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My Fake Fiance…Fake Wedding…Fake Life

This isn’t a personal story but I was appalled by the movie I found scrolling through my channels on a slow night – on ABC Family no less – called My Fake Fiance. The guide description, ‘A man and a woman fake an engagement and wedding to receive presents and money’, didn’t pique my interest in actually watching the movie, but I felt compelled to check Wikipedia to see if it was as bad as that blurb made it sound. Nope. It was worse (full description can be found here).

Apparently the aforementioned man and woman decided to get married as a scheme to pay off his gambling debts and furnish her house and, in the process of conning their nearest and dearest ACTUALLY fall in love and decide to give the fake marriage a real go. There are some awful subplots about kids being denied college to pay for the sham wedding, an uncle who gifts them money that could have been used to pay off the gambling debt in the first place, and more general awfulness.

I guess this was the logical conclusion of all those gift hungry couples featured on this site, but played out as romantic comedy. I’m not sure the person who thought that this would be a good plot for a movie is in any way familiar with the concepts of ‘romance’ or ‘comedy’.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • RP October 14, 2010, 12:29 pm

    I should send in a request that Film Brain review this movie. He did a very good job bashing “Bride Wars”, another movie where we’re apparently supposed to sympathize with people who put the stuff and the event itself ahead of their relationships with their friends and loved ones.

    I’m sorry, but they sound like horrible people. You’re going to lie to everyone you know just to get cash and gifts? You can’t just ask for help? As for the woman (her problem is that she got robbed) what happened to insurance? She just bough a house; her mortgage company almost certainly REQUIRED her to get insurance.

  • Elle October 14, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Seinfeld was a wildly succesful show about four really horrible self-centered people. My Best Friend’s Wedding was about a woman trying to do her best to break up a couple so she could marry a guy. If we start pointing out all the horrible, rude and gauche things that happen in popular entertainment (on ABC family no less) we’ll be here for the next decade.

  • Jan74 October 14, 2010, 12:38 pm

    I’ve watched that! I watch too many bad, made for tv movies.
    In her defense, part of her motivation was also the constant “You are next!”, as well as losing everything (her stuff was stolen), added to the frustration of going to third wedding showers and buying gifts etc. Not that it makes the couple in the movie any less rude, but with people divorcing in 2-3 months and keeping the gifts being a rule these days, it is not like a sham wedding would be that much different. I mean, I’ve bought shower and wedding gifts to what was clearly a visa sham wedding, and I don’t feel any different about that one than I do for regular weddings.

  • RP October 14, 2010, 1:03 pm

    @Elle – I’d forgotten about My Best Friend’s Wedding. Yeesh, even if we just keep it to so-called chick flicks we’ll be here for forever. At least with Seinfeld you were supposed to think their behavior was ridiculous (or that was the impression I got from the few episodes I watched).

    FWIW, this is the review I mentioned in my first comment: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/teamt/fbv/bmbe/27537-bmd-bride-wars

  • The Voice of Reason October 14, 2010, 1:17 pm

    What an insightful story! Thanks so much for sharing your diligent Wikipedia research.

  • RoaringGirl October 14, 2010, 1:22 pm

    “but with people divorcing in 2-3 months and keepin the gifts being a rule these days”

    For there to be a statistical norm for behavior (or new “rule”), there would have to be quite a few people divorcing after 2-3 months and keeping the gifts….The New York Times likes to indulge in such hyperbolic thinking, especially when it involves privileged women: they once found, for example, a small group of rich women in Manhatten who demanded presents as a reward for giving birth (“push gifts”) and wrote it up as national trend.

    According to the CDC, about 2,077,000 marriages were performed last year. If even *one percent* of those marriages ended after 2-3 months (with documentation that gifts were kept), we are talking about 21,000 marriages. I’m not a statistician, but I’m guessing that one percent wouldn’t be statistically relevant anyway. And to be actual trend, the number for this year would have to be greater, as will the year after. And remember, anecdotes =/= data!

  • BookWorm October 14, 2010, 1:52 pm

    I caught the first half of the movie out of curiosity when I saw Melissa Joan Hart. I quickly shut it off when the lead characters started to finalize their little plot. Despicable.

  • Sharon October 14, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Is there nowhere we can go to get away from greedy people???
    Now the movies ain’t even an escape anymore!

    **sniff, sniff, BOO HOO!!!!**

  • kero October 14, 2010, 3:02 pm

    I agree with Elle’s comment. There are lots of movies that play up the rude character and turn it into romance/comedy/both. The point is not about their rude behavior, but what the characters learn and develop from it (hopefully).

  • Simone October 14, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Meh…it’s a movie…

    I can see your point that the fact that this was made into a movie is a sad indictment of the extremely low level of character that society can sympathise with before just turning off in disgust, but given that in the ’90s there were movies where the main characters were *serial killers* and the audience was expected to engage with them on some level, this is kind of a step up 🙂

    And one of my favourite classic movies “Bringing Up Baby” is about a woman doing her darndest to break up a man and his fiance the day before the wedding…

  • Chocobo October 14, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Greedy people need love too…. all of it 😉

    What a terrible movie plot. Perhaps this is why it is on ABC Family and not in theaters.

  • Louise October 14, 2010, 3:46 pm

    Yes, the whole movie in a giant etiquette violation as well as being immoral and a genuinely stupid thing to do in real life, but … it’s a movie. I think if we judged movies by etiquette standards, most of them would fail. And everything on MTV definitely would fail.

  • danielle October 14, 2010, 4:00 pm

    I actually enjoyed this movie, and its plot is very similar to oh about a thousand trashy romance novels which sell so well everywhere.

