivially. Despite knowing what she did Adam and his friends still think he shouldn't have broken up with her and when Adam does get angry at her it’s for her hypocrisy for getting mad at him when she was going to break up with him anyway not for being violent in the first place. Not once does anyone comment that stabbing someone in the eye is a despicable, abusive act.
- Played Straight to the point of parody in Dinner for Schmucks. Darla is a psychotic Yandere who stalks Tim, forces herself on him and destroys both his apartment and car, with the latter happening in public. At no point does she ever get punished for her atrocious behavior.
- In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Gaby slaps Illya twice after convincing him to dance with her and then escalates the situation by tackling him to the ground when he protests. There is no reason or justification for her behavior whatsoever, and the scene is Played for Laughs.