Resort to Love, Netflix’s latest romantic comedy, has all the trappings of a streaming hit. The new film doesn’t just feature beautiful people on a gorgeous island doing stupid things to one another (a rom-com requisite); it also boasts a sexy meet-cute, a diverse cast, a truly horrifying premise, and even Alicia Keys as a producer. What could go wrong?
Basically everything, it turns out. As romantic comedies go, Resort to Love is absolutely terrible — like Razzie-sweeping, Rom-Com Hall of Shame terrible. It’s no stretch to say that Resort to Love is both a contender for worst movie of the year, and an affront to a genre that Netflix has single-handedly resurrected over the past few years with hits like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Always Be My Maybe.
So, with this review in mind, you should probably stop what you’re doing and watch Resort to Love immediately.
As anyone who’s watched a B-horror movie knows, there’s something extremely enjoyable about settling in with a deliciously stupid flick, and Resort to Love more than fits the bill. The rom-com stars Christina Milian as Erica, an aspiring singer who reluctantly accepts a job at a resort in Mauritius after suffering a career setback and a breakup. One year prior, Erica’s fiancé, Jason (SNL alum Jay Pharaoh), suddenly called off their wedding and moved to Charleston, South Carolina. Erica arrives in Mauritius with a broken heart, but she quickly comes to embrace her new situation — until she learns that Jason is getting married at the same resort, and that she’ll be singing at his wedding.
Having to sing for your ex-fiancé at his wedding to a different woman (who doesn’t know you exist) is enough to fuel any rom-com protagonist’s nightmares, but Resort to Love doesn’t stop there. Just before Erica runs into Jason, a gorgeous man in a very tight, white shirt dives into the ocean to save her from drowning, and they hit it off. Who is this sexy, muscular super-human, played by Sinqua Wells? As Erica soon discovers, she’s just met Caleb, Jason’s older brother and a retired Special Forces soldier.
Erica, now at the center of an incestuous love triangle, spends the bulk of Resort to Love attempting to choose between Jason and Caleb, a central conflict that will have viewers screaming at their screens in frustration. Sorry to this man, but there is nothing (and I mean nothing!) appealing about Jason, whose most interesting quality seems to be that he owns a rice cooker. Seriously: the people in this movie cannot stop talking about Jason’s rice cooker and his little rice bowls. Jason also declined to tell his new fiancée Beverly (Christiani Pitts) that he was previously engaged, which should raise all kinds of red flags, regardless of his “I never found the right time” excuses. Meanwhile, Caleb is remarkably open with Erica about his dreams and anxieties, and their chemistry is one of the few sparks of life in an otherwise listless movie. Also, abs. And chest. And arms. What’s so difficult about this choice, exactly?
Resort to Love has ample opportunity to mine its central love triangle for laughs, but instead it plays it straight, leaving the audience to sit through 100 minutes of unfunny, awkward interactions. The uninspired script is a hurdle that Milian can’t seem to overcome, as she’s at her best when her character is loose, lighthearted, and Jason-free. In fact, Milian shines brightest when she’s singing (typically, an Alicia Keys song), an act that requires minimal input from those in a position to screw things up.
On top of its weak premise, Resort to Love is unconcerned with basic questions like, “Have Jason and Erica never seen a photo of each other?” or “If these people are so obsessed with social media, how does Erica not know that Jason is engaged?” It stands to reason that at some point in their multi-year relationship, Jason would have sent a photo of Erica to his brother or posted something online, especially given his preoccupation with one-upping his “perfect” older sibling. Jason also reveals that he and Beverly picked the Mauritian resort because he was repeatedly served ads for it on social media — ads created by Erica’s best friend, Amber (Tymberlee Hill). Are we really supposed to believe that a social media maven like Amber had no idea that Jason met someone in Charleston, and if she did know, that she chose to not share that information with her best friend?
Resort to Love knows that viewers will have questions like these — and I came up with a dozen others over the course of the movie — but it’s entirely uninterested in preempting or addressing them. In a world of #relatable rom-coms, you have to respect a film so divorced from reality that it may as well be Game of Thrones. And as the final season of that show made clear, there’s something soothing about coming together to hate-watch a show or movie that should be much better than it actually is.
Is Resort to Love a good movie? Absolutely not. But it can be a fun time, provided you’re in the mood to watch an infuriating, exceptionally dumb romantic comedy while also looking at your phone. Paired with a very large bottle of wine — or in this case, a vat of tropical cocktails — Resort to Love makes for an ideal mindless movie night.
Resort to Love drops on Netflix Thursday, July 29th.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.