In the new movie 'Just Go With It,' a plastic surgeon (Adam Sandler) recruits his assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his estranged wife, in order to win over the supposed woman of his dreams (Brooklyn Decker).
He's not the first character in a romantic comedy to lie for love -- and he won't be the last. If we we were to take our cues on romance from these movies, then maybe the lesson is that liars CAN prosper at love ... after a messy and entertaining comeuppance, of course. (Warning: spoilers!)
The Lie: "We're engaged!"
The Movie: 'The Proposal'
Why Lie? Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a high-level exec at a book publishing company. Though successful, she's cold, cunning, and pushy, and strongly disliked around the office. When her boss tells her she is about to be deported to her native Canada because of an expired visa, Margaret panics and convinces her assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), to pretend to be her fiance. The pressure increases when Immigration investigates the couple and begins to suspect that they are only pretending to get married to avoid Margaret's deportation. As a result, they all head to Alaska to "meet the parents" and the movie follows their whirlwind weekend of blackmail, headbutting and hilarity.
Did It Work? Yes. At the wedding, Margaret sees how wonderful Andrew's family is, and she can't commit to ruining his relationship with them or hurting his family. She confesses to the guests and runs back to New York, after which Andrew realizes he wants to be with her and proposes for real.
The Lie: "I'm not married."
The Movie: 'Sweet Home Alabama'
Why Lie? Melanie Smooter (Reese Witherspoon) is a small-town girl from Alabama with big dreams. After changing her last name in an attempt to divorce and leave behind her small town roots, she moves to New York and becomes a successful fashion designer. There, she meets and becomes engaged to the mayor's son, Andrew. Too bad she has a little secret: Melanie is already engaged! She flies back to Alabama to convince her childhood love and husband, Jake Perry (Josh Lucas) to sign the divorce papers. Things heat up when they rekindle old feelings, and her new fiance flies out to Alabama to surprise Melanie with an impromptu wedding.
Did It Work? Melanie's fiance, Andrew, doesn't care that Melanie lied and was once married. He still wants to be with her. But Melanie is conflicted because she still has feelings for Jake. At the wedding, Melanie realizes she can't go through with the ceremony and though Andrew is gracious, his wealthy family is upset. Ultimately, Jake and Melanie stay married and kiss at the end of the film as Melanie learns to be comfortable with who she really is.
The Lie: "I'm just a normal guy with a boring job."
The Movie: 'Hitch'
Why Lie? Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith) is a professional. He's New York's infamous "date doctor," a professional coach who teaches nerdy men to woo beautiful women. When Hitch meets the woman of his dreams, it just so happens that Sarah (Eva Mendes) is also a gossip columnist determined to unmask and destroy the date doctor. Hitch is determined to protect his clients -- whom he knows are good, humble guys -- but also determined to win the girl, so he tells little white lies about his job so that he can get closer to Sarah.
Did It Work? Yes. Sarah gets upset when she realizes Hitch is the date doctor and defrauds him to a major tabloid. Months later, Hitch contacts her however and they reconnect and reconcile.
The Lie: "I'm a wealthy socialite, not a maid!"
The Movie: 'Maid in Manhattan'
Why Lie? Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother who works as a maid at a four-star hotel in Manhattan. She's smart, caring, and capable, and on track to being promoted to a management position. One day, when cleaning the room of a socialite, Marisa is convinced by another maid to try on the socialite's expensive coat. In her borrowed designer duds, Marisa meets senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) who is instantly attracted to her. He invites the "socialite" to lunch, but is confused when the real socialite shows up. Marisa must keep up the lie in order to spend time with Chris -- but at the risk of ruining her own future in hotel management, destroying Chris's career in politics, and the wrath of the real socialite, Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson).
Did It Work? Marisa and Chris spend the night together after a date at a black-tie gala, but just as they are forming real connections, the real Caroline Lane uncovers the truth and exposes Marisa's sham to hotel management. She is fired in front of Chris and the press exposes the scandalous story. However, after some time, Chris and Marisa reunite because they both believe people should be forgiven for their mistakes. They are still a couple a year later, and Chris is elected into office and Marisa starts her own hopsitality business.
What other lies from romantic comedies can you remember?