Shotgun Love Dolls (2001)
Rachel McAdams got her first starring role in this MTV pilot, which failed to get the upgrade to a full series. McAdams is suprisingly confident in the lead role considering it was her first gig.
She plays a high school girl who is whisked away to an alternate dimension where she becomes a member of an all-girl crime-fighting team (Malin Akerman also got some pre- Watchmen experience kicking ass here).
Romantic interest? The show got cancelled before she could develop any sort of romance, but she'd have probably been too busy fighting crime anyway.
The Famous Jett Jackson (2001)
McAdams' next TV role was a small part in an episode of an already proven quantity. Jett Jackson followed the exploits of the title character, a teenager who starred as a secret agent in a popular show.
Rachel appeared in the episode 'Food for Thought', which was directed by Shawn Night at the Museum Levy. The show also featured guest appearances from a number of other stars-to-be, including Britney Spears and Hayden Christensen.
Romantic interest? Nah, a young star like Jackson doesn't have time for the ladies.
Earth: Final Conflict (2002)
This Canadian sci-fi series was based on ideas from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. The premise sees an alien race, the Taelons, land on Earth to a mixed reception from the planet's current inhabitants.
Some people are thrilled with the new technology they share, while others are suspicious of their ultimate aims. McAdams only appeared in one episode, in which a sulky teen inadvertantly helps to spread the aliens' message to the planet's youths via a website.
Romantic interest? She's dating the emo guy who sets up the site.
My Name Is Tanino (2002)
McAdams broke out of the small screen for this Italian romantic comedy, though release issues meant barely anyone saw this. She plays an American tourist who has a summer romance with the title character.
In an almost stalkerish way, Tanino then becomes obsessed with tracking down his holiday fling when she returns home. All credit to McAdams for showing a convincing grasp of the Italian language.
Romantic interest? That's be Tanino (Corrado Fortuna), the stalker we mentioned.
Perfect Pie (2002)
Rachel McAdams played the younger version of the Patsy character in this movie adaptation of Judith Thompson's play. Despite the breezy-sounding title, this isn't a lighthearted slice of kitsch Americana.
Instead it tracks the friendship of Patsy and Marie, whose lives are altered irrevocably after Marie is sexually abused on Prom Night. Another limited release meant this failed to become any sort of breakout vehicle for McAdams.
Romantic interest? That takes a backseat to the harsher issues here.
Slings and Arrows (2003-2005)
McAdams took a more prominent TV role in the first series of Slings and Arrows . The bizarre show was based on a Shakepeare festival, though it's the backstage antics that form the bulk of the drama.
McAdams gets to don some stage outfits for the part, but she shines in the scenes when she struggles with her lack of confidence and relationship issues.
Romantic interest? Her character, Kate, falls for the film star cast as Hamlet.
The Hot Chick (2002)
This was McAdams most prominent role to date, in an iffy body swap comedy with Rob Schneider. She plays spoilt high-school princess Jessica Spencer (a fore-runner to Mean Girls ' Regina), who, by way of a pair of magical earrings, ends up swapping bodies with Schneider's grubby crim.
There's not much here that you haven't seen done better elsewhere. The sight of Schneider in drag is truly harrowing, and the tacked on moral message sits uneasily with the barrage of gross-out gags.
Romantic interest? April (Anna Faris) starts to develop some confusing feelings towards Jessica-in-Schneider's-body...
Mean Girls (2004)
Not only did Mean Girls prove that Lindsay Lohan was an extremely likeable lead (for the time being at least), and SNL star Tina Fey was a screenwriter to take notice of, but it also gave McAdams a memorable Hollywood calling card.
As Regina, the bitchy leader of cool clique 'The Plastics', McAdams is the evil queen of the high school, and new girl Cady (Lohan) doesn't know whether to stage a revolt or join the club.
Romantic interest? Regina's ex Aaron (Jonathan Bennett) gets caught in a tug of war between the rival ladies.
The Notebook (2004)
Teaming a romantic weepie with teen hit Mean Girls turned 2004 into a golden year for McAdams. This Nicholas Sparks adaptation is unashamedly sentimental, but somehow McAdams and co-star Ryan Gosling make it work.
The pair have a convincing chemistry as the across-the-tracks lovers, and they began dating in real-life after the shoot. The Notebook has earned its status a romance that even blokes can enjoy, and if you're not wiping away a tear by the time the credits roll you're probably a cyborg.
Romantic interest? That'd be Gosling's Noah, of course.
Wedding Crashers (2005)
McAdams' ascent continued in this frat pack megahit. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are the guys who turn up at random nuptials to pull women, and at a huge ceremony they get lucky with a couple of sisters.
Wilson's the fortunate one as he bags McAdams' Claire, while Vaughn gets stuck with Isla Fisher's nutso nympho. The ladies give as good as they get in this bawdy comedy, ensuring that it doesn't become a two-man show.
