Love Hard 2021 Movie Review
The Good: I understand that the Christmas rom-com is a very unique genre; the more schmaltzy and sentimental, the better. Look, I can appreciate a bad Christmas movie and I would rarely “review” them, because I don’t think they generally aspire to be anything more than cute, heart warming fare to get you in the mood for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
THAT ALL BEING SAID, Love Hard has some things going for it. Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O Yang are very funny people and have enough charisma and screen presence to carry forward despite the dreck script. I liked the set design of “Lake Placid,” as a Christmas wonderland (I mean, what small American town isn’t transformed into a Christmas wonderland in these movies, right?)
I also thought there was a fun, bouncy energy to this movie. The final scene at the steakhouse reminded me – weirdly – of Shiva Baby at times and I kinda dug it. The camerawork, editing, and Dobrev’s fantastic charisma make the scene work.
The Bad: Okay, but yes, this is a BAD movie. Like really bad. Yang and Dobrev, whom I love individually and who have great chemistry as friends, have zilch as lovers. They fall in love because the script tells them to and even though WE ALL KNOW it’s going to happen, it feels like the ending we’re getting because we have to.
The movie’s morality is also quite questionable; why is Dobrev made to feel like the bad guy when Yang is the one who catfished her, pressured her into faking a proposal, and put her in this awkward position with his family? Again, it’s because the filmmakers wanted to “subvert” expectations and not because it’s anything that naturally develops from the film.
Like most Christmas movies, this one comes with a cast of “wacky” side characters who are about the most unashamedly clichéd people you could imagine. You got the local hunk, the shameless editor boss, the innocent Grandma, the working class Dad with a heart of gold…all the uninspired characters are here.
The Ugly: There’s a lot to nitpick here; I like how Lake Placid (an actual place) is so small that they apparently have 1 Uber and Lyft driver and everyone seems to know each other, yet this is a town with MULTIPLE rock climbing venues and a massive steakhouse. Jimmy’s father and grandmother don’t have accents, but Jimmy clearly does. There’s an awful looking bobsledding scene that looks purposefully bad…but I digress.