Synopsis: A high-powered attorney duct tapes her adulterous husband to the toilet to ensure he does not run away with the “other women” before they have a chance to dissect/work on their relationship together. Watch the trailer!
I found this movie late one night while flipping through the instant streaming movies on Netflix. In the first 10 minutes, I was hooked. Forget for a moment that Meg Ryan is being her usual, quirky & adorably natured self (with a touch of emotional psychosis in this particular case), but the entire premise of the story is very intriguing. Yes of course, anyone who actually takes someone hostage in real life will probably go to jail. That’s what the husband in the movie said himself! But then things start to unfold… you see sides to people you didn’t see before… you hear stories you didn’t know existed… and suddenly things look and feel different. To complicate matters, there are a few additional characters that pop up in the story line, including the “other woman” herself who stops by for a visit. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with Meg Ryan at this point:
WARNING: the rest of this post will be a spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie!
So through the middle of the movie, Justin Long comes along and robs the house. He ends up destroying everything in the home, “feeling up” the wife in front of the husband, making violent threats, then ties her up. THEN when the “other woman” shows up again, Justin Long ties her up in the bathroom with the other two. The following scenes are filled with comedic banter but in the end, you find out that through this ordeal, the husband realizes he still loves his wife. They stay together, have a baby, and the entire time you’re thinking, “this seems too good to be true.” And sure enough in the last scene, Meg Ryan passes Justin Long in the street and they exchange looks. The husband notices. And then he realizes: it was all a set up. She hired Justin Long to rob them, scare the crap out of them, and all in the name of making a husband love a wife again.
Of course, your initial reaction is one of outrage (and you’re not alone; just look to the right) because their happiness is based on a lie she formulated. But then I thought harder on it. She manipulated the situation on purpose, yes, but through the situation he paused to reflect on his decision. I know it was a forced reflection but is that necessarily bad when what you need to see is only exposed by force? Both characters came to see things in themselves and their lives that they never would have otherwise. Through the “fake situation” they actually started talking about something real, about the problems in their marriage, the things they hated about one another and themselves. And from that discussion, their love was rekindled a little. Is that love fake just because what brought it about was manufactured artificially?
I honestly don’t know. I want to say, “Yes of course it is!” because I’d like to think that fate and cosmic mystery brought me to my love. But it makes you think: is it “fake love” when a man purposefully arranges seating at the dinner table so he can sit next to his crush? Is it “fake” when she intentionally stands longer at the bus stop until her crush arrives? Is her love “fake” just because her orgasm wasn’t real? Is it “fake” when she lies about knowing how to fish so he’ll talk to her longer? What about when a girl has fake boobs or tons of makeup or dyes her hair; is that not just another form of artificial manipulation? There are so many purposeful, misleading things we do in life in order to get what we want. Is what we do really so different from staging a fake break in to make your love love you again?
One could argue if you really do love someone (the kind of romantic, passionate love we all consider “true love”), it doesn’t ever leave. By this logic that would mean Meg Ryan did not “make him love her” but more “made him rediscover her.” Also, he can’t be that surprised that his wife pulled such a manipulative stunt; all he said throughout the movie was how “crazy” she is, how crazy she’s always been. If you really know the person you’re with, you can’t fault them for their actions all the time.
Rationalization aside, Meg played a crazy bitch and that crap will piss off anyone so don’t try it for fun!