Romantic interest? John (Wilson). He's a bit of a cad, but you know that the manipulative seducer has a heart of gold underneath it all.
Red Eye (2005)
A dabble with horror was on the cards here, in Wes Craven's airborne psycho movie. Lisa (McAdams) is initially charmed by Cillian Murphy's Jackson Rippner (that name should have set alarm bells ringing), before his blue eyes switch from dreamy to nightmarish.
It's no Scream , but Murphy and McAdams make for a likeable cat and mouse: she shows a little more moxie than your typical damsel-in-distress, and he's compellingly creepy.
Romantic interest? Rippner only turns on the charm for the duration of a pre-flight drink, before he reveals his psychotic intentions.
The Family Stone (2005)
A sparkling cast add some entertainment value to this dysfunctional family comedy drama, but even their best efforts fail to truly lift this out of the 'meh' zone. It all centres on uptight Meredith's (Sarah Jessica Parker) Christmas with her boyfriend's family.
Sybil (Diane Keaton) and Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) have produced quite the family of stereotypes, including McAdams as a bitchy sister, but the cast can make you temporarily buy it. Parker makes for an unappealing lead though, and the movie makes some bizarre tonal leaps.
Romantic interest? No, she's more focused on messing up her brother's relationship.
Married Life (2007)
Sporting a platinum blonde 'do, McAdams joins another classy cast for an ultimately disappointing movie. Harry (Chris Cooper) is having an affair with Kay (McAdams) and he decides that he'd rather kill his wife (Patricia Clarkson) than humiliate her.
Enter Richard (Pierce Brosnan), the kind of smoothie Harry shouldn't be letting anywhere near his mistress. Feeling stilted and false, the movie fails to make good on its intriguing premise.
Romantic interest? Widow Kay is something of an older man magnet.
The Lucky Ones (2008)
McAdams stars alongside Tim Robbins and Michael Peña in this war drama. Skipping the conflict itself, the film picks up with the trio when they return home from a tour of duty, and unite for something of a road trip.
It skirts close to cliché at times, but it's good to see a tougher, ballsier side of McAdams, and the cast do have a winning rapport. It went the way of most contemporary war movies at the box office when it tanked though.
Romantic interest? There's her boyfriend, killed in action, who she discovers wasn't all he claimed to be, and there's also a soupçon of chemistry between her and Peña.
State of Play (2009)
Fans of the BBC drama were worried when this movie remake was announced, but they needn't have been, as the impressively dense show is neatly compressed into a taut thriller, with the tension surviving the move from London to Washington.
Director Kevin Macdonald was hot off The Last King of Scotland when he made this. McAdams is the plucky young journo who helps Russell Crowe's seasoned reporter when he gets engrossed in a murder investigation with political implications.
Romantic interest? She's gets to the 'holding hands' stage with Crowe before the end of the movie.
The Time Traveller's Wife (2009)
McAdams starred opposite Eric Bana in this romantic weepie with a sci-fi spin. It was based on the bestseller by Audrey Niffenegger, and director Robert Schwentke did a pretty decent job of condensing the convoluted events of the novel into a manageable movie.
Again, it's down to McAdams to sell a sentimental romance, playing Clare at different stages in her relationship with time-hopper Henry. As long as you're willing to totally suspend disbelief, this provides a necessary weepie fix.
Romantic interest? Henry (Bana), though things do feel a little uncomfortable when he visits her when she's a little kid...
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
McAdams got her blockbuster on for Guy Ritchie's energetic reboot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective series. Irene Adler (McAdams) has a mysterious past with Robert Downey Jr's super-sleuth.
Adler is more than a match for Holmes, as she joins him and Dr Watson on the hunt for the mysterious Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). It's not yet known if she'll appear in this year's sequel, but if she does make a return, expect her to play second fiddle to new girl Noomi Rapace.
Romantic interest? She's ostensibly Holmes' squeeze, though she does face some competition from bro-mantic interest Watson.
Morning Glory (2010)
McAdams is back this week, as a TV producer tasked with revitalising flagging breakfast show Daybreak. Enlisting the talents of cantankerous former presenter Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) probably wasn't the best way to go about it.
Morning Glory is written by The Devil Wears Prada 's Aline Brosh McKenna, and the two movie's share more than a little DNA.
Romantic interest? Between the show's plummeting ratings and the endless bickering of Pomeroy and co-host Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), McAdams barely has time for her relationship with fellow producer Patrick Wilson.
McAdams has got a busy slate, whether or not she's returning for the Sherlock sequel.
First up, there's Woody Allen comedy Midnight in Paris , alongside Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen and Owen Wilson.
Then she'll be getting all weepie again in amnesia romance The Vow : she's playing the memory-less wife whose heart Channing Tatum has to win all over again.
And finally, she's reportedly wrapped her role in Terrence Malick's mystery-shrouded new project. The director has been working on an uncharacteristically hasty new movie before his latest, The Tree of Life , has even hit cinemas.