  • Shiksagoddess October 14, 2010, 4:18 pm

    Um, it’ s a movie. A bad one, albeit, but it’s just a dumb movie.

    I think real-life couples who decide to marry because they want a big party are worse.

  • Jan74 October 14, 2010, 4:18 pm

    RP, they didn’t break into her house – they stole her moving van, with her stuff in it. That would not be covered by her homeowner’s insurance.

  • Jenneh October 14, 2010, 4:52 pm

    Nearly everything “humorous” that is done in a romantic comedy would get one arrested were one to try it in real life.

  • *Caitlin* October 14, 2010, 4:58 pm

    Sounds funny 🙂

  • Etiquette Economist October 14, 2010, 6:30 pm

    Movie plot is not even practical or realistic. I recently got married, we had a full dinner reception with open bar but tried to economize where we could (got my dress at Filene’s, did our own flowers from Sam’s Club, BMs wore their own dresses, no frou-frou touches) and we still spent a good 3-4x as much on the wedding as we received in gifts. We were happy to do it because it was about entertaining our guests and celebrating with our families but getting married to get gifts is just STUPID. You could easily buy yourself way more stuff that you are more likely to like by going to city hall and using the wedding money on setting up your household.

  • Zhoen October 14, 2010, 7:48 pm

    Actually, that this movie asks us to like these breathtakingly rude people, and root for them, might be the source of so much atrocious behaviour today. Movies probably are the reason so many brides seem to want to be a star for a day. That kind of greed seen normalized on screen no doubt justifies a lot of grasping couples. We live by our stories, and when hollywood feeds us these, especially to the young, they poison themselves and our whole society.

  • Tara October 14, 2010, 8:04 pm

    I don’t see what this has to do with etiquette. It’s just a bad movie, and a fictional plot.

    I mean, if it were real, the biggest concern would not be the etiquette breach, but the fact that the woman falls in love with a man with gambling debt. That’s a huge red flag right there.

  • Kristen October 14, 2010, 10:11 pm

    I despise most movies billed as “romantic comedies,” for this reason. Yes, I know it’s just a movie, but I can’t stand watching it, especially when I see more and more examples of similar behavior in real life. (That said, while I sympathize with the hate, I’m not sure this is an example that belongs on the site, seeing as it’s imaginary. I get the connection, though.)

    I do actually love many shows where characters behave terribly: “Seinfeld,” “Arrested Development,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” come to mind. But in these shows, the characters are PRESENTED as terrible, selfish, dysfunctional people. In movies like “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” for example, we’re somehow supposed to sympathize/cheer for the main character? Yecch!

  • Lynne October 15, 2010, 12:40 am

    But all heroes are flawed, right?

    The premise of the film acknowledges our society’s growing sense of entitlement to gifts and money. It doesn’t sound like the film makes a very deep commentary about it, but by making it a key turn of the plot, our attention is at least drawn to the prevalence of that sort of attitude.

    But in a story, it is not about the characters who win, it’s about the “story” that wins. The “story” that wins here, is that of love and commitment prevailing over greed.

    What’s wrong with that?

  • Jan74 October 15, 2010, 12:42 am

    RoaringGirl, I mean in my own personal experience, not as in “everyone in the world”, of course. I’ve never heard of anyone that went through with the wedding, even if they divorced right after the honeymoon, returning the gifts.
    Not to be PA, but I didn’t write an article for the NYT: I just posted my opinion on a blog article about a tv movie. Hardly seems like the place for hard data.

  • weegee56 October 15, 2010, 10:03 am

    A “real life” wedding “deception” occured recently in my husbands family. The couple traveled to Las Vegas, said they had been married and a reception was held in their honor when they returned. It turns out that they had not been married , were splitting up and thought this would be a good way to snag some household goods and cash before they parted company. Even knowing the one party, I was surprised at their cold blooded materialism.

  • sbtier October 15, 2010, 10:36 am

    Edith Wharton’s novel Glimpses of the Moon has the same plot, so nothing new. A man and woman who are friends hatch a plot to marry, hoping to get a lot of presents and at least a year’s worth of people lending them houses to live in.

  • Just Laura October 15, 2010, 1:19 pm

    I think that our friend Roaring Girl should look up the word “hyperbole” next in her research. That bag weighed a ton. is also hyperbole. No one is saying that the bag actually weighed a ton, just as I didn’t take you to mean that there is actually a written rule out there about quickie divorces after getting gifts.

  • Enna October 15, 2010, 4:07 pm

    I can’t stand bad movies whatever the genre. Greedy people do exist, people marry for convienance.

  • Amanda October 16, 2010, 12:42 am

    Oh, they fell in love at the end? I guess that makes it all okay! /sarcasm

  • N Monster October 16, 2010, 8:41 am

    There is also a book titled “Blue Heaven” featuring a similar plot, but it is played as a straight farce with no romance and certainly no happy ending.

  • Lady_Lazarus October 16, 2010, 5:06 pm

    I have to agree with Elle … I mean, it’s just a movie! And not for nothing, Bride Wars is actually kind of funny … because, again, it’s just a movie.

  • RP October 18, 2010, 10:33 am

    I don’t recall seeing anything on the site promising that all the etiquette stories have to happen in real life to get posted so I don’t see how this being a movie means it doesn’t belong on the site.

  • bmyster October 19, 2010, 6:21 pm

    An interesting Lifetime movie that was based on a real story is “I Me Wed.” In it, the title character plans a wedding to herself, because she is sick of being pestered “When are you going to get married?” Although, in that case, she was upfront about the marriage intent and partner (i.e. herself).

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