- Text by Megan Nolan
Falling Inn Love
Props to the premise of this film for its naked, shameless schmaltz: a burnt-out city gal in San Francisco unlucky in love and sick of the rat race wins the deed to a rustic inn in New Zealand, where she meets a handsome contractor…
It’s basically PG porn for a certain kind of bougie woman who is obsessed with Pinterest, and I will not claim to be immune to its charms either. I don’t care much for interior decorating and old-timey original stoves and sinks, nor for the twee attractions of inn-keeping. But I will tell you what I do like: the shirtless long lean blonde slightly-squinting-in-a-sexy-way New Zealand contractor! My God! I’m pretty sure this is the first time a Netflix heartthrob has actually made my face go noticeably hot with admiration.
Christina Milian (yes, singer of the timeless noughties banger “AM to PM”) plays Gabriela Diaz, sick of her commitment-avoidant boyfriend and recently fired from a soulless job pitching to rich investors. When she drunkenly wins a competition to own an inn in New Zealand, she takes off to do it up and sell it off for some extra income. But little does she know the inn will be the least of the magnificent riches this wholesome small town has to offer her! A host of eccentric and implausibly welcoming town folk flock around her and chirp adoringly that she has to stay forever, and one in particular, the emotionally wounded hottie contractor Jake (Adam Demos) is making her decision rather complicated.
Naturally there is no confusion about what will happen at the end of this film. In fact, the writers seem so determined that the characters and the audience have a pleasant time that they don’t even put many obstacles in the way. Even Gabriela’s ex – who in any other standard rom-com would be at least a little bit of an asshole – is a pretty nice guy who just isn’t particularly suited to her. Jake’s only flaw seems to be a vague emotional guardedness following the death of his fiancée, which, fair. In the absence of any stumbling blocks, Gabriela’s dithering is a bit absurd and annoying. Lady, you broke up with the ex-boyfriend and left behind corporate America, and now there’s a blindingly beautiful, dryly funny soft-hearted HUNK frolicking in the New Zealand surf. What’s stopping you?
Double functioning as a very good tourist board advert for New Zealand, Falling Inn Love is cute, silly and cosy – and the two leads make it almost a little bit sexy despite its childish perspective.
HOW MANY POPCORNS OUT OF TEN? 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿❌❌❌❌
WORTH A WATCH WHEN SOBER? Yes.
WORTH A WATCH WHEN HUNGOVER/ DRUNK? Yes, cosy comedown vibes.
I put it off for as long as I could, hoping a different Netflix Original would be released so that I might be spared, but alas there was to be no reprieve. It was time to face facts. I would be watching the Marlon Wayans film Sextuplets.
I’d never really seen any of his output except the bit of Scary Movie when the bloke in the Scream mask does the Budweiser “Wazzup” for ages, which to be fair is a banterous nugget of entertainment. But I’m aware, as everyone in the western world is, of his parody films, unremitting and ceaseless as weather, stubbornly riding on the coattails of whatever vague cultural trend is available through the medium of shit and tit gags.
It is safe to say I did not have high hopes for this film, in which Wayans plays all of the six lead characters. Perhaps because I was actively dreading watching it (I tend to hate gross-out comedy, Something About Mary is about as vulgar as I can happily endure), it didn’t turn out to be so unbearable – though it is, of course, awful and stupid.
Wayans plays Alan, a mild-mannered contented fellow with a lovely wife and a baby on the way. Having grown up in foster homes, Alan doesn’t have a family, and the pregnancy prompts him to search them out. The movie follows him trying to find them all, taking him on a series of wacky adventures and distracting him from the impending birth of his baby. It turns out that he is one of six siblings – each with a particular, and some would say rather outrageous, personality!
There’s Russell, the only one raised by their birth mother, a mouth-breathing telly addicted loser; Dawn, a loudmouth prisoner who Alan bails out and who then embarrasses him by trying to loudly sell sex when they’re walking down the street; Baby Pete, a tiny, frail, chronically ill internet celebrity who needs Alan’s kidney; Randall, whose characteristics are being a spy and having red hair; and Ethan, a kind of throwback ’70s blaxploitation pimp character.
It’s occasionally clear that Wayans is genuinely very funny, which doesn’t do much to lessen the spiritual torment of these 100 minutes. As ever, the idea of one actor playing multiple roles at once seems to inevitably culminate in hateful fatphobia. “Look,” the actor cries, “Imagine if I was a fat slob!” which is supposed to be enough to make us laugh. Not good enough, and nasty besides.
HOW MANY POPCORNS OUT OF TEN? 🍿❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌
WORTH A WATCH WHEN SOBER? Obviously not, no.
WORTH A WATCH WHEN HUNGOVER/ DRUNK? Curiously, I’m forced to answer yes. I watched it after sleeping for 14 hours with a hangover and waking up with a terrible, portentous sense of doom. It was somehow so exuberantly stupid that it cut through that.
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