Netflix continues to go all-in on the cheesy rom-coms, pumping out more than you can count each year. Some are good and some should never see the light of day… this entry manages to avoid disaster and be a worthwhile watch.
Falling Inn Love follows Gabriela (Christina Milian), a city girl who wins a New Zealand inn. When she discovers it’s in need of a flip, she enlists the help of local contractor Jake Taylor (Adam Demos). Now the pun title should make sense.
A simple premise, straightforward love story and thinly written characters are enough to get you through this easy-to-watch romantic comedy. It’s cheesy and takes subplots in directions that you know verge on the edge of being ridiculous, but the film also knows this, which is what makes it okay. It’s a fun and light watch that doesn’t try to do anything shocking and just goes with the flow. It all moves along really fast so rather than watching ten weeks of The Block, you can get an entire home renovation in just over an hour and a half.
The humour is the main force driving you through the film. The cheesy jokes, clever puns and comedic beats based around New Zealand slang are fun enough to give the entire film a consistently fun and lighter tone. The humour would absolutely be more effective if you are from New Zealand (or Australia) but it’s a blending of cultures that surely translates around the world. There aren’t really any major laugh-out-loud moments, but there’s no doubt the comedy will leave a smile on your face for the majority of the runtime.
As far as negatives go, the story takes a bit to find it’s groove. The initial setup is quick but wonky and doesn’t ease you in to the story that well. Once Milian makes it to New Zealand it finds its footing and is smooth sailing from then.
Aside from the presence of Christina Milian (of Bring it On: Fight to the Finish (2009) fame), the cast is made up predominantly of local New Zealand actors. The comedic performances from everyone involved are good. Some characters delve more into the cheesiness than others but, for the most part, they all contribute to the humour in various ways. Some hit with the puns, some go with the New Zealand slang and some just have humorous personalities… and there’s a goat. It creates variety so no matter which supporting character is on screen, there’s something different to gain from each one.
The lead performances from Christina Milian and Adam Demos really do work to carry the film from beginning to end. Despite the straightforward story, they have a level of chemistry that makes their interactions on screen quite fun and believable. The dumb humour from the supporting characters is good, but it’s the dynamic between these two which works to tie everything together. There are two other ‘American’ characters in the film that make a handful of sporadic appearances and they’re certainly the weakest links. But they have a very minimal amount of screen-time so it’s hardly an issue.
In the end, Falling Inn Love is nothing special, but it is a fun watch you can throw on on a lazy night in and just enjoy the ride. It has good lead performances from Christina Milian and Adam Demos, and enough supporting roles to bring all of the New Zealand-centric humour you could want. It’s dumb and cheesy but it embraces that and is one of the good Netflix rom-coms out there.