Ho or No? – “Love Hard”*

*[Like Die Hard…get it?]

“[Baby It’s Cold Outside] has been putting the hip in Rohypnol since 1944.”

Type of Holidayness – Hideous Road to Romance
New Holiday Spirit or Ghost of Christmas Past?: – Released 2021
Where I Watched – Netflix

Story – Natalie is sick to death of writing the same kind dating nightmare article over and over again. So why not write a piece about the “perfect” guy she just met online? Tag is perfect…except he’s not Tag. He’s Josh. Cat, meet fish?

Worth the Eggnog? – Two actors I enjoy watching; Crazy Rich Asians‘ Jimmy O. Yang, and The Final Girls‘ Nina Dobrev (fine, she was in Vampire Diaries too. Whatever.) A story that starts off really icky – even with the Love, Actually lampshading – but hits the right kind of strange, unbelievable happy holiday ending we all want from a Christmas themed romcom. I really want to hate this movie, but damn it if it didn’t punch me in the feels in the last moments. I’m kinda mad about that. Shows exactly how much of a holiday romcom simp I can be.

Produced by McG, so you know the soundtrack SLAPS. And the songs are used well here, with a nice balance of traditional carols, 21st century hits, and silly covers, all serving the plot as it chugs forward.

It’s rough for me to get past the whole catfishing thing, and goodness knows the main character brings it up quite a lot in case we’d forgotten. Reminds me a lot of The Proposal, which happens to be one of my favorite rom-coms in spite of the weird uncomfortable “you’d better get engaged to me or else” storyline. Love Hard has a bit more subplots than that film, like the fact that Natalie is in love/lust with Josh’s best friend Tag. So rather than solely focusing on Josh as this “fixing a broken start” tale probably should, her attention is split in half.

And maybe that’s why I’m not quite taking to this one…or maybe there’s just no Betty White. Yang and Dobrev have a believable, companionate chemistry that can easily be seen as the start of something real. But they don’t have much to do except follow the steps the plot lays out, and they seem confused as to what they should be doing next. Paging the director – we need direction here.

This plot should not work. It truly shouldn’t. It’s kind of unbelievable as most people who were find out that they are catfished would take the first flight back home, pronto. But she decides to stick it out instead, as she thinks she’s falling in love with the face of Tag… But like Cyrano de Bergerac, she’s actually fallen in love with the personality of Josh. How long will this take for her to figure out? About an hour and 40 minutes. During that time, the cameraderie between Natalie, Josh, and between Natalie and Josh’s parents, got to me. Maybe not completely, but enough to make me slightly forgiving of the way Nat and Josh met. The fact that Nat is also doing a little bit of wrong (her article, the way she’s changing herself for Tad) helps even the playing field. They’re both kinda horrible and need to straighten up! Yay?

I’d have been happy with an ending that left off the romance and went with a realistic “and we both learned something that Christmas” wrap-up. The way the film ends with a Happy Goddammit outro doesn’t feel earned, but will do in a pinch. Heck, we’re all binging these types of movies like popcorn this time of year, right? So who cares if the ending is hollow? Um, I kinda do, y’all.

Added to the December Rotation? – Maybe not going into the high holy list, but I wouldn’t say no if it was a chosen film for a present wrapping party. Or better yet, during a drunken eggnog binge; I could boo and hiss at the first half, and coo over the second.

Rating – 2.5 out of 5 Hos

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
This entry was posted in Ho or No?, Movie Reviews, Netflix and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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