Friday, November 5, 2021

Love Hard: Movie Review

Some bad writing, but funny characters deliver a mostly entertaining rom-com.
There’s a lot of bad writing at the beginning to get past, but eventually Love Hard delivers a reasonably funny and entertaining rom-com. It starts with our lead character, Natalie (Nina Dobrev), narrating her life. She’s a successful writer of a ‘bad at love’ blog (which gives some scary Sex and the City flashbacks) and she then turns to online dating because there are just no good men in Los Angeles.   2021

Directed by: Hernan Jimenez

Screenplay by: Daniel Mackey, Rebecca Ewing

Starring: Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang

We, as a society, have evolved past the need for Sex and the City, but I’m afraid Natalie hasn’t. I’m also pretty sure that every single person from a city other than LA think there’s a lack of good men everywhere. Especially considering how superficial Natalie is, I don’t think LA is the problem. As I said, the beginning has a lot of very bad writing, but it gets much better.

Apparently, Lake Placid is where it’s at. Natalie meets Josh online, he’s hot and perfect. They bond over an argument of whether Love Actually or Die Hard is the better Christmas movie. The writers not only just put those two movies together to get the title, they also took the most annoying Twitter conversations and turned it into love at first text. Natalie is so in love she’s ready to take it into real life and flies to Lake Placid to meet Josh, who of course is not what she was expecting at all.

Most Netflix rom-coms are well cast, and this is no exception. All of the main actors fit their characters really well and add to the shenanigans. The real Josh is Jimmy O. Yang who is still living with his parents and living under the shadow of his deliciously evil and competitive brother Owen (Harry Shum Jr.). The not real Josh, but the online image of Josh, is Tag (Darren Barnet), who’s supposedly perfect because he’s hot, but Tag’s a better character than expected.

Love Hard (L to R) Darren Barnet as Tag and Nina Dobrev as Natalie Bauer. Cr: Bettina Strauss / Netflix © 2021.

The plot is a whole lot of misunderstandings purposely perpetuated by all the characters for their individual needs. Josh gets Natalie to pretend to be his girlfriend to at least get through Christmas with his family, Natalie is going to pretend to be Josh’s cousin in an effort to meet and fall in love with Tag, and as expected things blow up in their faces, but at least the audience is brought along for an entertaining ride.

Early on Natalie has an argument with her uber driver over whether “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a nice 40s throwback song or a song about rape. An argument that gets repeated on Twitter every single year. However, it builds to a fantastic scene. Josh’s family is Christmas caroling, led by Owen (and if you didn’t recognize his name, Harry Shum Jr is a Glee alum) who tries to turn caroling into a competition. When “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is requested, Josh volunteers himself and Natalie. I was expecting a gender reversal, but it’s better. Natalie sings the traditional female role; Josh changes his lyrics. Such a clever update to the song, and perfectly incorporated into the movie. Which then furthers the plot since Owen can’t let Josh win at anything.

The movie is predictable, I think we all know who Natalie ends up with, but all of the main characters have chemistry with one another. One thing I hate about rom-coms is when people have to pretend they like something in order to impress someone else – this is Natalie with Tag. But Tag has an excellent response when he becomes privy to all the lies.

Love Hard has some uneven and bad writing to get past, and while the plot advances as expected, it all works. The characters are funny and deliver a mostly entertaining romantic comedy.

Want a different Christmas movie or just more holiday-themed-movies? Holiday Movies