Released: 3rd September
Seen: 14th September
Sometimes, you just want to watch a film where you know the ending before the movie even starts. You just want something that’s safe and digestible, something that you can call the ending absolutely perfectly from the second that you hear the basic setup. In this turbulent world where every day feels like a month and every one of those day-months feels like a free flowing fountain of frenetic feelings, sometimes you just want stability. You want a film you can set your watch to, pop it on and know every step on the way and know that it’s going to be a fun ride. You want a guarantee… Love, Guaranteed.
Love, Guaranteed is the story of a lawyer, Susan (Rachel Leigh Cook) who is known to do pro-bono work to help the little guy and doesn’t like to lose cases. So when an interesting case lands in her lap, courtesy of Nick Evans (Damon Wayans Jr.) she’s pretty much instantly on board. The case in question? Nick has signed onto a web service called Love Guaranteed and after nearly 1000 dates he has yet to find love, thus the guarantee is violated and the company, headed by Tamara Taylor (Heather Graham) should pay him for his time and expenses. The case of course becomes complicated because of the exact reason you think a case between a single female lawyer and her single male client would get complicated.
Truth is that even saying that the case becomes complicated is overstating it because this isn’t complicated, it’s as simple and expected as you can imagine. You know how this ends, I don’t have to tell you how because the film isn’t here to try something new or interesting. It borrows a tiny bit from The Man Who Sued God by having a lawsuit take place over a metaphysical concept, in this case love, and then just plays through the notes of the standard romcom.
You want a scene where they talk about a movie that one of them hasn’t seen and they’re adamant that it needs to be watched? Yeah, we have that. Bonding over a song that pops up in a weird situation? Yep, that’s here too. Comedic stalking that’s ruined by a third party? It’s probably the turning point of the main story. Everything you might think is in this story, it’s in there because we’re playing this as directly and bluntly as possible. No need to try and throw a curve ball or even maybe say something about the nature of online dating (beyond the obvious jokes we all make about “Ghosting” “Not looking like the picture” and “Dates being weird”) because we have boxes to tick.
What does help is that while we are simply running through the motions of a typical romcom is that the two leads are likeable. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re interesting or even that deep, they also fit the standard characters one would expect. Every date that Nick has is eager to say how amazing he is and everyone that Susan knows thinks she’s sweet. They are generic to a fault but, in no small part thanks to their performers, they are likeable. I might not care what’ll happen to them in 5 years but I will be happy for them when we get to the end of this story, they won’t grate on my nerves at any point and will exist as decent people who have a mildly interesting experience they would like to share with us.
In Love, Guaranteed, There are no surprises, there are no shocks, not even really any memorable lines. We’re being served the bare minimum that would be required to say “This is a film that was watchable and will give you some entertainment for a few hours”. It’s not bad, I didn’t hate any of the time that I spent watching it but I also didn’t love anything. There was no great line that made me smile, no character that excited me. It happened, I saw it and I do not regret it… and in a day, I will forget that I watched it.