Emma Clarendon reviews the latest romantic comedy to land onto Netflix – but is it worth a watch?
I love romantic comedies – but in recent years, I have found the ones to be released either vulgar or lacking in the charm that you would expect – yes I enjoy the ones that perhaps push the boundaries slightly but there has to be (let’s be honest) some cliches in there to enjoy as well to make you appreciate the happy ending. Which it would be fair to say that Love in the Villa certainly has – but somehow the script doesn’t feel emotionally engaging enough (apart from a couple of moments) to really believe the two central characters are suited for each other.
Written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, the story follows Julie as she travels to Verona on a solo trip having been dumped by her boyfriend. But on arrival at the villa which she has booked, it appears to have been double booked, forcing her to have to share with the snobbish British wine seller Charlie. Having instantly taken a dislike to each other, leading to a lot of (childish and ridiculous) pranks – can they ever get along?
First of all it has to be said, that Love in the Villa feels automatically like a love letter to Verona – with gorgeous sweeping shots of the city, enhanced further by Ryan Shore’s delicate but charming score. If you have seen Letters to Juliet (which comparisons can be made to) – the script is equally is corny (to be expected in a romantic comedy) but feels a little flatter here, giving the characters little to no chance of further development particularly together as they develop feelings for each other.
It is a real shame as Kat Graham gives a wonderfully spirited performance as Julie and Tom Hopper as Charlie has plenty of charisma for a leading role in a romantic comedy. The best moments in the film occur when both characters are sincere and open with each other. The pranks that they play on each other (with one of them ending up getting arrested) feel a little over the top to gain some laughs which is fine but there are times when it feels as though it is trying too hard to be liked by the audience.
All this being said, if you are looking for an easy going and for the most part entertaining film to watch then it is worth giving it a go – particularly if you love romantic comedies but just don’t expect anything that is particularly sophisticated.
By Emma Clarendon
Love in the Villa is available to watch on Netflix now.