‘Falling Inn Love’ Review: A Prize That Needs Some Work

‘Falling Inn Love’ Review: A Prize That Needs Some Work

Rom-coms are like mashed potatoes. We look to them on occasion for comfort and predictability, and are pleasantly surprised when they offer originality as well.

When a movie has a title like “Falling Inn Love,” our expectations skew fairly low from the outset. But, hey, there are films that keep you glued to the screen, and there are those you’re content to watch while sorting socks. You can guess which kind this one is.

Directed by Roger Kumble and streaming on Netflix, “Falling Inn Love,” is wrapped around the romantic notion of inn-keeping, a perk (or predicament) that Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) wins in an online contest. That she is a hard-core Californian impedes her only briefly because, having just lost her job and boyfriend, she faces just one obstacle: closing the distance between San Francisco and that inn, Bellbird Valley Farm, which is in New Zealand. (At this point the movie feels vaguely reminiscent of the CW series “Hart of Dixie,” about a transplanted urbanite struggling with a new culture.)

“Falling Inn Love” serves as an excellent travel ad that, if anything, doesn’t show us enough of the lush territory and windswept beaches of New Zealand. But the beauty stops at the rickety inn, which comes with a ghost (somewhat of an exaggeration); a goat (Gilbert, a highlight); and a well-built contractor, Jake (Adam Demos), ultimately the partner in Gabriela’s quest to revive the charm of the creaky old building and equip it with Earth-friendly technology. She initially swats him away (picky, picky).

From there, the movie becomes a cavalcade of tired gags — less com than rom.

Our disbelief has to be suspended almost to the snapping point as the small-town residents here befriend Gabriela immediately, without trepidation (or motivation or subtext, or ups and downs — niceties that are generally missing from the film). There is one instance of halfhearted subterfuge that provides a tiny zigzag needed to keep the plot moving to its inevitable conclusion.

What we hope for in a romance is that final feel-good aura that arises when a perfect match clicks into place and everyone is struck starry-eyed with optimism. “Falling Inn Love” keeps its promise warmly, but without the least pretense of sophistication.

Falling Inn Love

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes.

Source link