Love Hard

Love Hard ★★½

Some breezy, brainless and fairly charming Christmas trite. Love Hard is almost as lethargic as it’s title, but ultimately proves as passable with some solid performances and a healthy level of refraining from slapstick. 

Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O Yang don’t have fantastic chemistry, but that doesn’t take away from their individual charming performances. They overcome the weak script, the stale plot and the conventional characters well and are generally convincing and likeable. The typical hallmark character tropes are very much in force here, we have the independent city based writer, the confident and eccentric best friend, the overachieving sibling and the overbearing boss. Thankfully most of these tropes are overshadowed by the charismatic performances in the film. The inclusion of Dobrev’s character’s job is very lazy, it felt misrepresented, bland and tacked on.

There’s a lot of forced sentimentality, it’s quite difficult to actually feel anything towards the film. This is partly due to the low stakes, but mostly due to the tacky writing. I never felt sympathetic towards any of the unfortunate situations throughout the film. This would be fine if I was laughing, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t emotionally compelled or quenched comedically, and on that level the film fails as a romantic-comedy. The pop culture references are fairly ridiculous, including the title of the film itself. The film tends to mention Christmas or more regularly a Christmas film to try and withhold its holiday essence and it can feel quite lazy and forced. The plot is very tech-driven which is quite unfortunate, but it’s especially unfortunate that they can’t create a somewhat realistic story with the tech-driven narrative elements.

The ending is predictable but the journey to the resolution is not predictable, however that’s not a good thing. The last act is very rushed and quite simply implausible, they dispense of some storylines from the previous two acts in order to predictably force the protagonists together. The film reminded me of ‘Just Friends’, however in ‘Just Friends’ the leads have more chemistry and are more believable together, but I’d be surprised if this film in 15 years holds up as poorly as ‘Just Friends’ does today.

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