Falling Inn Love (2019) ☆☆☆(3/4): Falling in clichés with charm

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Some romantic comedy movies can charm us even though they fall into myriad genre clichés, and “Falling Inn Love”, which was released on Netflix two days ago, is one of such cases. Right from its very title, you can clearly discern what you should expect from it, and it exactly does as much as expected without a lot of surprise, but, at least, it has enough charm and humor to make us overlook its many conventional aspects for a while.

In the beginning, we see how its heroine begins another busy day of her daily life. As your average young, ambitious career woman, Gabriela (Christian Milian) is ready for what will be a big moment for her career, but she only comes to learn that her presentation is canceled by her insensitive boss at the last minute, and she does not get much comfort or consolation from her hunky boyfriend, who is too selfish to be willing to move onto the next stage of their relationship.

And then there comes another downturn for Gabriela. A few days later, her company is suddenly shut down, so she has to look for another job out there, but she soon gets frustrated as finding any suitable job position. In addition, she eventually comes to realize that her relationship with her boyfriend has been going nowhere, so she decides to break up with him, though she subsequently becomes quite depressed about that.

While mired in misery and melancholy, Gabriela comes across an Internet advertisement on some small inn located in a rural region of New Zealand. All she has to do is writing and then submitting a short essay on why she wants to have it, so she later decides to give a shot to that, and then, what do you know, she is notified on the very next day that she is now its owner.

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Of course, owning an inn is the last thing she wants right now, so Gabriela soon goes to New Zealand for taking care of the matter, but, not so surprisingly, the situation is not exactly ideal for her to say the least. When she finally arrives at a small remote town where the inn is located, she is horrified to discover how derelict it has been for years since the death of an old lady who managed it, and, needless to say, her first day at the inn is quite eventful for numerous reasons including one naughty stray goat inhabiting there.

Nevertheless, Gabriela is not daunted by this circumstance at all, so she soon embarks on planning the renovation of her inn, and she comes to get some help from a bunch of nice town people. For instance, there is an avuncular hardware store owner ready to supply anything requested by her, and then there is a cheerful lady running a local gardening shop, and there is also a delightful gay couple whose cafe/diner is one of the most popular spots in the town.

In case of a young contractor named Jake (Adam Demos), this handsome dude is surely the one whom Gabriela may really need more than anyone else for her renovation project, but she does not want to work with him much mainly because their Meet Cute moment was not so pleasant. She tries to avoid him as much as possible, but she only finds herself coming across him again and again because, well, they are in a pretty small town.

It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that 1) Gabriela eventually agrees to hire Jake, 2) he shows her what a nice guy he is besides the value of old things worthwhile to be preserved, and 3) she responds to him with growing affection while also coming to like the town far more than she ever imagined. These and other thing in the screenplay by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy are presented in very predictable ways, but the movie keeps the plot rolling under its lightweight mood, and it also manages to glide through several expected moments during its last act, where our heroine eventually has to make a couple of important decisions for what really matters to her most.

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It surely helps that Christina Milian and Adam Demos are appealing in their likable performance while clicking well with each other on the screen. In addition to looking believable in their characters’ initial obliviousness to mutual attraction, they are also convincing as their characters tentatively get closer to each other later in the story, and their eventual romantic moments are beautifully accompanied with several crisp landscape shots provided by cinematographer Dave Garbett, which may make you want to travel to New Zealand someday.

Like any good romantic comedy films, the movie has a substantial amount of humor and personality, and that mainly comes from a number of colorful supporting characters, who are mostly broad archetypes but are amusing and lovable thanks to a bunch of solid supporting performers surrounding Milian and Demos. Ann Jullienne, Claire Chitham, Blair Strang, and William Walker have a fun with their respective roles, and the special mention goes to that goat in the film, which steals the show as required whenever it appears on the screen.

“Falling Inn Love” is directed by Roger Kumble, who debuted with “Crucial Intentions” (1999) 20 years ago. Although the overall result is a rather mild compared to the slick and trashy sexual tension of “Cruel Intentions”, Kumble did a competent job on the whole, and I was amused and entertained enough to accept those clichéd moments in the film. It is not something you must watch right now, but it will probably satisfy you if you just want to kill your free time on Sunday afternoon.

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