With its attractive leads and catchy title, nobody would blame you for pausing your Netflix scroll when you spot Love, Guaranteed. But sadly, a quick read of the blurb is all that’s required to suss out every plot beat of this forgettable, straight-to-streaming romcom.
Plot-wise, the film follows Susan (She’s All That‘s Rachael Leigh Cook) – a single, 30-something, small-time lawyer running her own litigation firm from a tiny office. One day, in walks Nick (New Girl‘s Damon Wayans Jr.), a charmer with plenty of disposable cash who wants to hire Susan to sue the owners of a dating app called Love, Guaranteed. He’s been on nearly 1,000 dates and has come to the conclusion that the app can’t guarantee love at all.
It’s a flimsy set-up, and while there’s a fairly decent connection to be made between the app’s failure to find Nick a soulmate and the irony of it leading him to the lawyer he’s about to fall in love with, that’s pretty much it. In a sillier, more slapstick movie, the premise of suing the app’s billionaire owner (Boogie Nights‘ Heather Graham, desperately trying to breathe some life into proceedings) wouldn’t require such a huge suspension of disbelief. But weirdly, there’s no motive given for Nick’s commitment to bringing Love, Guaranteed to justice. Perhaps Nick is a money-grabbing, evil git? Nope, he’s a physical therapist and all-round good egg. Or maybe he’s on a journey to bring down an evil corporation? Not that either, he just doesn’t like disingenuous advertising.
Elsewhere, Leigh Cook does her best with the material she’s given, but it’s hard to be quite as generous to Wayans Jr. He’s so well-cast in the role of ‘handsome nice guy’ that the only effort he has to put in is to turn up on set. Which is all he does, sleepwalking through the film on his way to the bank, where he’ll no doubt cash in a big, Netflix-sized cheque.
With few jokes worth mentioning, this is a film so lightweight that a stiff breeze could blow it off the Internet entirely. Susan may drive a clapped-out car and not be able to afford a water cooler in her tiny office, yet she has more outfit changes than a Madonna and Lady Gaga double bill – and seems to visit a hair stylist at least twice a day. Worse than that, Nick is seemingly flawless (even the one woman he loved broke up with him, and later admits that was a mistake), meaning there’s almost no conflict to build on. Ultimately, it’s sad to see a movie from 2020 depicting a straight-laced woman learning how to improve her lot in life thanks to an unimpeachable fella. For the most part though, Love, Guaranteed is inoffensive dross, and there is certainly an audience for its lazy brand of escapism, but enjoyment is definitely not guaranteed.
- Director: Mark Steven Johnson
- Starring: Rachael Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr., Caitlin Howden
- Release date: September 3 (Netflix)