You may encounter situations in your life for which there is no possible preparation. Luckily, movies are a great substitute for real-life experience. In Film School, we look at what television and movies can teach us about these unexpected scenarios.
According to Hollywood and daytime talk shows, there is a decent chance that at some point in your life you will end up living with, married to, or pretending to be married to someone you despise. These chances go up astronomically if you’re a strong, independent, career-minded woman over the age of 30 or an irresponsible, fun-loving guy.
And while loveless marriages may not sound funny, they are a goldmine for phoned-in romantic comedies. Let’s look at a few of these films and examine what they can teach us about marriage, love, and the ridiculous reasons people find themselves in both.
It’s hard to tell who I feel worse for because it’s hard to decide who I hate more.
Marriage by Court Order: What Happens in Vegas
Summary: What Happens in Vegas stars Ashton Kutcher, an irresponsible, fun-loving carpenter, and Cameron Diaz, a strong, independent, career-minded stockbroker (excellent casting). The two meet in Vegas, where they get drunk and get married. This is, of course, a zany mistake since these two opposites could never be romantically involved.
They’re just too different!
So it’s off to the annulment store (I’ve never been to Vegas, but that sounds real). But on the way there, Ashton borrows a quarter from Cameron to play a slot machine and wins 3 million dollars! Now the hilarity will surely ensue.
Not really. But what does ensue is a lot of fighting over that money. They end up in court, where the Honorable Dennis Miller sentences them to “six months hard marriage.” Haha, good sentence, Judge Miller! That sounds like a very legal punishment. At the end of the six months, they can each get half of the money.
Instead of just sucking it up and living together peacefully for six months, they both try to sabotage the other by fooling the other person into having affairs or missing counselor appointments (which they have to go to so they can prove they’re committed to making their vodka-induced marriage work). Through this, they realize that they’re both terrible people, so they decide to be terrible together and live happily ever after.
Lesson Learned: Marrying for money is wrong, but if you marry in a drunken blackout and stay married for money, things might just work out.
Relationship by Last Request: Life as We Know It
Summary: Katherine Heigl plays a strong, independent, career-minded bakery owner who gets set up on a blind date with Josh Duhamel, an irresponsible, fun-loving sports director. They hate each other. The end.
I wish. The friends that fix them up get married, have a baby and die in a car accident. Oh well, so it goes.
Mufasa gets it.
In their will, these friends have dictated that K.H. and J.D. should move into their home and assume custody of their child. Wow, grieving for your friends must be a little easier now that you know they were huge jerks. As someone who considers house-sitting a pretty big inconvenience, you better believe I expect people to run it by me if they want me to raise their baby. And in the process of choosing suitable guardians, these two people never thought that wanting to be guardians might be a good qualification?
Guess what, Baby Hitler’s parents? You guys are no longer the worst. Congrats!
Despite the major upheaval it causes, K.H. and J.D. agree to this. And then there’s the usual. Bicker, bicker, bicker, baby, baby, baby. In the end, they fall in love and live in their dead friends’ house and raise their dead friends’ child and there is just nothing creepy about any of it.
Lesson Learned: If children are involved, regardless of whether they’re yours, stay together for them. Kids need to be raised by two adults, no matter who they are, how they were chosen or whether they are awful at both parenting and being people. Also, children can bring any couple closer together. �
Your significant other will be easier to love once you’ve seen them with poo on their face.
Engagement by Immigration Laws: The Proposal
Summary: Sandra Bullock is a strong, independent, career-minded editor. Ryan Reynolds is her assistant, who also really wants to be an author but no one takes him seriously because of his hair (I’m assuming).
Sandra Bullock’s character, it turns out, is an illegal alien who has crossed the border from Canada to use up our resources, take our jobs and have a bunch of anchor babies. She probably doesn’t even speak English! Actually she does, but regardless, her visa is expired and she’s going to be deported back to Canada.
When are we going to build that wall and stop this invasion?
To avoid this terrible fate, she gets Ryan Reynolds to marry her so she can get a green card. In exchange, he’ll get promoted to editor and she’ll publish his book. Don’t worry, it won’t look suspicious. It’ll just look like a wife giving major professional advantages to her new husband. Yay, nepotism!
Before they get married, they first go to visit Ryan Reynold’s family in Alaska. It’s all very kooky and fish-out-of-water for Sandra Bullock, even though her character is from Canada which I consider part of Alaska due to my ethnocentrism.
Anyway, they swap two or three pieces of personal information and fall in love. Sandra Bullock almost gets deported but doesn’t (phew) because Ryan Reynolds stops her from leaving and proposes for real. And the immigration officer believes it because they are highly trained by the government to spot true love.
Lesson learned: Remember, being married to anyone, no matter how much you hate them, is better than being forced to live in Canada.
From all of these movies, one truth seems to emerge:
Overarching Lesson: If you find yourself in a marriage with a person you hate, stick it out. If you wait long enough, you two will realize that you are soul mates and the circumstances through which you discovered this will become the hilarious story that your friends are so sick of hearing.