Almost all successful rom-coms rest on some level of formulated appeal: an unlikely couple in less-than-ideal circumstances, usually set in a dreamy idyllic setting, a cute encounter involving some level of eventually surmountable stress, an epiphany or two, and of course a happy ending.
from netflix love in the village (which, no, has nothing to do with island of love despite the way the title lends itself to something adjacent to a reality show) strictly adheres to this formula.
Our unlikely and wildly attractive partner is umbrella academy‘s Tom Hopper as Charlie and Stiff-Upper Lip the vampires’ diariesKat Graham as the neurotic but romantic Julie. They end up double-booked at a villa in Verona and, in true rom-com fashion, go to great lengths to force the other to leave the villa (instead of, you know, moving on, which we admit wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as a movie).
Most of the runtime is devoted to the shenanigans Charlie and Julie get into, which are hilarious for the first ten minutes and then a drag for the rest (the movie is a staggering 45 hours long when it should have been approached 90).
There’s a little subplot involving Charlie’s wine-buying business, but nothing really hinges on his ability to “do the deal” (unlike another eerily similar one). Netflix romantic comedy A Perfect Pairing).
It’s refreshing to have a female lead who eschews the #girlboss vibes prevalent in contemporary rom-coms, and Graham brings realism to Julie despite the naivety with which she speaks.
Hopper plays the reserved but charming Charlie well, but the character lacks depth beyond that – the idea that there’s more below the surface than the thing itself isn’t compelling enough to make us fall in love with him. , and therefore when Julie does it. it’s a little hard to believe.
Her ex-boyfriend Brandon (Ginny and Georgia‘s Raymond Ablack) has more appeal in his few minutes on screen, even when he leaves Julie on the eve of their trip to Verona and suggests she go alone.
There are typical dumb American tourist moments that bump against stereotypes of Italians in a way where no one walks out feeling good about themselves, but they’re also not funny enough to allow us to laugh at ourselves (and, as Italian-American duality ). citizen, the ‘humor’ beats were particularly chilling for yours truly to see).
The ‘secrets’ leading up to the ‘epiphany’ aren’t all that damning: Charlie has an on-and-off fiancée (not really a spoiler given the dependency formula). love in the village i.e. there will obviously be other partners involved) who says “OMG” with such deadpan seriousness that you begin to wonder if it’s actually not a ripe phrase for a comeback (on second thought, no it isn’t).
In a way, though, Cassie (played by Laura Hopper, Tom Hopper’s wife) isn’t as upset as she could be, or particularly upset when she and Charlie break up.
It’s a deft move that doesn’t pit the two women against each other, the only refreshing part of the film. Brandon is also not annoying but a bit of an effort: he does what he thinks Julie (and everyone else) wants him to do instead of listening to her heart; luckily, his beauty makes up for it.
All in all, love in the village It’s not insulting or problematic, it’s fine. Perfectly smooth and easy on the eyes – like Kraft’s “Italian Hard Cheese” and while we’d rather have Parmigiano Reggiano any day, in a pinch, Kraft will do it.
love in the village is now available to watch on Netflix.