8 Of The Shortest Movie Proposals Ever — Because 'While You Were Sleeping's Jack & Lucy Got Engaged Crazy Fast
While You Were Sleeping was an essential rom-com when I was a growing up (I even owned the VHS — I was that committed to the movie) even though While You Were Sleeping has one of the quickest marriage proposals in film history. I mean, what's more romantic than being in love with a stranger, saving him from an oncoming subway train, lying to his family that you're his fiancée while he's in a coma, and then actually falling in love with his brother? Romance alert! As I've grown older (and more realistic/jaded — whichever way you choose to look at it), the ridiculousness of the plot of While You Were Sleeping is outrageously apparent. But Bill Pullman is still super endearing as the crotchety furniture-making, younger brother of Peter Gallagher, who falls for the adorable, fresh-faced Sandra Bullock.
Yet, as cute as the whole messed-up premise of While You Were Sleeping can deceivingly be, I will not buy the whole sped-up wedding proposals that rom-coms try to sell us. I hate how quickly people in movies say the "L" word, let alone when they decide to get married after only a couple weeks (or days!) of knowing each other. Pullman's Jack inevitably proposes to Bullock's Lucy at the end of While You Were Sleeping, even though their relationship before then was based on a major lie. Since While You Were Sleeping turns 20 in 2015, I went back to some of the quickest marriage proposals in romantic movies of the last 30 years. (I can't account for the wacky, quick-paced love stories of yesteryear, even if Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is the best movie of all-time.) Check out these eight films that if you were friends with the characters, you'd tell them to slow their roll before making a major matrimonial mistake.
Movies love to have women who are planning to marry jerks fall in love with someone else and marry him instead. Leap Year, starring Amy Adams as Anna and Matthew Goode as Declan, is in this category (with Adam Scott's Jeremy being that said jerk). The premise is that it's a tradition in Ireland for a woman to propose to her boyfriend (instead of the other way around — how shocking!) on Feb. 29. Anna travels to Ireland to surprise Jeremy with a proposal and hires an Irish guide (Declan) — who ends up winning her heart on their couple days journey to Dublin. She gets engaged to Jeremy, but ends it and returns to Ireland to date Declan. But he has other plans and proposes to her — because knowing each other for three days (where you fought the whole time) and sharing one really good kiss (while you were dating someone else) makes for an ideal marriage setup. (But really, how could you say no to Matthew Goode proposing to you on an Irish cliffside? It would take a stronger woman than I to refuse.)
The Wedding Singer
The Wedding Singer has one of the sweetest proposals ever (probably the sweetest in-air proposal ever), but I take issue with any proposal that takes place while the other person is technically engaged to someone else. Yeah, Glenn Gulia was the worst and Julia and Robbie should have been together, but Adam Sandler's Robbie was getting over being left at the altar, and Drew Barrymore's Julia was planning her wedding to Glenn. They shared one amazing kiss and it led to Robbie getting on an airplane to stop Julia from marrying Glenn and singing "Grow Old With You." Although I have issues with the timeline, the movie is all about weddings and I consider Sandler and Barrymore's first collaboration to be one of the best modern-day rom-coms. And hey, the plot is more feasible than 50 First Dates (yet another Sandler-Barrymore rom-com gem).
There are tons of intertwining love stories in Love Actually, so it's hard to believe that there's only one marriage proposal in the movie — especially since the film touts that people confess they love each other during Christmas. Colin Firth as Uncle Jamie proposes to his Portuguese maid Aurélia (portrayed by Lúcia Moniz) who took care of him and his house in France after he found his brother sleeping with his girlfriend. (There's that weird brother thing like in While You Were Sleeping.) Who cares if Jamie and Aurélia never spoke the same language in any of their interactions? Love knows no language! (Except for the fact they both had to learn the other person's language to make that marriage proposal happen . . . )
Perhaps best known as the movie in which Cher won the Academy Award for Best Actress, Moonstruck has Cher as Loretta, who is engaged to Johnny. While Johnny is out of town, she falls in love with his estranged brother, Ronny (portrayed by Nicolas Cage). When Johnny ends the engagement to Loretta, Ronny proposes to her with the same ring. What the hell is with these movies where people fall in love with their significant other's siblings? It could have something to do with the shared DNA, but snap out of it! Family reunions must be real awkward.
Kate & Leopold
Meg Ryan was the reigning queen of rom-coms in the '80s and '90s, so expectations were high in 2001 with Kate & Leopold. Even with Hugh Jackman, the film is lacking, but Jackman's Leopold sweeps Ryan's Kate off her feet after he travels to the 2000s from the 1800s. When he goes back to his own time, he must decide on a bride for the sake of his family, and when Kate appears (after her own time traveling), he announces her as his wife (sorry, Kristen Schaal!). Although it wasn't a formal proposal, it was a declaration of marriage with only a few days of knowing each other — and being from completely different time periods.
Fools Rush In
Although Matthew Perry's Alex and Salma Hayek's Isabel had the reason of a baby to get married after a one-night stand, Fools Rush In still counts as one of the quickest marriage turnarounds in movie history. When Isabel finds Alex to tell him that she's pregnant after their brief sexual encounter, they get married in Las Vegas (Isabel's family are strict Catholics). Alex and Isabel end up getting divorced, but married again after their baby girl is born at the Hoover Dam. (A scene that I recreated while visiting Hoover Dam.)
Three Men And A Little Lady
Here's one of those movies scenarios where one wedding is canceled, and another takes place instead . . . with the same bride. (Hey! You already paid for the event, might as well host a wedding.) Three Men and a Little Lady is a sequel to Three Men and a Baby (which was based off of a French film) and Tom Selleck's Peter falls in love with Sylvia, the mother of the titular baby and little lady, Mary. Sylvia is about to marry the real British asshole Edward when Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia (AKA Fiona Shaw) reveals that Edward wants to send Mary to boarding school forever (the worst fate for a British child!). Peter sweeps in at the altar and Sylvia decides to marry him right then and there. I blame this movie for all of my messed up views of romance as a child. Cue Boy Meets Girl's "Waiting for a Star to Fall"!
Romeo + Juliet
OK, this is definitely not a rom-com, but William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the greatest story of star-crossed lovers ever (the play coined the phrase!). And the play was adapted by Baz Luhrmann in 1996 as the hip Romeo + Juliet. Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo and Claire Danes's Juliet's few day relationship (and marriage) may be absurd, but the tragic romance erases all cynicism. It is unbelievable that two teenagers in the '90s would need to resort to getting married to prove their love, but since the film was based on the original text from the 1500s, I'll let it slide. But even another modern telling of Romeo and Juliet — West Side Story — knows that you don't need to get married in a hurry to have an epic love story. Rom-coms: take note.