Review by Camden Ferrell
Hooking Up is the feature directorial debut of Nico Raineau. This movie was written by Raineau and Lauren Schacher. Even though this movie hits many familiar beats, it’s a fresh story that is elevated by the impeccable chemistry of its leads.
In this movie, Bailey, a man with testicular cancer, and Darla, a sex-addicted column writer, embark on a therapeutic road-trip where they aim to reenact Darla’s sexual history. This is essentially another movie about unlikely pairings, but it’s one that is driven by its unique characters. The circumstances of its characters and their motivations is what makes the film stand out from others in the genre.
The writing is mostly adequate throughout. It has a nice blend of raunchy comedy and romance even if it can’t always hit the sweet spot. Considering the subject matter, the jokes and dialogue are typically provocative and vulgar, and this mostly works in the movie’s favor. The jokes don’t always land, but the humor is still refreshing nonetheless.
The acting in this movie is its strongest attribute. Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect) and Sam Richardson (Veep) lead this film with great performances. Snow has the acting chops to handle her sex-addicted but morally troubled character in a way that is both hilarious at times but also realistic. Richardson also handles the complicated emotions of a man with testicular cancer, yet he still manages to be funny alongside Snow throughout. The performances aren’t super impressive, but they are able to handle the film’s subject matter very well and make it entertaining.
I really enjoyed how sex positive the entire movie is. It doesn’t treat the subject as taboo even if some of the characters do. The movie allows its characters to not feel ashamed for their sexual exploits and shortcomings. While it is very body positive and sex positive, the movie makes it a point to highlight the dangers and real-life consequences of sex addiction. It handles the entire subject very well, and it’s refreshing to see this perspective.
The movie does fall into some cliché territory a little too often sometimes. It feels reminiscent of other romantic comedies like Friends with Benefits at times, and this predictability and familiarity sometimes undermines the movie’s charms. The movie also unfortunately drags in its final act, and this shift in momentum is very noticeable and slightly off-putting.
However, this is still an often-charming movie. Its beats are familiar, and its romance is cheesy and mildly forced, but it’s still an enjoyable journey. There is enough comedy to keep its pace steady, and it’s a great showcase for both Snow and Richardson.
Hooking Up isn’t a revolutionary movie, but it is a refreshing one. It’s a road-trip comedy that handles the concept of sex and love very well, and it is one that is bolstered by the likeably flawed leads. This is a harmless film for those who are staying home this weekend.
Hooking Up is available on VOD March 20.