What’s Love Got to Do with It? by Richard Curtis [3/10]

Rom-coms and I have never coexisted comfortably. To truly enjoy a rom-com, you need belief in romantic ideals and a sense of humor, neither of which I possess. That said, a quality rom-com can exhibit a snappy script, intelligence imbuing the material, and stellar acting. Regrettably, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” bombs out on all three. I barely need to relate the storyline, that of a modern British doctor voluntarily submitting to an arranged entwining back in his family’s home of Pakistan, while his childhood friend, plagued by poor boyfriend choices, puts her documentary filmmaking career on the line by following him around during the process. Love will, of course, ensue. Although the underlying subject matter, the role of arranged marriages in the modern world, offers plenty of scope, the scripted narrative is not only banal, it insults the intelligence of those on either side of the “are arranged marriages okay” debate. If there were any cool, alert dialogue-driven scenes, I missed them. Neither of the two leads, Shazad Latif and Lily James, suits the role and neither convinces. And the sight of Emma Thompson hamming up a so-called comedic routine as our heroine’s mother is cringeworthy. Richard Curtis is one classy filmmaker but What’s Love Got to Do with It? is a glaring misstep.

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