The Umbrella Academy star’s Netflix romantic comedy is a dud

Photo Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix

Photo Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix

The success of almost all romantic comedies rests 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.

Love in the Villa (which, no, has nothing to do with Love Island despite the fact that the title lends itself to something akin to an adjoining reality show) strictly adheres to this formula.

Our unlikely and wildly attractive pairing is The Umbrella Academy’s Tom Hopper as the stiff Charlie and The Vampire Diaries’ Kat 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 Netflix rom-com, A Perfect Pairing).

Photo Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi - Netflix

Photo Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi – Netflix

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.

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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) adds more appeal to her few minutes on screen, even as he dumps Julie on the eve of their trip to Verona and suggests she go alone.

There are typical moments of goofy American tourists 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 a dual Italian-American citizen). , the ‘mood’ beats were particularly embarrassing for yours).

Photo Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix

Photo Credit: Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix

The ‘secrets’ leading up to the ‘epiphany’ aren’t all that damning: Charlie has an on-and-off fiancĂ©e (not really a spoiler given how reliant the Love in the Villa formula is, obviously there are things going other partners involved) who says “OMG” with such dead seriousness that you start to wonder if it’s actually not a phrase ripe 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.

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All in all, Love in the Villa isn’t 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 Villa is now available to watch on Netflix.

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