Hernán Jiménez explores the world of dating apps with a dash of the holiday season in Netflix's Love Hard. Hopeless romantic but eternally single LA journalist Natalie (Nina Dobrev) thinks things are beginning to look up when she swipes right on a dreamy guy from the East Coast, Josh (Jimmy O. Yang). Taking a leap of faith, she jumps on a flight to surprise her crush for the holidays, only to discover that she's the victim of a catfish.
Josh, who is unlucky in love, used a photo of his childhood friend Tag (Darren Barnet). In classic rom-com fashion, hilarity ensues when Natalie agrees to pretend to be Josh's girlfriend for his family gatherings if he helps her win Tag's heart. Danny Mackey and Rebecca Ewing's script opens with a witty voiceover by our heroine Natalie as she constantly strikes out in the game of love.
I'm sure anyone who has made a profile on a dating app will be able to relate to Natalie's struggles.
So, when Natalie meets her dream guy, it comes off as organic. I liked the moment before Natalie and Joe meet; it shows how conversation rules the nation as the two build a genuine connection. When Natalie goes across the country to meet her dream man, I didn't find it that far-fetched.
Nina Dobrev brings the usual acting trope style that films of this genre require. Additionally, she has excellent chemistry with Jimmy O. Yang, and they have a great moment where they flip the lyrics on the problematic "Baby It's Cold Outside." I also liked the script by Daniel Mackey and Rebecca Ewing and the homages to cinematic Christmas classics, Love Actually and Die Hard.
The rest of the supporting cast in the film fell into romantic comedies' characteristics, which was fine. In addition, we all know precisely where the film will go from the moment the opening credits start. However, I was having so much fun watching the relationship build between our two leads I could let the familiarity slide.
Final Grade: B
Love Hard is streaming on Netflix now.