Falling Inn Love is a cute, but easily forgettable romantic comedy that's bound to get lost in the shuffle of Netflix's ever-expanding library.
Though the last few years have seen a boom in romantic comedies thanks in large part to theatrical releases and streaming services, one place romcoms have always thrived is in the made-for-TV realm on networks like Lifetime and Hallmark. There's a certain formula to these particular TV romcoms that's even more pronounced than films in the genre released elsewhere, so much so that viewers could time it down to the minute when the third act conflict will arrive. There's also a tendency for these films to recycle their premises, changing up the actors, setting and holiday theme in order to remain fresh. More so than the new wave of romantic comedies that buck convention and play with genre tropes, Netflix's Falling Inn Love feels like a made-for-TV movie - and, in this case, that's not necessarily a good thing. Falling Inn Love is a cute, but easily forgettable romantic comedy that's bound to get lost in the shuffle of Netflix's ever-expanding library.
When Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) both loses her home design job in San Francisco and breaks up with her boyfriend Dean (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) within the course of a week, she enters a Win an Inn contest online and winds up the winner of an idyllic inn in New Zealand. Without much keeping her in San Francisco, Gabriela sets off for New Zealand, but quickly discovers the inn isn't as idyllic as she was led to believe. With help from the locals, Gabriela decides to renovate the inn using her passion for environmentally friendly design. However, when the task proves difficult, she reluctantly accepts the help of local contractor Jake Taylor (Adam Demos), and the two grow close as they work on the inn together. But it remains to be seen if their budding relationship can survive the end of renovations as Gabriela's life in San Francisco and uncertain future looms large.
Falling Inn Love is directed by Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions, The Sweetest Thing) from a script by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy (Project Mc², Geek Charming). It comes as little surprise that Falling Inn Love strikes the same tone as a made-for-TV romcom since Hackett and Galanoy penned the 2013 Hallmark Christmas movie Fir Crazy. Even the premise of Falling Inn Love strikes a similar chord to Lifetime and Hallmark movies, falling somewhere outside the realm of believability. But that's part of the escapist fun of these kinds of romantic comedies in particular - they're the type of film you watch for the comfort of the happily ever after you know is coming, not necessarily to challenge yourself. In that regard, Hackett and Galanoy deliver a fine enough script, following the formula of a made-for-TV romcom to the letter, though it struggles a bit to manufacture conflict between Gabriela and Jake where there doesn't necessarily need to be any. It all eventually leads to the happily ever after anyway.
With a story that doesn't stray too far from the typical romcom path and fails to introduce any real or compelling conflict, it's up to the leads of Falling Inn Love to engage viewers with their personalities and chemistry. Milian is the stronger of the two as Gabriela, though her character's feisty streak seems to only show up when Demos' Jake is around - and only in the early part of the story. As for Demos, he's charming enough as Jake, working well with his co-star. Although Milian and Demos don't necessarily have chemistry in spades, they do shine in certain key scenes and it's enough to keep viewers rooting for them, even as they face manufactured challenges. To help Falling Inn Love, Milian and Demos are supported by an incredibly charming (and scene-stealing) group of locals, particularly Claire Chitham as garden store owner Shelley as well as Blair Strang and Jonathan Martin as cafe owners Manaaki and Peter.
Ultimately, Falling Inn Love is a decently enjoyable romcom, falling firmly into many of the tropes of the genre and sticking to a well-worn story pattern. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that formula - Lifetime and Hallmark have built their reputations on middling romantic comedies for years, keeping the genre alive as it fell into a slump in terms of theatrical releases. Viewers have proven they enjoy the comfort of a familiar premise and the knowledge that everything will turn out fine in the end. And with the release of Falling Inn Love on Netflix, viewers can have that comfort easily accessible to them, rather than following a TV schedule.
With that said, romantic comedy fans who are looking for a little more originality or freshness within the genre may want to skip Falling Inn Love. The film falls back on many overused tropes, for better and for worse, making it nearly indistinguishable from made-for-TV movies with similar premises. Although there are moments in which the cast shines, Falling Inn Love is largely forgettable. Still, with such a low barrier of entry that comes with the movie releasing on Netflix, those interested in Falling Inn Love - particularly fans of the Hallmark movie formula - may be entertained by the streamer's latest romantic comedy. For those not interested in romcoms or the premise, though, Falling Inn Love will quickly be lost within Netflix's algorithm and weekly new releases - if it hasn't already.
Falling Inn Love is now available to stream on Netflix. It is 98 minutes long and rated TV-PG.
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