After losing her high-paying job and dumping her emotionally distant boyfriend, Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) receives a contest in her e-mail to “win an inn” located in New Zealand (yes, you read that correctly). Along with a minor entry fee, online users are encouraged to send in an essay about why they deserve an inn. Without even questioning the possibilities of spam or a scam, Gabriela knocks back a couple of bottles of white wine and proceeds to write a submission so coherent, that she wins the inn the very next day (yes, you read that correctly).
Without even bothering to Google her new property, the now-unemployed Gabriela flies to New Zealand to claim her prize (yes, you read that correctly) only to find out it’s a bit of a fixer-upper; much like her new relationship with a local hunky handyman (Adam Demos). They agree to fix-and-flip the estate, as the rest of Beachwood Downs’ small population welcomes Gabriela with unbridled kindness and hospitality.
Reader, I like some pretty dopey rom-coms, but Netflix’s Falling Inn Love is inexcusable and dumb from the word go. A premise this naïve doesn’t work for Gabriela, a businesswoman on the pulse of improving green technology. Even though she may be a city mouse in a country mouse world, I don’t believe that Gabriela would hysterically scream at the sight of a goat or drench herself in dirty water from a broken faucet. Milian is sweet as the lead, but she deserves better than this role.
Falling Inn Love has a TV-movie-of-the-week quality to it, so it’s no surprise to find out that two TV movie writers (Hilary Galanoy and Elizabeth Hackett) turned out this clunky, uninspired screenplay. The script obviously lacks logic, but it’s also missing a certain aura of cleverness that raises the film above tired clichés and several cheesy meet-cutes. Director Roger Kumble (Just Friends) also misses the mark by skimming over details in the film’s continuity, making this movie seem cheaper and lazier. Falling Inn Love seems like it was made by a committee of people who are satisfied by shoulder shrugs.
My wife made an interesting point after we watched Falling Inn Love. She proposed that if the film was holiday-themed, it may have been more forgiving. Within the past year, Netflix has turned out some of my favourite Christmas movies (The Christmas Chronicles, Christmas Inheritance, The Princess Switch) but, I agree, they’re ridden with tropes I’m currently chastising this film for. So, what separates Falling Inn Love from those other movies? Well, those Christmas-centric flicks have that previously mentioned cleverness to them, but they’re also made by people who desire to make their movie memorable. Even if a Netflix title flops, viewers can still tell that it was made by people who showed up to work because they *wanted* to be there. Falling Inn Love was filmed in New Zealand, and it was made by people who *wanted* to visit New Zealand.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie