There's no denying the allure of a good romantic comedy. Endlessly quotable lines, solvable conflicts and, usually, a happy ending tied up with a nice, big, neat bow. But what happens after our heroes seal the deal with a big kiss and the credits roll?
This Valentine's Day, MTV News decided we need more than the 90-odd minutes of a typical romantic movie. We consulted Dr. Lawrence Rubin, a professor of psychology at St. Thomas University in Miami, to give us his professional opinion on whether some of our favorite movie couples lasted long after the movie was over.
Here's his take.
Jamie and Aurelia, "Love Actually": In It To Win It
"They were friends first," Rubin says, which is a strong indicator, to him, that the relationship would last. "There wasn't that groping, you know, sexualized pressure, even though he did take a gander at her when she was diving into the water. I think that that relationship has a solid foundation because it didn't start in bed."
"These two, they were mature, subdued, and sort of lost and they came together in a meaningful way. I think they had obstacles, you know, they weren't mountainous obstacles, but because it was a friendship and a trust and a caring, I think their foundation is strong and my prediction is they'll be fine because they worked hard at connecting with each other.
"They worked hard to connect, even to the point of learning languages, and in anticipation of the possibility [of romance]... I think they really worked at it from the beginning and it wasn't going to be a trifling relationship. … There was this constant need to communicate with each other. There was an incredible honestly that each one of them had and I think the language barrier is definitely surmountable with them."
Karen and Harry, "Love Actually": Probably Not
Sure, Harry cheated, but Karen stood by for years, Rubin said.
"They allowed complicity and collusion and distance to [break them]," he said. "I think they were both lazy. Certainly, she was a hundred percent committed to the kids and allowed that to nurture her and accepted the scarves on each birthday. I think there was complicity and collusion between the two of them. He stepped out, so it looks like he's the villain and she looks like she's the victim because she was stepped out on or stepped on.
"Finding the necklace could have been a stimulus for change and it just depends on the extent to which they think the relationship is retrievable -- but not from where it left off. I think their challenge is greater because they have to rebuild from the foundation. I think it was 30 years of scarves, and kids, and other commitments and I think their challenge is far greater because I think their foundation was weak for many, many years.
"My guess is that they're not going to [make it], my hope is that they will, only if they recognize how much work really has to be done to rebuild the fabric, not just put some patches and some stitches."
John and Judy, "Love Actually": True Love
"I love them! I think that was a bizarre and wonderful way to start a relationship," Rubin said. "Now, here they are, doing what society thinks is the most intimate, the most sexy, and there was no intimacy. The intimacy and respect had to build with the pseudo-sex as a distractor.
"I love their relationship. I think they love each other and they can't even tell people how they met because they are so embarrassed. I think it was ludicrous but I think it was also very powerful because they were able to, I guess, sort of neutralize the distraction of that pseudo-sex and build, you know, a kind and caring and sensitive relationship, almost teenage-like, you know, very shy with each other even though they are, you know, f--king."
Prime Minister David and Natalie, "Love Actually": Growing Old Together
"I love them both, I would marry either one of them!" Rubin said, adding a strong vote of confidence for the couple. "I think the playfulness of [the relationship] will liberate him. You know, he did that Tom Cruise scene, dancing down the steps with the music. So, he is a very serious high-level powerful world stage politician who hasn't abandoned his playfulness and I think that was attractive to him in her and I think that is really a plus for longevity in a relationship.
"Her, I don't think she'd give a s--t if he was cleaning the streets of London or leading the world. I think she loves the guy. I think it's genuine, I think it's real, you know, as real as it could be, and I have great hopes that he will retire from politics and they will live in a charming little cottage in the English countryside somewhere and they'll have, you know, three little ones."
Colin and Harriet, "Love Actually": Fun For Today, Not For Long
It's great to play, but did Colin Frissel, god of sex, make it work with Harriet from Wisconsin? Not so fast, says Rubin.
"Colin needs to grow up. I think he's playing, and he's having a damn good time playing, and I think he's a little delusional that all you need to do is go to America and talk in a British accent and you'll get the girl -- but he did," he said. "I'd like to think that playful and romantic delusions last. I think Colin is sort of a voice for people who watch these movies and hope that just because you want it, it'll happen.
