I haven’t been a massive fan of romantic comedies since I was a stupid tween but I can definitely see the appeal this year. There is so much awful stuff going on in the world that escaping into a rom-com seems like the perfect thing to do. There is a familiarity about these films that is pretty comforting. You know where you’re going to end up before you’ve even started, so you can just sit down and let it all wash over you. Considering the rest of the world is in utter turmoil, there’s a lot to be said to knowing what to expect. This is my only explanation for sitting down to watch the new Netflix original romantic comedy despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t really going to enjoy it.
If you’ve been forced to sit through even part of the trailer for this film, then you’ll know what the story is going to be. Hell, if you read the synopsis for this film then you can tell how things are going to turn out. Damon Wayans Jr. plays Nick, an ex-baseball star who is trying and failing to find love. After going on 1,000 dates through an internet dating site, Nick decides to sue the company for failing to live up to their love guarantee. The lawyer that he takes his case to is Susan, played by Rachael Leigh Cook. Susan is a well-meaning kind of lawyer which is causing her to struggle financially. She is also a workaholic without any kind of love life. It doesn’t take a genius, does it?
This film doesn’t excite in any way because it is both horrendously obvious and incredibly twee. The final act looks like something from a parody you’d see on SNL or something. It won’t set the world on fire but, if this is your sort of thing, you’ll appreciate it. The two leads are both charming and do have an interesting chemistry. The films tries very hard to push the idea that these are both good people, which means that they become one-dimensional clichés instead of well developed characters. She is moralistic lawyer who spends her free time fighting for the little guy. She refuses to chase anyone for money, so her practice is struggling.
The film has to work slightly harder to make Nick seem like a good guy. After all, he’s been on 1000 first dates and, instead of trying to get something out of it, he’s suing the dating company for $1 million. You might ask, how all of these women could have been bad enough not to deserve even a second date? Or why we should be sympathetic to a man who fits in 3 dates every day? Thankfully, the film goes to great lengths to prove that he’s worth it. For one thing, none of the women he’s dated have a bad thing to say about him and seem perfectly find that they were one in a long line of others. For another, he wants to donate his winnings to the hospital he works for.
Still, there is an awful lot of questionable stuff here. The jokes are all pretty one-note and feel like a Boomers idea of what Tinder is like. The kind of attitude that could only come from someone who has been away from the dating scene for a few decades. The majority of humour here relies on the same old tired tropes we’ve seen abused countless times before and it wears thin quickly. As do the stereotypical supporting characters and subplots. Luckily, this isn’t the kind of film that you need to pay attention to, so if you nod off out of boredom it won’t matter.
By the time the film reaches its saccharine, you’ll be numbed to everything. Whether that makes this an enjoyable experience, I’m not sure but it certainly won’t make you feel worse than you already do. As a way to escape the real world for a bit, there are better ways than Love Guaranteed but there are definitely worse as well. Go in with low expectations and with no hope of originality. Also, don’t question the gender politics too much otherwise you’ll probably just get a bit sad.