Director Roger Kumble, whose impressive resume includes Cruel Intentions, Just Friends and episodes of Entourage, Revenge and Suits, has teamed up with Netflix to create a film that doesn’t deserve to be in the same sentence as any of those.
It’s a rom-com practically drowning in cliches, called Falling Inn Love.
Singer-turned-actress Christina Milian plays Gabriela Diez, a twenty-something American woman climbing the corporate ladder. Gabriela has every last detail of her life planned out, right down to perfectly placed Krispy Kremes for the colleagues she is about to wow with her environmentally-friendly product pitch.
That is until everything seems to implode at once. Her company folds and the boyfriend she hoped to marry won’t commit to having a drawer at her house, much less to her plan that they move in together.
Thrown by life’s cruel rug-pulling, she spends a night wallowing with white wine and wakes up realizing she entered (and won) a competition that makes her the proud new owner of a B&B. It’s on the other side of the world, in the kind of town where you can’t fart without people finding out, in beautiful New Zealand.
It’s a short-lived feeling though as she discovers that, like most profile pictures on the internet, the picture of the inn was from some decades ago- before it fell into disrepair.
As luck would have it, she has a chance encounter with the tiny town’s resident tradie, Jake (Aussie Adam Demos) who also happens to be the town’s most handsome and surprisingly eligible bachelor.
Set on proving that she’s an independent woman who can survive just fine without his mansplaining, Gabriela heads down a DIY path to renovate it, flip it and return to her “real life” in San Francisco.
She can’t seem to leave the house without running straight into Jake though and his laid back charm and criminally good abs begin to make her reconsider her once perfectly planned life.
Falling Inn Love is as corny as its title. Its humour is the simple kind that relies on a lot of physical comedy, clumsy Kiwis and a goat popping up when you least expect him.
Given the mammoth amount of titles to choose from on Netflix, unless you are a die-hard rom-com fan who’s already binged the whole genre, there’s every chance you’ll turn this off after the first painful ten minutes in search of something better.
If you get past that point though, then you may well find yourself so drawn in by the chemistry of the romantic leads that you’ll watch on until the end in spite of yourself. Yes, kind of like a car crash.
The romantic pairing is sweet to watch even if the plot relies on incredibly unlikely events to move the story forward. Demos (who you may recognise from Home and Away or The Bachelor spoof Unreal) is easily the most natural presence in the entire film (possibly too natural as he seems to do little to adopt a Kiwi twang). The rest of the cast seems to act deliberately cartoonish, even Milian, however, she does begin to soften when playing opposite Demos.
Almost all of the New Zealand natives are made to look like bumbling idiots in an attempt to draw a few more laughs and the picturesque setting doesn’t get played-up as much as it should because the film has such a TV movie feel about it.
The leads’ chemistry, some likable townies and the gorgeous New Zealand countryside are really the film’s only pros though. When you’re not sufficiently distracted by these, you’ll find yourself wondering whether Falling Inn Love is awfully good at making fun of rom-coms or just plain awful. If you hang in there until the fire scene, you’ll know what I mean. There’s pacing issues, unnatural dialogue and a weak predictable script underpinning it all.
Despite its cutesy chemistry, Falling Inn Love is a completely forgettable fluff piece and I’m betting Roger Kumble will be quite happy for you to forget it too.
SEE IT if…
All you really want is to see shirtless Adam Demos
You’re having rom-com withdrawals
SKIP IT if…
You haven’t seen Just Friends
You don’t like goats
It gets 2 stars out of 5.
Not your thing?
Read another review.