Warning, this review contains spoilers. I volunteered myself to write this review thinking at best, it would be an excuse to watch a good rom-com and at worst, a chance to get my teeth into some film critiquing. I didn’t rule out the possibility of being pleasantly surprised by a Netflix original film as I was by last year’s, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which I thought looked highly suspect and one that could fall into the stereotypical teen rom-com category. However, it ended with my sister, mum and I curled up on the sofa with tears in our eyes, jaws hurting from laughter and feeling satisfied by good character development. I was ignoring the awful pun in the title: Falling Inn Love (apologies for replacing it with my own even worse pun), enough to optimistically hope for the same from this film. Luckily, I managed to rope two of my housemates into watching it with me, so we sat down to the Tasty video style opening credits at which point I realised what we were in for.
Shockingly, rotten tomatoes gave this film a whopping 61% while IMDB gave the film a 5.6/10. ‘I think they have a big problem with the premise,’ my friend said near the start, ‘no one wins an Inn.’ The film rushes to justify its title with a series of scenes in which Gabriela, played by Christina Milian, is prevented from eating bread in a restaurant by her obviously unbearable and phone-addicted boyfriend, Dean (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) before a friend advises her to demand ‘a rock or you walk’. The film steamrolls towards their breakup which lasts all of thirty seconds and is followed by a Bridget Jones-style retiring to the sofa with a bottle of wine and one lonely glass scene before the sound of a message pops up on her computer screen. ‘Do you think she’s won an Inn,’ my friend asked sarcastically only to be echoed by the excited robot voice confirming that Gabriela had indeed won an Inn. The mandatory ‘changing my life around’ song backing Gabriela’s thirteen-hour journey montage to New Zealand fails to provide a tonic to the nauseating feeling you get whilst watching the rest of the film.
On their first meeting, in true Cameron Diaz in The Holiday style, Gabriela’s suitcase rolls down the road and crashes into the car of the handsome Jake Taylor (Adam Domas) whilst she searches for a non-existent bar of service in high-heeled boots. The feminist message seems unnecessarily forced down our throats. Rather than Gabriela treating Jake like the friendly and helpful fellow human being he is, she pushes him away repeating that she does not need to be saved. Additionally, the couple who run the café and befriend Gabriela fail to break out of the gay-best-friend/agony aunt caricature. Gabriela’s disappointment at the picture vs reality of the Inn itself seems a tad ungrateful when you remember that she has won an entire property and plot of land. ‘I’d be way better at moving to New Zealand and having an Inn’ my friend rightly pointed out. She quickly metamorphoses into the role of adorable fixer-upper through a series of jaunty headscarves and dungarees. The only reason to watch until the end is to see Jake in a firefighter outfit saving someone from a burning building in slow motion, prompting my friend to muse, ‘If I moved to New Zealand would a sexy man fall in love with me.’ We agreed that this film does not make realism its top priority.
Image Credit: Netflix