Review by Sean Boelman
The title is admittedly a bit generic — and the film isn’t particularly groundbreaking either — but there is still plenty to love about What’s Love Got To Do With It? Although the film is somewhat weighed down by a conventional script, it’s charming and enjoyable. What more could you want from a rom-com like this?
The film follows a documentarian who decides to make a film about her best friend’s assisted marriage, causing her to challenge her own beliefs about love and relationships. As is the case with many romantic comedies about matchmaking, this follows the familiar formula: cynical single person has their heart opened to love by seeing someone else experience it.
There’s no denying the infectiously adorable energy of the film. Sure, it’s predictable from the first moment to the last, and it is nowhere near as groundbreaking or innovative as it seems to think it is, but it’s charming. The film does suffer from the rushed third act jitters characteristic of the rom-com genre.
Lily James and Shazad Latif have great chemistry together — almost too good, in fact, to the point where it begins to work against the film. Because they click together so extraordinarily well, the film ends up revealing its hand too early and becomes entirely predictable. Emma Thompson also has a charming supporting bit.
Although the film’s abundance of strong cultural representation is welcome, it’s admittedly a bit frustrating that the film chose to frame this all through the perspective of a white protagonist. Although the film clearly aims to destigmatize this type of “assisted” matchmaking, presenting it from the perspective of an outsider has the accidental effect of otherizing the aspect of South Asian culture it portrays.
The character development in the film also leaves something to be desired. The protagonist has a subplot about being a single woman in her 30s and the anxieties that come with that, and it feels underdeveloped. The co-lead’s relationship with his family also feels like it should have been more fleshed out.
For the most part, the film’s a standard, if vibrant romantic comedy from a stylistic standpoint. That being said, the film does get points off for not including the eponymous Tina Turner song in its soundtrack. (Not really, but why use that as the title if you’re not going to bother getting the rights to use the song? And it would have worked perfectly over the opening or closing credits.)
What’s Love Got To Do With It? is conventional, predictable, and even often cheesy, but there’s no denying that it’s charming. For those looking for a quaint, breezy rom-com, this one certainly fits the bill.
What’s Love Got To Do With It? hits theaters on May 5.