We know how the story goes, but we can’t stop asking for more. So, if you adored Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney in ‘Anyone But You,’ give these movies and series a shot too!
From ’90s classics to YA fiction, fake dating tropes never disappoint. At this point, we know the plot like the back of our hand, but what can I say—it’s our guilty pleasure. This weekend proved it, as people were obsessing over Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney’s rom-com, Anyone But You.
With amazing pre-show promotions, a rollercoaster ride of relationship rumors, and the ~chef’s kiss~ chemistry between these co-stars (it’s a Glen Powell rom-com after all), we were on the edge of our seats until its silver screen debut. The movie unfolds a fake relationship in the backdrop of a destination wedding, sprinkled with a touch of enemies-to-lovers and even second-chance romance. Oh, and it also got Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten stuck in our heads.
If Anyone But You struck a chord, buckle up for a binge-watch session—here are 10 fake dating tropes in films and series that deserve your immediate attention.
Bridgerton: The Duke & I (2020)
When it’s a brother’s best friend, play-pretend, and regency romance trope rolled into one Netflix series, I know we all binge-watched Bridgerton: The Duke & I the minute it started streaming. With three seasons and a whole lot of royal drama, we’re following the story of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), the Duke of Hastings from the first season.
As the plot thickens with a convenient courtship, what sets this series apart is its portrayal of life after the main characters have fallen in love. Let’s be honest—we’ve all been a bit curious about what happens once the main characters spill their feelings, and the credits roll.
Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
Before DonBelle’s series, Can’t Buy Me Love, who knew there’s a movie with the same title that stars a young Patrick Dempsey? In this high school love story, our Dr. Derek Shepherd plays a nerd named Ronald who, in his desperation to fit in, pays a popular girl, Cindy (Amanda Peterson)—who is also in trouble after accidentally destroying her mother’s designers—to be his girlfriend.
Apart from being an 80s under-the-radar rom-com, it’s one of those films that tries to ridicule the high school hierarchy. So, next time you’re in the mood for some teenage drama, don’t forget to stream this hidden gem.
Decoy Bride (2011)
In the whimsical world of Katie (Kelly MacDonald), who’s left high and dry at the altar, convinced herself she’s done with wedding bells. Little does she suspect that Hollywood royalty Lara (Alice Eve) has chosen their island as the hush-hush venue for her star-studded nuptials with the dashing James (David Tennant).
Cue the crashing chaos. With paparazzi hot on Lara’s trail, she needs a decoy bride to throw them off. Enter Katie, ready to wear white and play pretend. But in a hilarious mix-up, she finds herself hitched to James, leaving Lara to vanish in the madness. Whether you love the film or not, The Decoy Bride is one wild ride, reminding us that paparazzi often overlook the fact that celebrities are human beings who deserve privacy too.
Just Go with It (2011)
Adam Sandler’s humor has always been a hit or miss, but when paired with Jennifer Aniston, he seems to hit the mark more often than not. Enter the 2011 romantic comedy Just Go With It, where we see Danny Maccabee (Adam Sandler) pretending to be ‘married, but heartbroken’ for hassle-free future dates.
The lies hold up until he meets the woman of his dreams, who isn’t keen on getting involved with a ‘married man.’ Rather than coming clean with his scheme, Danny ropes in Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his soon-to-be-ex-wife.
Love Hard (2021)
Natalie (Nina Dobrev) discovers her dream guy on a dating app, and in the name of Christmas romance, jets off to his country to spend the holidays. But wait, she soon realizes the Grinch-level revelation that she has been catfished.
In the wacky wonderland of Netflix’s holiday flicks, Love Hard flips the script on the classic fake relationship ruse. From catfishing calamities to love in the time of Wi-Fi, Love Hard keeps things real and relatable. Because, let’s be honest, who hasn’t found themselves knee-deep in the worst-case scenarios of online dating?
Love in Contract (2022)
If you’re in for a binge-watching weekend, Love in Contract is your best bet for a fake dating series. While K-Dramas are guilty pleasures known for their predictable but feel-good romantic comedies, this series doesn’t follow your typical play-pretend.
Starring What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim’s Park Min-Young and Reply 1988’s Go Kyung-Pyo, it tells the story of a ‘girlfriend for hire’ helper service for people who need to put on a show for family gatherings and school reunions—now, that’s a bright business idea.
With the predictable plot of fake relationships, where the two main characters casually agree on mutual convenience, the 2018 remake of Overboard takes an unexpected turn. Starring Anna Faris, this film tells the story of an out-of-touch yacht owner thrown overboard, losing his memory in the process. Enter his mistreated employee who convinces him that he’s her working-class husband.
She’s All That (1999)
She’s All That is like the OG rom-com that dives deep into the drama of high school hierarchy and popularity contests. Picture this: Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) goes through an unexpected breakup, and in his moment of post-heartbreak wisdom, he convinces himself he can turn any girl into the next big thing by making her his girlfriend. That’s right, he’s on a mission to transform an ordinary girl into Prom Queen material in just six weeks.
Now, enter the wild proposal from his buddies—a bet! And the chosen guinea pig for this epic transformation? None other than Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook), an artsy, unpopular student. It’s like the universe conspired to set the stage for the ultimate makeover montage.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
With a novel trilogy turned blockbuster, enter the book boyfriend material Noah Centeneo in the lead role, turning To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before into its own unforgettable era. Following the brainchild of Jenny Han, the story revolves around Lara-Jean (Lana Condor), your high-school introvert who used to pour her heart into unsent love letters to crushes. Fast forward, her sneaky sister actually mailed the love letters.
To salvage her sanity, Lara-Jean dives headfirst into a fake relationship with one of her crushes, who conveniently also needed help making his ex-girlfriend jealous. As if the chemistry between the main characters didn’t already have us glued to the screen, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the ultimate feel-good high school love story—because who can resist a plot sprinkled with teenage antics and heart-fluttering romance?
Wedding Season (2022)
Tom Dey seems to have a soft spot for fake dating schemes, as evidenced by his 2006 film Failure to Launch. However, in the 2022 release of Wedding Season, Dey takes a more traditional approach to the trope, centering the story around Asha Maurya (Pallavi Sharda) and Ravi Shah (Suraj Sharma).
These two are part of a close-knit Indian community in the USA, and they decide to play pretend for their friends’ weddings with a simple goal: to get rid of their overbearing relatives. While the storyline may sound familiar, what sets this film apart is its exploration of the trope within the context of non-Western culture. Picture the tea and drama when Asian aunties are thrown into the mix—it’s a refreshing and culturally rich take on a well-loved plot point.
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