Not sure if you’ve heard, people — but Hollywood can be incredibly sexist. Not ONLY have certain actresses found that they were being paid less than their male co-stars (like Jennifer Lawrence in her Academy Award-nominated film, American Hustle), but a lot of the times young celebrity women are asked to play the romantic other-half of old AF actors… and once they hit a certain age they’re told THEY are “too old” to portray a love interest. Because of this inequality, it means that guys are playing characters a lot younger than they are IRL and gals are playing characters a lot older than they are, which can mean some funky looking parent-child relationships on the screen.
While we can blame sexism for some of these wonky mother-child duos, part of it also just must be that the casting directors DGAF about the genuine age of an actor/actress, they just care about the looks and the star-status that a celeb can bring to a film or television show. We’ve shown you Teen TV moms who are way too young to be the parent to their on-screen kid (and the dad-edition, too!) but it happens all the time in movies, too! Check out the 9 Female Movie Stars Who Had Ridiculously Small Age-Differences with Their Movie Kid.
Amy Poehler in Mean Girls
On-Screen Child: Rachel McAdams
Age Difference: 7 years
While it literally brings us physical pain to dole out any type of criticism on one of the most beloved teen films in history, we gotta be honest: there was some silliness when it came to casting here. Amy, at age 32, having a daughter who is a junior in high school would be a little *scandalous* in the first place. Combined with the fact that Regina Ge— er, Rachel was actually ten years older than her Mean Girls character, it actually makes more sense for them to be siblings rather than a mother-daughter duo.
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Katie Holmes in The Giver
On-Screen Child: Brenton Thwaites
Age Difference: 11 years
It can be a bit confusing discussing unrealistic age differences when it comes to dystopian futuristic films — especially because in The Giver, mothers don't actually carry their babies inside of them, but are given a child when they reach an appropriate age. That said, 11 would be WAY too young for Jonas' mother to be given a child by the government. We get it, Katie rocks and it's a #blessing to have her in basically anything, but an 11-year-parent-child age diff is a little crazy!
Photo: Wenn Images
Jenny McCarthy in John Tucker Must Die
On-Screen Child: Brittany Snow
Age Difference: 14 years
The beginning of John Tucker Must Die revolves around how Brittany's character's mother is constantly in and out of relationships that force them to move from one town to the next. Jenny's character is definitely young at heart, but it doesn't really seem like she was a 14-year-old mom! We're gonna call this age separation a lil' suspicious — though definitely not the worst one on our list.
Photo: Landscape Productions
Winona Ryder in Star Trek
On-Screen Child: Zachary Quinto
Age Difference: 6 years
We're not saying that Winona isn't a great on-screen mama — we've seen her on Stranger Things... we know she can play a mom. And again, it must be a little harder to figure out appropriate age differences when it comes to Sci-Fi flicks, taking into account that aliens are totally different than humans and all that... but we're still gonna say a 6-year IRL age difference is just a little too tiny, even for the famous Spock and his mother.
Photo: Spyglass Entertainment
Jennifer Coolidge in American Pie
On-Screen Child: Seann William Scott
Age Difference: 15 years
18 years ago, when the first American Pie film came out, "Stifler" (aka Seann) was 22 and Jennifer was 37. If Seann was just a hair closer to the age of his character (a high school senior) then everything would've been on the up-and-up but... 15 years? We dunno 'bout that one.
Photo: Summit Entertainment
Cheryl Hines in Life After Beth
On-Screen Child: Matthew Gray Gubler
Age Difference: 15 years
As with American Pie, 15 years isn't THE WORST as far as unrealistic age gaps go; it's not like teenage pregnancy never happens... but typically if a child is the product of a teenage pregnancy, then there are some other indicators that was the situation. Plus, 14 and pregnant is REALLY frickin' young.
Photo: Getty Images
Drew Barrymore in Riding in Cars With Boys
On-Screen Child: Adam Garcia
Age Difference: -2 years
Drew's on-screen son is actually older than Drew is herself... uh, what? We'll admit that we can cut the casting directors a little bit of slack considering that the movie itself spans over 24 years. By the time Adam actually enters the film, a 25-year-old Drew was playing a 35-year-old character, Adam's mom. Yet, the actor was 27 and playing a teenager... so maybe they could've gone with someone just a bit younger to play the 19 years young version of Drew's character's son.
Photo: Gracie FIlms
Tara Reid in Sharknado
On-Screen Child: Chuck Hittinger & Cody Linley
Age Difference: 8 years & 14 years
TBH, we should know better than to hold Sharknado to any kind of "realistic" standards. Like, isn't the whole point of the film to be just as ridiculous as possible? Chuck (who you know from Pretty Little Liars) plays Tara's college-aged son in movie #1, despite the fact that he and his on-screen mom were both in their 30s. After Chuck didn't appear in the second or third Sharknado flick, they replaced him with a younger guy. But, it didn't seem like the replacement reasoning was at all based on the eight year age diff between Tara and Chuck, because even when Cody took on his new role the IRL age difference with the blonde actress was still not big enough to be 100 percent believable.
Photo: Syfy Films
Anne Bancroft in The Graduate
On-Screen Child: Katharine Ross
Age Difference: 3 years
We get it — Mrs. Robinson is supposed to be a MILF. But she couldn't have been cast as a little more age-appropriate? Anne was 36 playing a "middle-aged housewife" and Katharine was 33 playing the result of Mrs. Robinson's accidental pregnancy. Dustin Hoffman, who plays the cub to the cougar, is actually only six years younger than Anne, too, which basically defeats the whole point of the movie in the first place, no?
Photo: Mike Nichols/Lawrence Turman Productions