Falling Inn Love, the Netflix Original directed by Roger Kumble, follows Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) after her San Francisco design firm goes under. After a series of investors pull out, all before she can give her big pitch on green energy. As if things couldn’t get worse, Gabriela breaks up with her boyfriend who refuses to commit after two and a half years together. After wallowing in her sorrows, Gabriela decides to enter a contest to win an inn in New Zealand.
One 13-hours flight and two bus rides later, Gabriela becomes an owner of the idyllic Bellbird Valley Farm. Before arriving at the inn, Gabriela runs into Jake Taylor (Adam Demos) after he accidentally hits her suitcase while she attempts to get service. Not knowing him and preferring to be safe than sorry, Gabriela refuses his offer to give her a lift, instead deciding to walk to her inn. However, she quickly realizes the marketing was a little off as the inn boasts a crumbling facade, floorboard-treading goat, and a meddling neighbor, Charlotte (Anna Jullienne) who covets the space. In hopes of still making this work, Gabriela begins to renovate the property with the help of none other than Jake Taylor, the contractor in town. The two decide to get in on the renovations 50/50 meaning once they sell the property, Gabriela and Jake will split the profit. However, after the work is done, Gabriela is hesitant to leave the quaint little life she has built.
Gabriela Diaz is a fish out of the water and in a state of culture shock. Her relationship with Jake Taylor is tumultuous from the start. The two exchange jabs back and forth from the moment they meet and Gabriela is set on hating him. The town itself is littered with characters who feel like they have walked out of a cartoon. When Gabriela gets sick with a cold the townspeople drop everything to get her up to speed despite the fact she cannot pay them for their tea, fixing up her sick, or even the doctor’s house call.
In regards to her relationship with Jake, the chemistry isn’t quite there. It’s clear the movie is trying to create tension using the classic love-hate relationship trope. However, when they aren’t bickering, the moments are just awkward. At one point, the two are in a car bopping along to “Da Dip” by Freak Nasty. The moment, which goes on for far too long, gave me second-hand embarrassment watching. The idea that these two have enough chemistry to fall in love isn’t necessarily impossible to imagine, but watching the awkward exchanges makes it seem unlikely.
It requires a lot of suspension of belief to enjoy this movie. Outside of Gabriela, who at times comes off rude, and Jake, the townspeople are caricatures of real human beings. It is easy to overlook the logistics of renovating an inn, but it is harder to believe what is going on in the town that lies somewhere between quaint and Stepford Wives. Falling Inn Love wants to capture the magic and charm of Gilmore Girls’s Stars Hollow but ultimately falls short.
Outside of the lack of charm, the movie has, at moments, some bizarre pacing. Despite the fact it only features a one hour and thirty minute run-time, there are moments where it seems to just go on for a bit too long. The focus on introducing the town and all its odd characters, particularly Charlotte, takes away from moments that could have been spent building Gabriela and Jake’s relationship.
If you are able to suspend your disbelief, Falling Inn Love is a delightful Hallmark-style movie that isn’t half-bad with a bottle of wine and some snacks. If you are looking for a romantic comedy to scratch your itch, press play. If you are looking for something that will tug at your heartstrings, try Always Be My Maybe.
Falling Inn Love is streaming now on Netflix.
Falling Inn Love
If you are able to suspend your disbelief, Falling Inn Love is a delightful Hallmark-style movie that isn’t half-bad with a bottle of wine and some snacks. If you are looking for a romantic comedy to scratch your itch, press play.