If there's one thing that working as undercover assassins and fighting terrorists in tall buildings has taught us, it's that everything worthy in life can be learned from movies. So if you're looking for love, there's nothing like sitting down with a bunch of romantic comedies and letting their sage lessons filter into your brain like music from a stereo held aloft by John Cusack.
Unfortunately, though, it's not quite that simple. When done in real life, many of the tricks used by onscreen singletons to successfully woo potential lovers can get you put away for a long time.
As Seen In: Love Actually, Liar Liar, countless others
Will Get You: A year and a half in prison, depending on the charge.
Approximately half of all movie romances culminate in an airport, or on the plane after it's left the airport. You know the drill: The girl is flying away forever, the guy finally realizes he can't live without her and declares his love (see: The Wedding Singer, The Thomas Crown Affair, even freaking Crocodile Dundee had a variation of it). They even parodied the cliche in an episode of 30 Rock.
But then you have sequences like the end of the Jim Carrey romantic comedy Liar Liar, where desperate to catch up with his ex-wife and son who have boarded a plane on their way out of his life, Carrey hijacks an airport stair escalator on the runway and maneuvers it alongside the plane. Due to his trademark reckless but zany efforts, the takeoff is canceled and Jim Carrey gets to convince his son that he's a better dad than Cary Elwes. Everyone lives happily ever after.
Except Cary Elwes.
Of course, Liar Liar has the excuse of taking place before 9/11, so the cops weren't yet tazing every man, woman and child who reaches for a cell phone in the airport. But then there's Love Actually, which was released in 2003 and actually references 9/11 in its opening sequence, where Liam Neeson encourages his stepson to sneak through airport security at Heathrow without a boarding pass at Christmastime, in order to say goodbye to his school crush. The young scamp runs through the airport, pursued by airport guards, and confesses his love. Afterwards, the guards escort him back to his dad with trademark "kids will be kids" smiles, and then simply let both of them go.
Possibly as a reward for this sweet jump.
The exact same scenario actually happened late last year, in real life. A young man at Newark Liberty International Airport briefly crossed a security barrier to give his girlfriend a final goodbye kiss. Hell, it even happened at Christmas.
Of course, guards and fellow travelers, overwhelmed with such a display of true love and the Christmas spirit, surrounded the couple and clapped... Oh, wait, no. What really happened was that the breach was discovered, the terminal went into lockdown, and around 200 flights were delayed or canceled worldwide.
"Is that your ex-boyfriend getting wailed on by the TSA?"
Once tracked down, the lovestruck man was given a fine and community service. A fair price to pay for romance, you say? Well, after this breach, everyone in New Jersey was so annoyed at this light punishment that moves to toughen laws are now advancing in the state legislature, which if passed could lead to up to 18 months imprisonment for similar acts in the future.
On top of all this, keep in mind that Love Actually takes place in the UK, where police have proved they are willing to shoot fleeing terrorist suspects in public, so it's not looking good for our plucky hero. And if that doesn't seem scary enough, unless you are blessed with the discerning power of Kanye West, you'd be hard pressed to find another crime that would earn you the immediate hatred of literally tens of thousands of people in your immediate surroundings.
As for wackily hijacking the rolling stairs and blocking the plane from taking off like Jim Carrey? We're pretty sure if you try that now it'll get you a sniper round in the skull.
"Take the shot."
As seen in: Revenge of the Nerds, Overboard, While You Were Sleeping, Only You
Will Get You: Up to 30 years in prison, depending on the jurisdiction.
So, you want to get intimate with someone of the opposite sex, but they won't give you the time of day? Well, why not pretend to be someone else? As Revenge of the Nerds showed us all back in 1984, the perfect way to win over a young woman is to dress up in a Halloween mask, pretend to be her long-term boyfriend and then perform oral sex on her. If your technique is good enough, she won't be angry. In fact, she'll be so thrilled she'll even leave her boyfriend for you!
However, this technique does have limited practicality, being generally confined to Halloween night, and to the partners of firemen, exterminators, mutant pianists who live underneath theaters and ninjas.
An easier Hollywood route is to simply wait until your beloved is knocked on the head and then tell them you're sexually involved when they wake up with amnesia. In the 1987 film Overboard, the movie's hero, Kurt Russell, picks up spoiled heiress Goldie Hawn from a psychiatric ward where she's suffering from amnesia, and claims to be her husband.
Amazingly, this scene is not from a porno.
Despite Kurt's abrasive personality, Goldie reluctantly complies, and he takes her home and sets her to task cooking and cleaning for him, as well as looking after his four out-of-control kids. Naturally, Goldie falls madly in love, despite this being similar to the plot of several horror movies, and even after the ruse is revealed she chooses to stay.
Ask Raymond Mitchell how that worked out for him. He had a habit of calling women, whispering to them and claiming to be their boyfriend. He'd tell them to wait for him with blindfolds on, and he'd show up and have his way with them. He wound up with a 15-year prison term.
And some great stories.
It's called Rape by Fraud, and you may have heard of a recent case in Israel that made international headlines where a man was recently convicted of rape after lying about his religion (that is, claiming to be a Jew) to convince a woman to sleep with him. He got 18 months.
What is more remarkable is how many states don't have rape by fraud laws at all (there have been calls to change that for years). The objection seems to be that once you can convict a guy or girl of lying to get sex, there may not exist enough bricks to build that many prisons. But for now, let's just say that if you're in a situation where the girl is only consenting because you're wearing a mask or she's wearing a blindfold, stop and rethink your life.
Maybe attend a few less masquerade-orgies.
As Seen In: Wedding Crashers, 40 Days and 40 Nights
Will Get You: Six months to freaking life in prison, depending on the circumstances and jurisdiction.
Obviously if you're watching a scene with a woman tied to a bed while a man forces sex on her, the final act of that movie will involve said man getting shot in the face by Bruce Willis. If, on the other hand, it's a man being tied down and forced into sex by a pretty lady, well, you're watching a wacky romantic comedy.
After all, in Wedding Crashers Vince Vaughn is tied to a bed while he's asleep, gagged with duct tape and forced to perform sex acts with a naked Isla Fisher, even complaining the next day that he experienced a rape. But by the end of the movie, he's madly in love with the woman who assaulted him, teaching a valuable lesson to bed intruders everywhere.
It's true that girl rapists don't always win their men in romantic comedies, but they certainly don't suffer too many consequences. In 40 Days and 40 Nights, an ex-girlfriend sneaks into the male protagonist's home while he is asleep and chained to a bed, and has sex with him while he is semi-conscious. She gets away with the deed after nothing but a few angry words. Furthermore, everyone around the couple reacts as if it was an unfortunate accident, except the protagonist's current girlfriend, who blames him for cheating on her, as if the guy deliberately attracted the woman into his home with dick-powered mind-control waves.
Stop the signal!
Under the law, that is absolutely rape. In fact around two percent of sexual assaults, including rape, are committed by the woman, and it's theorized that this statistic is underreported, because nobody wants to be the only guy at the gentlemen's club who whines about being violated by women. Yet, a woman in Norway got nine months in prison for performing oral sex on an unwilling, sleeping man.
If you're a dude and you're thinking you'd have to be insane to complain about this, stop imagining a perpetrator who looks like Isla Fisher.