Netflix has rushed in during the last several years to provide consumers a slew of romantic comedies, filling the hole left by other studios. Always Be My Maybe and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before are at the top of the list when it comes to the genre’s renaissance.
However, not every rom-com will be memorable, even if they are still delightful for what they are. Resort to Love has all the trappings of a Hallmark-Esque holiday romance, but minus the unnecessary fluff and Christmas enthusiasm.
Rather than that, the rom-com takes a detour, largely relying on the wedding vacation destination as the backdrop for its romantic escapades. Resort to Love is neither surprising nor exciting, yet despite its overly sugary stupidity, it is amusing enough to see in passing.
Erica Wilson (Christina Milian) is an aspiring singer whose career is derailed when rapper Cre (Kayne Lee Harrison) refuses to release his current album, which included a song she co-wrote.
Erica secures a singing gig at a resort on the East African island of Mauritius thanks to her best friend Amber (Tymberlee Hill), who works in social media marketing.
Erica, on the other hand, was not only engaged to perform evening gigs but was also expected to sing at weddings. This does not sit well with her, since she is still grieving the loss of her ex-fiancé Jacob King (Jay Pharoah) prior to their wedding.
Things take an unexpected turn when she discovers Jacob has reserved a room at the same resort and that she would be required to perform at his wedding to Beverly Strattford (Christiani Pitts). It gets even more confusing when Erica starts falling for Jacob’s estranged brother Caleb (Sinqua Walls), who was conveniently out of the picture the entire time she and Jacob were together.
The film doesn’t do anything with its story to remain memorable after watching, nor are its characters completely developed beyond their objectives for the plot. Despite this, there are a few amusing bits that help keep the film afloat despite its mediocrity.
What finally distinguishes Resort to Love is not their romance, but the relationship that develops between Beverly and Erica throughout the film. It’s all too easy to get caught up in preconceptions about women competing for a man’s affections, but Resort to Love fosters an environment of true dialogue between Erica and Beverly.
Gone is the catty relationship that has appeared in previous romcoms — whether to add a touch of melodrama or to encourage spectators to excessively despise one lady over the other. Fortunately,
Resort to Love avoids these outmoded assumptions, choosing for a bit more nuanced (or as much as there can be in a surface-level film like this one). Beverly, for example, is not immediately envious of Erica and Jason’s friendship, nor is Erica attempting to push Beverly out of the way. It is a tribute to Pitts’ performance and, in particular, her scene-stealing presence that the spectator wants to cheer for Beverly rather than hope Erica and her ex-fiancé reconcile.
This is aided further by the appearance of Jason’s brother Caleb. Erica is still devastated by Jason’s actions, but the story emphasizes that she must go on and that the wedding is not a justification to return to the way things were but to get closure.
Erica is not punished for pursuing a career in music, and Jason’s feelings are not elevated to the point of earning him greater sympathy, especially given their relationship is framed as them simply desiring different things. These are the film’s most refreshing parts, as it frequently falls back on the genre’s standard tale rhythms. To that end, it does not always provide much more than a reassuring, if typical, tale.
Apart from being a mildly enjoyable romcom, Resort to Love makes no attempt to be remarkable. Indeed, the film is more concerned with the beauty of its setting than with its characters – a wealth of aerial images of the white sand beaches, palm palms, and tranquility of its crystal blue seas attest to this.
It also could have utilized a lot more growth for everyone, particularly a deeper romantic evolution for Erica and Caleb’s relationship, which receives less attention than it deserves because she is more concerned about getting over Jacob’s presence.
Having said that, Resort to Love is just what fans have grown to anticipate from this kind of romantic comedy. It is unpretentious and enjoyable enough to be enjoyed as long as expectations are kept low.
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