What starts out feeling like a rehash of a dozen rom-coms you've seen before turns out to be a film that slowly, albeit unevenly, constructs its own charm.
Love Hard is a feel-good, Christmas-set romantic comedy with a couple of twists, including Asian American main characters and a plot involving catfishing via dating apps.
The main character, Natalie, writes a "disaster date" column. She suggests half of people like reading about disaster dates and the other half prefer storybook romances. This film tries to combine the two.
Do you know how it's going to end before it starts? Pretty much. But like any good date, getting there should be the fun part.
There are some funny scenes as well as some laughable one-liners, like an L.A. "6" equaling a small-town, East-Coast "10," a grandma confusing "G word" for "geisha" rather than "girlfriend," or a crack about someone throwing around cool terms sounding like she has "Millennial Tourette's."
The fact that they're not politically correct is what gives these jokes their playful punch. Another, more woke riff involves a reworking of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which one character calls the "sexual assault theme song," to make it less "rape-y."
It's neither the romance nor the comedy that carries this film, though (and the fact that it's set during Christmas feels more like a marketing decision than a plot necessity). The sweetness of the characters and the background of Josh's quirky but loving family ultimately make Love Hard a likable watch.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.