Love Guaranteed

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

Love Guaranteed
dir Mark Steven Johnson
scr Elizabeth Hackett, Hilary Galanoy
prd Rachael Leigh Cook, Dan Spilo, Stephanie Slack, Margret H Huddleston
with Rachael Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr, Heather Graham, Caitlin Howden, Lisa Durupt, Sean Amsing, Jed Rees, Brendan Taylor, Alvin Sanders, Kandyse McClure, Sebastian Billingsley-Rodriguez, Colin Foo
release US/UK 3.Sep.20
20/US Netflix 1h31

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cook and wayans
Relentlessly cute, there's never even a hint of doubt about where this fluffy romantic-comedy is heading. Thankfully, director Mark Steven Johnson fills the screen with bright colours and snappy dialog, generating gentle laughter at little gags that are scattered throughout every scene. And the beautiful cast and settings, plus the easy mechanics of the genre, make it irresistibly charming, even when it takes a shameless trip into gloopy sentimentality.
With her small Seattle law firm in jeopardy, Susan (Cook) takes on a lucrative case for Nick (Wayans), who is suing a dating site that guarantees romance because he hasn't found love after a thousand dates. "Finally, a fun case," say office staff Denise and Roberto (Durupt and Amsing) as they set up Susan's dating profile. But the site's owner Tamara (Graham) is formidable, and susan suspects that Nick's a loophole shark. Then romance creeps into their professional relationship, and Susan has to cool things off with Nick before it can scupper his court case.
As she interviews Nick's lineup of dates, Susan begins to realise that Nick was never looking for love: he was trying to prove it doesn't exist after a bad breakup. Meanwhile, Denise and Roberto convince Susan to go on dates of her own, for research, leading to the usual light-hearted gags about trying to meet a partner online. The screenplay can't think of anything more clever than making Nick's dates high-maintenance and Susan's oddball freaks, then making them running gags. But it's so corny that it works.

Cook and Wayans relax into their roles, delivering enjoyably off-handed performances that add a mild spark to their witty banter. They're both perfect, and clearly perfect for each other, with her vintage orange Karmann Ghia and his mysteriously deep pockets. Neither has any edges that need softening. Side characters bring amusing quirks when they pop up, including some hilariously spurious conversations. And Graham gets the scene-stealing role, making Tamara riotously glamorous in her passive-aggression.

The plot may be painfully predictable, and the direction annoyingly precious, but there's just enough silliness to keep us smiling all the way. As they stroll around picturesque locations and have witty encounters with other people, it's simply impossible that Susan and Nick won't end up together, which is just fine. So when their budding romance threatens to derail Nick's case, we never worry about it for even a split second. This is warm and cosy, effortlessly pleasing comfort cinema.

cert 15 themes, language 3.Sep.20

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