“Falling Inn Love” Falls Flat
The red flags could not have been more apparent – the clickbait-y New Zealand hunk as the cover image, the punny title which leaves not even a touch of mystery – and yet, much to my chagrin, I pressed play.
Now don’t get me wrong: I did not expect high quality filmmaking or acting. I did not expect even mediocre quality filmmaking or acting. I sought the kind of Hallmark-Christmas-movie banality that eases the mind, soothes the soul and inevitably results in some hysterical laughter.
But after searching fruitlessly for more eloquent words than these, I must acquiesce to simply declaring “Falling Inn Love” utterly bad.
Cause for a few obligatory laughs barely distracts from a dearth in chemistry and an overdose on cliches, rendering “Falling Inn Love” remiss in its attempt to mimic Hallmark’s so-bad-it’s-good formula. Usually when viewing an overtly bad movie, I feel like I’m in on the joke; this time, I felt the joke was on me.
“Falling Inn Love” opens with an overworked female heroine, Gabriela (Christina Milian) sidelined by the boys club at her big corporate job and dissatisfied with her non committal boyfriend (whose most irredeemable offense is without a doubt denying her bread at a restaurant). After a major life shift, she finds herself on a plane to New Zealand as the new owner of an inn. There, she encounters a slower pace of life and (no surprise here) a not-so-secret admirer in Jake (Adam Demos).
The appeal of sub-par rom coms has never been to find out what happens. The ending is a given, so the journey is crucial to the movie’s entertainment appeal. Unfortunately, this journey constitutes a long, slow crawl to the finish. Any conjured drama – manifested mostly in the character of Charlotte (Anna Jullienne), who seeks to purchase the inn from a woman who knows nothing about running inns...not exactly the most evil of infractions – feels as surface-level as the rest of the plot, so much so that attempts at going deeper feel distinctly out of place. Jake’s dead girlfriend is mentioned in passing like a comment on the weather, and is essentially never addressed again.
If there was to be any saving grace for “Falling Inn Love,” it could have been in the romance itself – the magic of falling in love that’s led to the creation of countless beloved stories. But somehow, the two leads make falling in love seem remarkably unexciting and monotonous. Milian brings a lighthearted and fun energy to her role, but she is constrained by Demos’ unenthused Jake. I’m left wondering if Liam Hemsworth is the only seasoned cinematic heartthrob in the southern hemisphere at Hollywood’s disposal.
If you’re looking for the kind of delectable made-for-TV garbage that goes down spectacularly with a night in with friends, Christmas time is right around the corner and Hallmark’s lineup will surely not disappoint. Netflix, on the other hand, needs to go back to the drawing board.