Netflix Original “Love, Guaranteed” was released on Netflix on Sep. 3 as a cheesy, cookie cutter romantic comedy about a lawyer and her client who challenge an online dating service’s guarantee that users will find love within 1000 dates.
down with dating apps!!! (jk I'm still single)LOVE, GUARANTEED, a new modern rom-com starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr., and Heather Graham, arrives on Netflix 3 September 💘 pic.twitter.com/N3uEwE2Utz— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) August 20, 2020
Kind-hearted lawyer Susan (Rachael Leigh Cook) and her lovelorn client Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.) individually gave acceptable performances, but together their dynamic fell flat. The characters had no chemistry and the scenes in which they were supposed to be growing closer to one another were cringey and uncomfortable.
The relationship felt forced and many of the events meant to show the development of their relationship were unrealistic. It made the film seem cheap and the writing lazy. One wouldn’t believe that two people, having gone through what the characters did, could have fallen head-over-heels in love with each other.
Susan follows Nick on a date to spy on him, then runs into one of her old dates who blows her cover. He does so by passing out in front of her because he only eats during one hour of the day and was drunk out of his mind, then she catches him salsa-dip style before he hits the ground. It is just a ridiculous scene to allow Nick and Susan to go on a spontaneous date.
With the romance in this film failing, one would hope the comedy could pick up the slack, but this aspect fails as well. It relies on chaotic and nonsensical situations which are reminiscent of the type of humor you would find in a Disney Channel show.
For instance, Nick and Susan babysit Susan’s nephew, Oliver (Sebastian Billingsley-Rodriguez) one night and they can’t get him to go to bed. After he makes fun of Susan for trying to “lawyer” a child into going to sleep, Nick gives the kid an entire pint of ice cream in exchange for laying down in his bed. That isn’t funny, its just stupid and would never actually work to calm a kid down.
The film follows the classic Hallmark movie format. A cute, quirky girl embarrassingly bumps into a charming, handsome man, they are awkward at first, then they grow closer. Something gets in the way of their relationship and then, surprise, love wins out in the end.
So goes the exact plot of “Love, Guaranteed.” Overdone and unoriginal. The movie is too short to allow any of the characters to develop enough that you care about them. The audience learns almost nothing about either Nick or Susan’s lives beyond their respective occupations, and what we do learn about them is presented so vaguely that it doesn’t really matter.
The emotion between the leads is flat; they aren’t awkward enough at the beginning and they don’t fall for each other enough as the movie goes on. Neither character has any substantial character arc individually either. There is no sweetheart change or revelation that brings the two together...it just happens.
Furthermore, the basic premise of the movie is weak at best. Nick is suing an online dating service, LoveGuaranteed, for misleading advertising and its fine print guarantee that users will find love within 1000 dates. The issue is that a guarantee implies an “or else.” Companies don’t just guarantee things in absolute terms. Realistically, the guarantee would be something like “you’ll find love or you get your subscription fee back.”
A better premise would have been if there was no written guarantee about a certain number of dates and it was only the service’s name that was the issue. Then, there would be grounds for bringing a suit for misleading advertising.
Susan’s argument in court doesn’t even make sense. She just brings in a bunch of Nick’s dates to testify about how genuine he was and that he wasn’t just taking them out to fill his 1000 date quota. She would have had a better argument if she had focused on the feasibility of quantifying love in more than a cursory manner instead of establishing Nick’s character as a date.
By far, the best characters in the film are Susan’s assistants Roberto (Sean Amsing) and Denise (Lisa Durupt). The pair bring life and humor to this awkward film with their banter and whispered comments. Though they only have supporting roles in the film, their sarcasm and passive aggressive tones will resonate with a contemporary audience.
Simply put, “Love, Guaranteed” is a nonevent. The plot of the film is fundamentally flawed, there is no emotion between the characters, only an ounce of humor and a rushed, convenient ending. Not to be offensive, but not worth the hour and a half it takes to watch it.
RATING: 1/5 stars
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