Movie #225 2021: Love Hard (2021)

Christmas and romantic comedies are two things that seem to fit together perfectly, aren’t they? Well, the year 2021 certainly thinks so, since 90% of the new Christmas movies this year fall into the romantic and/or comedy genre. Netflix have actually released several new movies this winter season, and by the looks of them all, they’re all rom-coms. There’s gay romance Single All The Way, new Brooke Shields jaunt A Castle for Christmas, and Vanessa Hudgens returns once again in The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star… and there are probably others. Including this one.

Love Hard stars a post-Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev as an overworked Los Angeles magazine columnist who turns to a dating app in order to find true love. Her hopes are rooted in the idea that she can make this story into a feel good article for her next piece. Of course, we all know how dating apps can turn out. Yep, she falls in love with “Josh”, and decides to surprise him by turning up at his house in Lake Placed, New York, only to find out that she’s been catfished. To throw another spanner in the works, she realises that the man in the pictures is actually a real man named Tag, and turns her attention to wooing him while she’s there instead.

Love Hard' Review: Swipe Left on Netflix's Digital-Age Dating Disaster -  Variety

First, I have something to get out of my system. When will modern movies and TV shows stop putting text conversations as graphics on the screen? It’s honestly my least favourite thing ever. There must be a better way of doing this sort of thing. Please be more creative 🙃

Okay, I’ll admit it. This was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Specifically, some of the humour was actually pretty great. The allergic reaction karaoke scene? Wholly unexpected and awkwardly funny. Grandma June? A priceless comedy gem. And some of the one-liners? Proof that the script isn’t all that bad. I’d actually bet that this isn’t the last you’ll see from newcomer co-writers Dan Mackey and Rebecca Ewing.

Love Hard" shows we should all aspire to be like a mouthy, fearless Asian  elder | Salon.com

Sadly, the actual plot is entirely predictable and clichéd. There’s not a single person watching who won’t see where the whole thing is going, but here’s the kicker: it’s actually quite fun watching the journey to the inevitable conclusion. Again, the comedy plays a huge part in that, yet the two leads have enough charisma to keep you interested too. Dobrev – whilst not the world’s best actress – shows some personality, and Jimmy O. Yang is the most charming thing about the entire movie. 

In terms of filmmaking, I really wasn’t expecting much. I mean, do you ever expect much artistry from a standard Christmas movie? Not really. Although Love Hard is pretty average in that respect, I’m pleased to report that it lacks that cheap, tacky feel that a lot of similar movies possess. So… that’s a small win, I guess. 

So while this whole affair is pretty predictable and not massively memorable, its humour will pull you through to the end. It’s just a tad too long for my liking, but there’s are certainly worse Christmas films doing the rounds on Netflix.

Love Hard is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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