No Stranger Than Love is known around the Wylie household for its unofficial working title I’ve coined – the ‘Alison Brie Hole-in-the-Floor’ movie. However, the only memorable aspects of Nick Wernham’s rom-com are those two details – the former Community actress and the bottomless pit that randomly sprouts in her living room and gobbles up a promiscuous co-worker (Colin Hanks).
Alison Brie plays art teacher Lucy Sherrington, a woman with a big heart and the inability to turn anyone away. As if she’s being punished, her hospitality has been misinterpreted by all men living in her small town. Lucy can’t run a simple errand or collect herself in peace without being hit on or asked out by an infatuated dweeb or creep. Then again, she enables their bad behaviour by sneaking off with some of them.
These attempts to swoon are supposed to be humorous and quirky as Lucy tries to sidestep around a slew of unsociable wieners. However, the film is too pushy when trying to earn a laugh and Steve Adams’ screenplay is too uncomfortable to bear. The men are reduced to flimsy characters, while Brie willfully displays her signature doe-eyed glaze, awaits different direction from Nick Wernham, and plots a stern discussion with her agent.
Because of how incessant the leering becomes and how over-the-top the entire film is, the audience – agitated and restless – starts to look deeper into No Stranger Than Love – a disheartening note for Wernham considering he’s making a silly farce that should be taken at face value. When a skeptical audience starts looking elsewhere for entertainment within a “harmless rom-com”, the filmmaker should take that as a sign of overshooting their target.
I experienced very few feelings while I endured No Stranger Than Love. I laughed once when Alison Brie broke her “goody two-shoes” routine and exclaimed something gross to a large crowd (and soon apologized for it), and my brain waves occasionally lit up when I recognized Canadian character actors in bit parts.
Most of all, I was confused by the film’s bulletproof confidence. It believes it can get away with practically anything as long as it arms the nonsense with cutesy instrumentals. Apparently, whimsical music creates a light enough mood to deter the audience from thinking reasonably or expecting more. Music can be used in many ways, but the way No Stranger Than Love treats it as a hypnotizing pendant towards the audience really doesn’t sit well.
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