Friday, February 6, 2015

Ugh, Valentine’s Day! Love, Rosie Is Unfortunately Contrived!

The Good: Direction is fine, One or two laughs
The Bad: Unremarkable acting, Painfully predictable story arc, Blase characters
The Basics: Love, Rosie is this year’s stereotypical, dull romantic drama released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Every year there is “the Valentine’s Day movie,” a must-see piece of visual tripe that surprises only the most braindead of movie viewers and insults the intelligence of the women that are the target demographic of such films. This year, women are getting a double-whammy of Valentine’s Day crap for the cinema. While Fifty Shades Of Grey is being released on Valentine’s Day (what better day to realize your beloved novel has either been terribly misappropriated or that you’re in love with a porno?!), this weekend Love, Rosie is hitting American screens.

Love, Rosie is one of those romance movies that is so very bad, it is hard to believe that it is based upon a book. I mean, with virtually any sort of literature, one expects there to be some level of quality to the writing and the story that justifies its publication. Either Love, Rosie is a terrible adaptation of Cecelia Ahern’s novel or the prose that accompanies this droll story is Shakespeare quality. Because I have not read Ahern’s novel, this review is purely of the film Love, Rosie.

Opening with Rosie Dunne preparing to force her way through a toast at a wedding, the film flashes back to the long friendship of Rosie and Alex. Having sleepovers at young ages, the two truly are best friends. In their senior year of high school, they are great friends still – both applying to colleges in Boston – though Rosie pushes Alex to ask Bethany to their prom. While Rosie has a disastrous night (her boyfriend’s condom falls off in her and she gets pregnant), Alex has a lot of loud sex with Bethany before he gets accepted to Harvard and goes off to the U.S. without his best friend.

Keeping her pregnancy from Alex and promising to come along in six months, Rosie decides to go through with the pregnancy because of her parents’ Catholic values. After having her daughter, Rosie runs into Alex’s sister and thus Alex finds out. Rosie becomes focused on her daughter (as opposed to following her dreams) and Alex pursues his education at Harvard and his subsequent career, falling in love in America. But Alex’s marriage is hardly as stimulating, despite him loving his son, as the love he and Rosie share and soon the two are realizing just how perfect they are for one another.

Love, Rosie seems at its outset like it might be a cheap retread of My Best Friend’s Wedding (reviewed here!) without the star power m but it soon reveals itself to be a charmless reimagining of One Day (reviewed here!) with a climax that comes from every romantic comedy ever! There is something particularly charmless about Love, Rosie, a film that has a protagonist so ridiculous in the stereotype of her youngwomanhood that she literally jumps up and screams for joy before running over to her best friend’s house when she gets her acceptance letter.

The only people that don’t know that Alex and Rosie are in love with one another are Alex and Rosie. This is in large part due to the performance of Sam Clafin as Alex. Clafin looks at Lily Collins’s Rosie like she is a piece of meat in their earliest scenes together; you can pretty much see him salivating with pubescent desire. That’s fine . . . but not for two characters who are supposed to be tuned into one another as perfect, amazingly connected best friends. No, Clafin utterly fails to play Alex as anyone who has eyes for anyone other than Rosie.

Rosie, who is supposed to be smart, is plagued by making stupid decisions throughout Love, Rosie. She puts her dreams on hold and while she eventually does get into the hotel industry, it is only after she has emotionally abandoned her best friend. Her success there seems only geared toward playing to the final scenes. There is nothing surprising about Love, Rosie, only disappointment in that it goes exactly where one expects given the film’s set-up.

Lily Collins is fine as Rosie, but it’s hardly a plum role. Instead, Love, Rosie uses up its surprises in the set-up; after the condom falls off inside Rosie, it all follows the most predictable possible formula. That makes for an underwhelming film on Valentine’s Day or any day!

For other films currently in theaters, please check out my reviews of:
To Write Love On Her Arms
The Last Five Years
The Voices
The Seventh Son
Song One
American Sniper
Project Almanac


For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the films I have reviewed!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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