Love Hard: Netflix definitely doesn’t catfish with this holiday season RomCom
Directed by Hernán Jiménez
Stars Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet, Harry Shum Jr., and James Saito
Every now and then Netflix is able to stick the landing on its overabundance of mass produced RomComs. Love Hard is one of those times where everything works for it in the right way. The Christmas romcom is sure to be a delight in many households over this week, and is definitely worth an add to the watchlist.
An LA girl, unlucky in love, falls for an East Coast guy on a dating app and decides to surprise him for Christmas, only to discover she’s been catfished. The man she was attracted to also lives in this town, and the guy that duped her volunteers to set them up- if she pretends to be his girlfriend for the holidays
A ridiculous concept, but the writing is strong enough to really pull the viewer in. The characters are set up to be likeable, but also have flaws- and even though we know the relative direction that the movies heading in, Jiménez throws a few curves in the road that I didn't expect. The romance builds as expected, but it doesn’t come off forced or too quick- rather a natural path forms that leads our leads into falling for one another. The gags are well set up, and I have to give credit to the writers for not focusing on the cat fishing too much as the punchline. Rather they used it as a story block, and focused more on building jokes around the family and characters around the community.
The cast really helps the writing land fully, and I don’t think theres an actor that misses in their role. Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), and Jimmy O. Yang (Crazy Rich Asians), have such an apparent chemistry and you could tell that the two of them had so much fun working on screen together. O. Yang especially delivers a more serious and grounded role than we’ve seen him have before, and he really flexed more of his acting muscles than prior role- something that I would love to see more of. While Dobrev carries the heart, and becomes such a frustrating yet likeable lead as we watch her pivot through her emotions trying to decipher this messy love triangle of sorts she has ended up in. Henry Shum Jr. (All My Life) delivers his best Adam Scott in Stepbrothers, as the arrogant brother and you could just tell he was having a ball playing up the role. While James Saito is just solid once again in a father figure role.
Theres not much more to say about this movie other than I loved every minute of it, and I believe you will too if you love- movie references, Die Hard, and Love, Actually are both referenced so much and it’s great, Christmas movies, and romcoms- this is the perfect cocktail for you to sit back and enjoy this November weekend with.