Saturday, December 10, 2022

Looking for Her: Movie Review

Slow-moving but cute and sweet with a good lead couple.
Looking for Her opens with two common character types: Taylor (Olivia Buckle) an uptight, hard-working writer who bottles up her feelings and usually ignores her family for Christmas; Olive (Alexandra Swarens) is a perpetually late, behind on rent, struggling actress who has a sweet nature but doesn’t have two dollars to rub together to be able to make good decisions with. Olive is a really easy character to like and the film desperately needs her presence.   2022

Directed by: Alexandra Swarens

Screenplay by: Alexandra Swarens

Starring: Olivia Buckle, Alexandra Swarens

The premise of hiring a stranger to pretend to be a significant other to take home for the holidays is very over-done, but at least this time it’s a lesbian relationship, because that helps. Gay Christmas rom-coms can be hard to find so any entry is worthwhile and at least it’s not a bad movie, but not without its problems.

There’s a lot of awkward dialogue not helped by the fact that Taylor is naturally an awkward character, which also hurts the comedy. The movie takes a long time to establish the premise and we have to endure Taylor going on ‘interview dates’ to find people to pretend to play Jess. This is the bad date montage of rom-coms where main characters go on a series of bad dates with people that are caricatures of real people, and these montages are never as funny as they’re supposed to be.

Jess is a real ex and she’s out of the picture but Taylor’s not ready to tell her parents about the break-up. So now she’s paying somebody $1000 to pretend to be her girlfriend for the holidays. Unsurprisingly, this is where Olive enters the picture since we’ve already established that she’s an actress in need of money, and yet, it takes close to half the movie before Olive meets Taylor and the story is finally ready to start.

This is a slow-moving movie with too much set-up since these aren’t particularly complicated characters to understand and mostly accompanied by weaker actors who can’t help elevate the leads (except Adrienne Ogle as Olive’s lesbian roommate Kai, she’s a lot of fun with only a small handful of scenes). The leads at least have good chemistry. Alexandra Swarens just radiates on screen as the easy-going Olive – the type of person that everybody would want to take home for Christmas and the type of person that every parent is going to love.

Back at home, Taylor is struggling to keep up with her parents’ supposed expectations of her, meanwhile Olive is falling in love with Taylor for real and the rest of the world (other characters and the audience included) are falling in love with Taylor and Olive as a couple.

Looking for Her works much better as a drama than as a comedy. The comedic moments all fall flat, but Taylor and Olive make a great rom-com couple and the film hits the right emotional notes when their fake relationship runs into real stumbling blocks. By the end, it ultimately works as a cute and sweet Christmas rom-com.

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