From the painstaking manner of handwriting love letters, the age-old practice of harana here in the Philippines, the sweetness of courtship, to our modern, digital age where finding and choosing a romantic interest can be as easy as swiping left or right; throughout history, nothing else in the world is sought after more than love. However, even with the plethora of songs, poems, films, shows, and books dedicated to love, still, no one has managed to fully and completely grasp the mysteries and complexities it beholds. This is precisely the reason why it continues to capture our imagination: there are so many things to explore and questions to answer when it comes to love. Unfortunately, the new Netflix flick Love, Guaranteed failed in both respects, indulging itself instead in the usual tropes and clichés found in most romantic comedies.
We are first introduced to Susan (Rachel Leigh Cook), and how her typical day goes in her role as a competent lawyer, clumsy but hardworking boss at her own law firm, loving sister, and a lonesome soul. While these qualities are somehow likeable, they failed to make Susan an empathetic character; the first few minutes of the film took little effort to define her character more, instead presenting her as a persona of the single career woman who has no time for love. Soon, Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.) enters her life as a client; he declared “Love, Guaranteed”, an online dating app, to be a fraud, claiming that the guarantee of its users finding love because of the app is deceiving people like him. At first glance, it isn’t too difficult to determine how the story will turn out. The entire setting of the narrative felt so convenient as a romantic comedy that every scene after comes with little to no surprise for the audience.
I was hoping to catch a glimpse of what love means now that online dating came into the picture. How far can adding a flattering picture and interesting hobbies take you into attracting a potential romantic partner? Is a dating app the best idea in finding love, or is destiny still the most trustworthy partner in leading us to The One? Trying to explore these types of questions could have added a layer of depth to the narrative and grounded the decisions and behaviors of the characters into one that feels authentic and relatable.
As a standard romantic comedy, Love, Guaranteed has ticked all the boxes. However, it lost a critical part of what makes a movie good: sincerity. While I understand that the film is meant to be feel-good and easy-going, I believe that every movie should have a grain of truth instilled at its core, something that the audience can connect with on a personal level; because even love, despite being packaged as an exciting, marvelous, and often pleasant ride, can encounter a few bumps along the way.
Love, Guaranteed is now streaming on Netflix.