Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Musician Alicia Keys takes a break from music to produce a lively romantic film in Netflix’s Resort to Love. Aspiring pop star Erica (Christina Milian) is on top of the world as she prepares to showcase her talent on a Platinum-selling rapper’s newest release. However, when the rapper pulls a pre-donna move and has a music career meltdown, her hopes and dreams are ruined. On the advice of her bestie though, Erica ends up taking a job at a luxurious Mauritius island resort as a lounge singer.
After building a comfortable niche for herself, one day Erica crosses paths with military veteran Caleb (Sinqua Walls), who is at the resort for his brother’s wedding. As fate would have it though, Caleb’s brother is Jason (Jay Pharoah), who is actually Erica’s ex-fiancé. To make matters worse, the bride-to-be Beverly (Christiani Pitts) has taken a liking to Erica and wants to include her in all of the wedding festivities. Much to Erica’s, and Jason’s, dismay.
Now, not only does Erica have to prepare to be the entertainment at her ex’s wedding, she has to try to keep their past relationship a secret from his bride-to-be Beverly. Naturally, while Erica sorts out her feelings for her ex, she finds herself possibly falling for Caleb. So the question is, will Erica sing at Beverly's wedding - or her own?
Television director Steven K. Tsuchida is behind the lens for Resort to Love, directing from a script by Tabi McCartney & Dana Schmalenberg. I enjoy a good romantic story so when I hit play on Resort to Love, I had an open mind. One of the things I want to give Tabi McCartney & Dana Schmalenberg credit for is their handling of Erica’s arc and what inspires her to leave New York. I also enjoyed the early setup for Jason and Erica and the slow reveal of what leads to their actual breakup.
As our lead, Christina Milian gets a chance to show off her vocal talents while bringing a natural elegance and aura to Erica. There was never a moment in the film where I ever fully questioned the reasons for Erica’s behavior. Instead of making Erica out as mischievous or vindictive, the director and screenwriter make her character look more for closure than retaliation.
In the roles of Caleb and Jason, Sinqua Walls and Jay Pharoah comes across believable as brothers.
They have a natural chemistry as both actors somewhat go against what you may expect. Kudos to Pharaoh for avoiding the impersonations he is known for and giving a well-layered performance. While Sinqua Walls continues to show, he has leading man potential for future roles. I also enjoyed seeing Christiani Pitts, whose work I was not familiar with. The filmmakers avoid turning her character into a bridezilla and just give us a likable character.
You know that the film is a romantic comedy, so naturally, there are some rom-com clichés. However, the strength of the film is in the cast and their chemistry, so it works well. Furthermore, there were many things the film could have done for a cheap laugh, but director Steven K. Tsuchida avoids them. The only issue I had with the film was the character of Christian, portrayed by Alexander Hodge from Insecure. His character just appears to be there and does not really have much to do.
Nevertheless, Resort to Love is a harmless, warm, and funny romantic story that explores the bonds of love and family. The film never overstays its welcome and is worth a look for fans of rom-coms.
Final Grade: B
Resort to Love begins streaming on Netflix tomorrow.