"So, I think he is capable of long-term relationships -- not now -- but why impose that on him? He is playing, he's having fun, you know? I think he'll have a chance to make this relationship work but he'll have to grow up some. Yeah, after his luster for Harriet wears off and that whole pilgrimage to America to get laid numerous times. Who walks into a bar in f--king Wisconsin and gets laid?! Fantastic place!"
Harry and Sally, "When Harry Met Sally": A Solid Foundation
When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, that doesn't necessarily mean you will. Rubin, however, thinks that the duo's turbulent history gets the hard work out of the way early. "I think it has a potential to last because they really climbed mountains together and, you know, it wasn't easy-going, and they had to fight for each other, and fight with themselves to open up to each other," he said. "I think the relationship was front-loaded with a lot of work. And I think for that reason it has a really solid foundation."
"You know, they didn't meet at a bar and get laid. They didn't meet online with all kinds of illusions and delusions. I think they had to put a lot of ghosts and demons to bed, or at least in place, in order to get to the point of really connecting. So for that reason I think it can last. But they're turbulent, emotional, very intelligent people and I think they'll clash and they'll fight. And, you know, maybe in 30 years they'll have the same conversation in a bagel place. She'll fake an orgasm again. I think there will be ups and downs in that relationship because of who they are. But I think they have a really solid base because it was hard-earned and hard-won."
Anna and William, "Notting Hill": It's A Toss-Up
She's just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her, but is that enough? Maybe.
"I don't know about this one yet," Rubin said. "She has some issues to work out. You know, she is trying to make peace with her mortality and her commonness. She wants very much, I think, to be him. I think she wants a simple life. I think she has aspired all her life and has achieved global celebrity, so I think there is this dichotomy in her that she wants the simplicity and anonymity but she has also been bathed in the glow of Hollywood for decades and she is comparing herself to Garbo and Dietrich. So, I think she's got demons and it's going to be a tough life for him. I think she has more demons to conquer than his because that schism in her between the desire for simplicity and anonymity and a little cottage in the English countryside. I think he is what he'll always be. I think he will be the stabilizing force in the relationship and if she can commit herself long enough to the work that needs to be done to reconcile mortality and, you know, those existential truths, you know, that dust in the wind, I think they have a chance, but it's guarded for me."
"I think she wants it but she's going to fight against it. She might even have to leave the cinema in order to have what she really wants. So, I think for her it's going to be a matter of choosing dreams.
For him, his dream is simple, you know, simple little bookshelf in downtown London with someone who loves him unconditionally. I think he'll always be that stabilizing force. She'll always be that helium balloon and I think that relationship depends on his ability to stay on course, as Hugh Grant always does, and her ability to grow into a more mature, middle-aged woman who really has a clear sense of what is important and can pursue it."
Mona Lisa and Vinny, "My Cousin Vinny": Til Death Do Us Part
It's not just for yoots, according to Rubin. "I think they're going to fight until their deaths, and I think at the funeral of one of them versus the other, of them will throw themselves on the casket and yell to the heavens, 'You f--ker! How can you leave me?!'" Rubin said. "I think they will fight tooth and nail for the rest of their lives and love each other and never leave each other, because they grew up in the course of that early relationship. She was really able to help him acknowledge humility and vulnerability. You know, 'Oh my god! What a f--king nightmare! You had to ask for help!' I think she took him down a few notches. I think she saw him as so much more real than he allowed himself to. I think she's a medicine for him and, you know, who wouldn't accept the medicine of Marisa Tomei?"
"I think she'll be on his ass until eternity and he'll try to play around, not maybe necessarily sexually, but I think that the way he's wired, he'll f--k with it. He'll mess with the mechanism and he'll continuously challenge her, and if she can weather it long enough, then I think there's a chance but I think they're going to be one of these couples that are just tooth and nail. I think it’s in for the long haul if he can continue to grow up and she allows herself to be valued. ... I think if they can work out a relationship where they both of them have power without the other one feeling slighted in some way, there is a chance. It's going to be at each other for eternity."