Netflix is quite the machine when it comes to releasing romantic comedies. The films that Netflix produces under this genre are basically all the same. They share the same screenplay quality, the same dialogues, and visually they could basically be made by the same team with no changes at all because they look exactly the same. It is kind of creepy at points, as you discover there is absolutely no creativity put into the making of these movies. They are just checking the marks on the formulary.
As you keep watching Love is in the Villa, you realize that this movie has no soul. There is no doubt that all the actors and behind the scenes crew members were doing their best when it came to the making of this movie. However, from its conception, this movie was meant to say nothing at all. This is more of a presentation than a movie. The spotless lighting, the sterile story, and the non-chemistry between the actors really hurt the potential for at least a fun movie.
Love in the Villa is written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. This is the same man who directed the first Ghost Rider movie with Nicolas Cage and the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck. The film stars Tom Hooper, and Kat Graham. The film tells the story of a primary school teacher who is also kind of a control freak. When her control habits get under the skin of her current boyfriend, she has to go alone on a planned vacation to Verona, Italy. There she will find a grumpy wine seller, and they will fall in love.
Love in the Villa does not do anything different from any other movie you have seen before. Like I pointed out before, the movie seems to be checking marks from a formulary. You need this and that in the movie, so this movie has this and that exactly at the right places. It all feels too manufactured. This is too much of an assembly line movie to be good. Movies are supposed to be more than entertainment. Even those that focus solely on that aspect of filmmaking often prepare their audiences for discovery and revelation.
There is none of that in Love in the Villa. The movie runs for about two hours and exactly at the fifteen-minute mark, you know exactly what is going to happen for the rest of the movie. There is an audience for that. Knowing exactly what is going to happen feels often cozy and brings a sense of being safe to many people. If that is what this movie was trying to accomplish, then all right, mission accomplished. If this movie was trying to be entertaining, then it totally failed.
The romantic comedy genre has been trapped in the same place for so long that it seems almost impossible at this point that there could be something that could change it. The formula is just too strong. The same thing is happening in the horror genre, where movies adhere so much to the original formula that there is no space for experimentation or creativity. It is a vicious cycle, as platforms demand this kind of fast food content because audiences watch it. There seems to be no way of breaking it.
In terms of performances, they are all correct. Tom Hopper, who has been made a known face thanks to Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, does what he can with the material. He has never been a particularly charismatic actor, and that doesn’t change here. However, he does grumpy very well.
Kat Graham, on the other hand, suffers a bit more, not because of her performance but because of the writing. At first, she is depicted as a control freak, too invested in her relationship. However, once she arrives in Verona that part of her personality just disappears, and for the rest of the movie she transforms into another character, one less interesting and more perfect. It would have been better if this part of her character could have appeared more throughout the movie, as it is who she is.
Visually, the movie looks exactly like the many other movies of the same genre that we can find on Netflix. For this coming Christmas, we will also see countless Christmas movies with the same look. I’m talking about that Hallmark look that makes the movie feel like definitely something made for TV and not for the theater experience. There is nothing cinematic about this type of filmmaking. Netflix knows they have a big audience for this type of movie, but it would be great if they took a risk and created something different.
Love in the Villa feels dated, and it is too predictable to be entertaining. Yes, the movie will have its own specific audience, and they will love it, but most people will watch this and forget about it immediately. This is exactly the kind of empty content that makes people churn on streaming platforms. The consistency in quality of the output is just not good enough. People want more Stranger Things and less Love in the Villa.