Movie Review: Love, Guaranteed
The premise for Love, Guaranteed should tap into that fear of loneliness and isolation that anyone on a dating app feels. After clocking in nearly 1000 dates, Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.) decides to sue the creators of the Love Guaranteed app thanks to a workaround in their terms of service. Injecting a romantic angle between a lawyer and her client, Susan (Rachael Leigh Cook) takes on his case, with romance soon blossoming between the two. I’d be surprised if it hadn’t happened, it was inevitable that it would, but it doesn’t make it any easier or enjoyable in the slightest. If you’ve seen one romantic film, you’ve seen them all. It’s how we get to our end goal that allows them to differentiate, but Love, Guaranteed is so safe, pedestrian, and by the numbers, that there’s no room whatsoever for innovation.
It’s all the usual cheap, dreary jokes about online dating, and not much more than that. Susan interacts with a character, and then has an exact experience of her own, almost identical to what she has just spoken about. Our introduction to the world of internet dating is as expectedly brief and uneventful as ever. Brief interludes appear frequently, and it’s not like they’re all that interesting in the first place. The unnecessarily horrid seeds of love are planted almost immediately, and they’re noticeable from the very first moments our main characters encounter one another. Throwing in sporadic, random encounters that thrust our characters into the most ineffectual, typically romantic of scenes, Love, Guaranteed guarantees nothing but farcical nonsense with nothing of interest in sight.
How the mighty have fallen though, with Heather Graham of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Scrubs fame cropping up as the lukewarm antagonist, driving a wedge between the unstated desires of our leading characters. They may as well be a nameless villain for all the use she is in this film, her character has the sole arc of making money, and lots of it. Tokenism of character is used frequently throughout, and nobody ever amounts to anything more than a predictable foundation, devoid of any real or unique characteristics. You have the sage, old advice-giver who just happens to know both characters, the flamboyant male, the gossipy female, who just so happen to back up our protagonist and her interactions. You have the pregnant friend who has her life nailed down, a feverish supporter of the protagonists living happily ever after. It feels far too typical here, even a bit sickly at times considering how redundant the characters make themselves.
For anyone that has ever had a whiff of the horrid stench that dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Plenty of Fish give off, Love, Guaranteed will be a disgracefully unfunny time. Its characters are flat enough to fall in love with printed photos of claimants in cases, but its cast try desperately to persevere in the face of some truly awful writing. It all feels so cheap. From the font design and intricate, tiny details, to the lazy writing that brings us characters with nothing more than stereotypical interests presented to us to create a faux depth. It’s horrid, vacuous nonsense that won’t appeal to even the soppiest of audience members.