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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

‘Love Hard’: Predictable and cliche

Maggie Klaers | The Observer
Maggie Klaers | The Observer

Christmas movies are an interesting genre to explore. You have the utmost Christmas classics, and then you have the genre I like to call “horrible Christmas films.”

The irony of “Love Hard” is that in some ways, it’s a failure to even the horrible Christmas films. Have you ever watched a horrible Christmas movie, but loved it for that exact reason? I admittedly can enjoy a “bad” movie by spending the whole time poking fun at it. But the problem with this movie is that there’s nothing to poke fun at. It’s a ton of cliches strung together, and it severely lacks characters that you can enjoy watching.

Natalie, for example, is one of the most annoying characters I have ever watched. Admittedly, my favorite part of the movie was her humiliation. When Natalie (Nina Dobrev) meets Josh (Jimmy O. Yang) and realizes that she had been catfished, she immediately goes to a bar and sees Tag (Darren Barnet), the guy Josh catfished her with. She accepts Josh’s help to set them up, but in doing so, lies to Tag.

The single most satisfying scene in the movie is when Tag calls her a hypocrite — her response to being catfished is to catfish. Natalie is a character that is easy to dislike, which is a flaw in any movie. The main characters should be sympathetic.

I at least found it easier to sympathize with Josh’s struggle than Natalie’s.  He was a guy who tried to be honest on his dating profile, but found himself not getting matches. He was easier to forgive because I honestly would have been surprised if he hadn’t lied about something.

But as I was watching the movie, it became increasingly boring because of how easy it was to figure out what would happen next. “Love Hard” took several predictable plots and rolled them together, thinking they would create something cohesive. They did not.

You might think that predictability requires some basis in reality. However, Natalie returns to her job after ignoring her editor for two weeks about writing an article. These expectations for a journalist to produce content were not realistic.

Which brings me to my next criticism: the characters who are the most likable get the least screen time. My personal favorite character was Natalie’s friend Kerry (Heather McMahan), who was the only person in the movie who made me laugh. But she was barely in the movie! The side characters in “Love Hard” were more entertaining than the main ones.

The movie just makes mistake after mistake with what the audience wants. They think the audience will somehow care about the predictable plot lines, or that they’ll love the boring and oftentimes annoying characters.

With (most of) the negatives out of the way, I can now move into the very few aspects I enjoyed. As I mentioned before, I liked the side characters such as Kerry, Grandma June (Althea Kaye) and Josh’s parents. I found it hilarious how Josh’s brother “caught” Natalie cheating on Josh with Tag. For some reason the brother obsessed with his younger brother’s love life is hilarious. I wonder where I’ve seen that before ... oh, “Sonny with a Chance.” No wonder I liked it! See, the aspects I liked were either barely there or stolen from somewhere else.

Which is why, on this day, I am choosing to give “Love Hard” zero shamrocks. They had all the opportunities to make this a good movie — they even had good actors! — but they didn’t understand what their audience wanted. I can’t even laugh at how bad this movie is, so please, don’t waste your time hoping for a Netflix original to be good.


Movie: “Love Hard”

Starring: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet

Director: Hernán Jiménez

If you liked: “Home Sweet Home Alone”

Shamrocks: 0 out of 5 shamrocks