“FALLING INN LOVE” is a new rom-com streaming on Netflix starring Christina Milian and Adam Demos. Roger Kumble directs this story that follows a city girl who moves out to the New Zealand countryside when she wins a rustic inn from a contest she randomly entered. Her career path isn’t going as planned. Neither is her love life. So, she takes on the task of renovating it with the help of a kindhearted contractor who also happens to be the small towns most eligible bachelor.
I have a small soft spot for romantic comedies and while some are far superior than others, even many of the cheesier ones are a good time when enough pieces are working in their favor. I didn’t have the highest of expectations for this one and assumed there would be a collection of the familiar tropes that are frequent in the genre. But it looked like a lighthearted, upbeat story that could pull the viewer out into the beautiful countryside as two pretty people are brought together to find the love they’re destined for, so I gave it a shot.
I wasn’t hoping for “Pretty Woman” level rom-com intrigue with this one, but I was hoping for a little substance that could lure me into the usual formulaic antics. However, I have to say this movie really crapped the bed and was a complete drag for a bulk of the already short run-time. For me, the two main issues were the processed feel of the characters, and a story that plugged in so many genre clichés and tropes that the only element feeling even slightly inspired was the rustic New Zealand inn dynamic. Outside of that, nearly every facet felt predictable and simply going through the motions with next to no genuine emotion built.
A rom-com is usually only as strong as the focal couple to be, and how investing it can be to see these two characters find one another despite whatever hurdles come between them. Here there were no authentic hurdles for these two people. Even when there is one worked into the narrative it is so blatant that it doesn’t engage emotional intrigue, as much as it disconnected with me from a clear lack of sincerity. I also felt Milian and Demos were stuffed into such strict character-types that they were never able to make the characters their own. Thus, they didn’t feel like real people. Therefore, there wasn’t that chemistry or spark between them that made me care whether they hooked up or not.
The performances were not the best either. Both Milian and Demos had their moments, but they were few and far between. And when the dramatic tension of the plot would kick in so would the overacting and lack of sincere emotion reactions. But again, the material didn’t help them at all and in my opinion hindered any chance of them being able to add their own personality to the roles. Most of the time was spent delivering recycled dialogue to attempt creating what in the end felt like processed and contrived emotions. It all made this one feel like the definition of by the numbers without any charisma that can appeal to the viewer.
This film went down the checklist and instead of picking a couple elements here and there, decided to grab them all to stitch into a procedural film that built little to no emotional investment. Sadly, the side-characters were the only comical bright spots and that was only at times. The entertainment sort of faltered when centering on the two leads which isn’t a good look for a rom-com. It was lacking its own originality and despite some beautiful backdrops and landscapes, the love this story relied on never felt real and failed to convey much substance that I could invest in.