Kat Graham flies to Verona in “Love in the Villa,” where she meets Tom Hopper. A romantic comedy that ticks all the boxes of the genre and piles on the clichés, such as wine tastings on balmy Italian nights.
Netflix is never short on romantic programs. In recent months, subscribers have seen Wedding Season, Our Bruised Hearts, One Life or the Other and The In Between. On 1 September, the streaming platform released a new comedy, Love in the Villa.
The film stars Kat Graham as Julie, a schoolteacher with a passion for Romeo and Juliet. After weeks of detailed planning, the heroine is about to take the trip of her dreams to Verona, the city of the two protagonists of William Shakespeare’s tragedy.
But shortly before her departure, her partner Brandon (Raymond Ablack) leaves her. Julie decides to make the journey alone. When she arrives at the Villa Romantica, located a few yards from the famous balcony created in homage to the play, she finds that her luxurious rental is already occupied by Charlie Fletcher (Tom Hopper). He is there for work and not for Verona folklore. It’s going to be a difficult cohabitation.
Famous for two unfortunate attempts at the superheroic genre (Daredevil, Ghost Rider), Mark Steven Johnson returns to the romantic comedy after Love at first sight. The director piles on the clichés here, using at will the myth created by Shakespeare, the local gastronomy or the reputedly dangerous driving of Italians.
Not known for his subtlety, Mark Steven Johnson remains true to himself in this unnecessarily long film (2 hours) which at no point turns away from its stale sunny imagery. Subscribers looking for scenes of languid wine tasting, characters biting their lips to curb their attraction, and the usual final reunion will not be disappointed.
There is nothing new under the sun, but fans will no doubt enjoy the confrontation between Kat Graham and Tom Hopper. They bicker while wasting food (the scoundrels!) before discovering their respective sensibilities. All this to the inevitable Tu vuo’ fa l’americano, of course. Like any self-respecting romantic comedy, Love in the Villa doesn’t forget to include an unbearable but endearing secondary character, played here by Laura Hopper, the main actor’s partner in life. All the boxes are ticked, and the film is guaranteed to be a hit.