Love, Guaranteed, released on Netflix on September 3, and stands already at number 3 of Netflix U.K.’s Top 10. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, the Netflix rom-com sees Rachael Leigh Cook suing a dating site and falling for Damon Wayans Jr.
Rachel Leigh Cook plays a lawyer named Susan, whose small law firm is not doing so well financially. She has no time for dating, too taken up with her work. She lives next door to her happily-married pregnant sister and drives an old car with a tape player stuck on Tiffany’s ‘80s hit pop song “I think We’re Alone Now,” and a handle that falls off when she shuts the door.
The meet-cute occurs as she buys her morning coffee before heading to work. A charming man named Nick, played by Damon Wayans Jr, seems to be following her, but turns out to be her newest client. Nick wants to sue an online dating site called “love, guaranteed” for not fulfilling what it was guaranteeing: love. Nick claims to have gone on 986 dates without finding love. He has made notes after each of his dates naming each of them like Friends episodes. Susan, of course, at first refuses to take on this case, but after seeing the pay check he left behind, she agrees to take it on.
The “Love, guaranteed” company is owned by a wealthy woman (played by Heather Graham) who likes to say “Namaste” a lot. The case goes to court. Being the workaholic that she is, Susan needs to make her case air tight. She thus signs herself up, or rather her assistants do, on the online dating site to see what it’s like, having never used one before. All of this, of course, will bring her closer to her real love interest, Nick.
For the generation of those who grew up amidst the height of the 1990s romantic comedy genre, She’s All That, starring Rachel Leigh Cook, is a cult movie. Love, Guaranteed, however, pales in comparison. Written by Hilary Galanoy and Elizabeth Hackett, the writing duo from the equally terrible Falling Inn Love, their new film Love, Guaranteed is filled with clichés and frankly dubious dialogue, but is still somewhat enjoyable to watch for those nostalgic for the heyday of romantic comedies.
She’s All That famously followed the rom-com formula of the girl needing to change her physical appearance—she only took off her glasses—to be noticed by the boy she likes. None of this happens in Love, Guaranteed. Cook’s character does not wear glasses anyway in this film. While traditional rom-coms show the characters changing, either their physical appearance or their attitude, to finally get the one they like, in Love, Guaranteed, none of the characters really evolve. They remain the same throughout. They only realize at one point that they love each other. The only thing that changes is Nick’s and Susan’s respective assumptions about each other the more time they spend together.
The lawsuit itself recalls the kind of cases that flourished the episodes of Ally McBeal with one glaring flaw. The film never explains Nick’s motive in suing the app company. Is it for the money or because he thinks it’s false advertising? Or was it because he was nursing a broken heart? The courtroom sequences turn out to be rather a cringingly cheesy mimic of what one might see on Ally McBeal. The big revelation during the court case is not really one, and everything falls how you would expect.
While Love, Guaranteed had all the promise of a great new rom-com, and is perhaps the reason why it has reached third place on Netflix’s Top 10 in the U.K., the film is, however, rather disappointing as it offers no real conflict for its characters to change or evolve.