#Movies & TV
20 Movies That Made Lying Look Way More Fun Than it Really Is
by Jennifer Lafferty
Lying to your partner in real life? Terrible idea. Crazy, sociopathic lying in movie marriages? Wacky and hilarious. From assuming a new identity to faking marriage, these are the 20 best romantic comedies based on secrets and lies.
While You Were Sleeping
A lot of these movies feature couples pretending to be married, but in this beloved 1995 comedy, Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is alone in the lie, pretending to be the fiancee of a temporarily comatose man, after saving his life.
An early example of how useful secrets and lies can be in romantic comedies is the 1953 classic Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn as a runaway, undercover princess and Gregory Peck, as a reporter, playing along.
Sandra Bullock repeated the fiancee farce in 2008’s The Proposal, playing a hard-hearted editor who blackmails her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) into getting engaged so she won’t be deported. But a visit to his hometown in Alaska changes everything.
Fake identities are another popular contrivance in romantic comedies, but few characters take it as far as unemployed actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), who impersonates a woman to get a role on a soap opera in 1982’s Tootsie.
Never Been Kissed
Another rom-com involving a false identity with funny, but disastrous consequences is this 1999 flick starring Drew Barrymore as a journalist who gets a second shot at the high school in-crowd, while posing as a student for an investigative article.
You’ve Got Mail
In You’ve Got Mail, the anonymity of the internet makes it possible for two natural enemies, an independent bookseller (Meg Ryan) and the owner of a major bookstore chain (Tom Hanks), to fall in love.
Same Time, Next Year
Many secrets and lies rom-coms involve infidelity, such as the 1978 Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn dramedy Same Time, Next Year, which manages to sympathetically portray two adulterers who meet for an annual fling.
Micki & Maude
Bigamy isn’t usually funny in movies but this hilariously far-fetched 1984 film is one exception. Dudley Moore stars as an unlikely bigamist with two pregnant wives, who he’s struggling to hide from one another.
In the 2008 film 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl plays Jane, a frequent bridesmaid, helping commitments journalist, Kevin (James Marsden), with an article about her sister’s wedding, unaware it’s really a sensationalistic piece about the two sisters.
Wally (Jason Bateman) is shocked to learn that during a drunken episode seven ago, he switched his friend’s donor sperm with his own, and is the real father of her son. This wacky 2010 flick co-stars Jennifer Aniston.
Heaven Can Wait
The 1978 fantasy Heaven Can Wait stars Warren Beatty as a quarterback forced to inhabit the body of a ruthless business titan when his own life prematurely ends, and must prove to the woman he loves that he isn’t who he appears to be.
Faith (Marisa Tomei) has never met Damon Bradley but is convinced he’s her soulmate. She leaves her fiance behind to follow Damon to Italy, where she encounters an impostor (Robert Downey Jr.), who might be her real soulmate, in 1994’s Only You.
Just Go with It
This 2011 re-imagining of Cactus Flower stars Adam Sandler as a plastic surgeon who convinces his assistant (Jennifer Aniston), to pose as his estranged wife on a trip to Hawaii, to cover up a lie he told his new girlfriend.
10 Things I Hate About You
In this 1999 high school dramedy Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) can’t date until her bad-tempered sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does. So, equally anti-social Patrick (Heath Ledger) is bribed to take her out.
The 1995 dramedy Muriel’s Wedding is filled with deception. Attempting to start a new life, Muriel (Toni Collette) steals from her family, runs away, invents a fake boyfriend and enters into a high profile sham marriage.
Return to Me
In 2000’s Return to Me, Grace (Minnie Driver) is shocked to learn that her heart transplant came from the late wife of her new boyfriend, Bob (David Duchovny). When Bob finds out, their romance is jeopardized.
Jack Lemmon stars in this 1960 classic about an ambitious young man trying to earn points at work by letting executives use his apartment for romantic trysts, before falling for his boss’s troubled mistress (Shirley MacLaine).
Professional date doctor Alex Hitchens (Will Smith), must protect the anonymity of himself and his clients, but when he falls for a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes) out for revenge, the jig might be up in this 2005 comedy.
Zany 1992 flick HouseSitter stars Goldie Hawn as a con artist who persuades an architect (Steve Martin) to let her live in his house and pose as his wife in a scheme to help him win back his ex-girlfriend.
Another popular Goldie Hawn farce is 1987 cult classic Overboard, about a carpenter (Kurt Russell) who convinces a spoiled heiress with amnesia she’s his wife so he can trick her into working off a debt by providing childcare.