Love, Guaranteed

In need of a good old fashioned romantic comedy?

Like the vast majority of human beings this century, Nick joins a dating site after a failed relationship, looking for love. And looking and looking and looking. Since the site literally guarantees love, the next place he eventually looks is the fine print: guaranteed, it reads, as long as you’ve gone on 1000 dates. So he does.

Does that seem like a lot? Yes it does. How does he do it? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates. But no one ever works out. There’s the one who brings her parents, the one who’s allergic to everything, the one who jumps the gun…no one is quite right. So while he’s a perfect gentleman on the dates, Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.) keeps a file on each and every one of them because he’s building a case. When he’s got date #986 in the bank, he looks up lawyer Susan Whitaker (Rachel Leigh Cook), a hard working litigator with a reputation for crusading for just causes. She’s not overly keen on this case but she is rather keen on keeping the lights on in her fledgling little office, so she takes it, and the rest is history.

You know the kind of movie this is and so you know the path is must take to get to where it’s obviously going. It is not a long and winding road; it’s pretty darn straight forward. There are, however, some nice ornamental benches along the way, a few surprisingly tasteful streetlamps, and even some lovely flower beds lining the path.

I’m usually the last person to say this about a traditional rom-com, but it didn’t suck. Late 90s it-girl Cook pops up from out of nowhere and has some pretty believable chemistry with Wayans. Heather Graham plays a Gwyneth Paltrow type with a Goop-like empire. Even Susan’s ugly little car, haunted by the ghost of Tiffany, is so ugly it’s cute. Plus, the script by  Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy is just a little smarter than the usual Hallmark-y stuff we’re stuck with lately (thanks to a chasm left by Nora Ephron in the genre). The two leads have cute, sparky banter, the supporting roles have identifiable personality traits, and there are fun little side-bars lampooning namaste bullshit and the fad diet trend of intermittent fasting. What’s not to love?

Wait: did I just say love? Love is a many-splendored thing but let me be clear that this review is NOT guaranteeing that you will love this movie. Only that should you tolerate rom-coms fairly well, this one is a nice addition to the lineup, and is now available to stream on Netflix.

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