Love, Guaranteed Review – Online dating is horrible and soul-sucking, but it makes for really funny stories
Netflix brings us another romantic-comedy with Love, Guaranteed starring Rachel Leigh Cook and Damon Wayans Jr. Cook plays Susan, an attorney for the people, and Wayans plays Nick, a man who’s been on a thousand dates using the service Love, Guaranteed and is now suing the company for lying and taking advantage of its users. Susan is initially suspicious of Nick, believing him to simply trying to get a payday from a billion-dollar company. That is until she tries the service herself. After a few dates, Susan begins to realize the horrors of online dating and agrees to take the case. This also brings Susan and Nick closer together and more connected in a heart-warming make each other better kind of way.
The performances of the main characters is the cornerstone of the film. Rachel Leigh Cook’s performance as Susan is infallible. Cook’s Susan is a strong go-getter that doesn’t let anything stop her. She is also very relatable, like her fridge full of leftovers and strong attachment to her car. Susan is the career before life archetype that I feel many professionals are. It’s not that she doesn’t want other things in life, she just wants something else first. Then there’s Daman Wayans Jr.’s Nick who is too good to be true. Completely earnest, capable, confident with the right amount of cockiness, and just a really good dude. It’s almost annoying how good of a guy he is, but it also makes sense why him going on a 1,000 dates and still being single is such a crazy thing. I’m used to seeing Wayans go big in his performances, it was a good change of pace that shows his range. Lastly, Cook and Wayan’s chemistry seals the deal and has you demanding them to end up together. They have a really good back and forth and effortless give and take. They perfectly support each other and the bond between them becomes palpable. Really good romantic duo that I would like to see a sitcom of, but as different characters. The story is based on a real-life couple who met using a girlfriend activation system and ends with a successful relationship.
That being said, Love, Guaranteed does not stand tall in the rom-com genre. Not that it’s not good, it just doesn’t really stand out. My favorite part of the film is the capturing of the online dating experience. It is a minefield of strange encounters and clashing of personal social norms that are sometimes annoying and terrifying, but often funny in retrospect. Love, Guaranteed takes a pretty PG approach to it, which I think adds to the sincerity of the film both in the story and in the film’s overall audience connection. The film also does a great job with the romance between the main characters. You immediately want them to be together and you get why they’re good together. Much like the performers, the characters of Nick and Susan actually support each other and understand each other. It is much more than physical attraction. The romance feels genuine. However, it happens fast and reaches deep levels in a jarringly fast manner. However, I’ve been told this might be my own jaded perception so take it with a grain of salt as well as my big critique.
My main critique of the film, is the conflict. Not that I believe relationships need conflict, but I do believe rom-coms do. There’s always something that keeps the couple from being together that needs to be overcome. I’ll do my best to not spoil it. But basically, what keeps Susan and Nick from being together, is made out to seem like a big deal but kind of isn’t. Plus the actions taken to appease the conflict, the ones where characters first submit to the conflict before overcoming it, just really feel like bad communication to an obviously temporary roadblock. Usually, rom-com conflicts are like big potholes in the road, characters can get over it or they usually fill it in. Examples being like Always Be My Maybe where Marcus has to get over himself, or Hitch where Hitch has to get over himself, (hmm, maybe guys just need to get over themselves…). But in Love, Guaranteed the conflict is more like being stopped by a red light. Just talk and wait for the time to pass then it’s all gas no breaks. It’s made out to be bigger than it is while there are other smaller conflicts that would have been more interesting. Narratively it makes sense as the end of the movie needs it, but out of the options set up in the movie, it is kind of the least compelling.
Love, Guaranteed is a light-hearted and funny rom-com that immediately has you pulling for the main couple to get together. Rachel Leigh Cook and Daman Wayans Jr. are extremely likable characters who have a seemingly genuine connection that makes for great chemistry in the film. The film also does a hilariously accurate job of capturing the eccentricity of online dating culture. It amazingly shows the horrors and the innate hopefulness of it, which is fine balance often not captured even from people who are actively participating. While I thoroughly enjoy and liked the film, I do not feel it stands out in the rom-com genre and fully stays within it. It is on the better side of the curve, but I would not classify it as an outlier. My Love, Guaranteed review gets a 3/5
Love, Guaranteed Review
Love, Guaranteed is a light-hearted and funny rom-com that immediately has you pulling for the main couple to get together. Rachel Leigh Cook and Daman Wayans Jr. are extremely likable characters who have a seemingly genuine connection that makes for great chemistry in the film. The film also does a hilariously accurate job of capturing the eccentricity of online dating culture. It amazingly shows the horrors and the innate hopefulness of it, which is fine balance often not captured even from people who are actively participating. While I thoroughly enjoy and liked the film, I do not feel it stands out in the rom-com genre and fully stays within it. It is on the better side of the curve, but I would not classify it as an outlier.