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  • Writer's pictureKane Vallance

Mini Review: What's love got to do with it?

Zoe decides to film her neighbour's journey from London to Lahore, where he is to marry the woman of his parents' choice. Zoe experiences a different approach to finding love.

Cast: Lily James, Shazad Latif, Emma Thompson, Shabana Azmi, Sajal Ali, Oliver Chris

What’s Love Got to Do with It? was a weird one for me personally, and as an absolute lover of cheesy rom-coms, even the generic ones, that came as a shock to me. How I Met Your Mother often comes up at the top of my list of my favourite TV series, and Love, Actually, 10 Things I Hate About You, What If? are some of my favourites of all time. Even new releases like Your Place or Mine thoroughly entertain me—but this just didn’t.

I don’t like to be too negative on things, so I’ll discuss what worked for me here first, as a lot of things really did. First of all, the cast are all having a ton of fun in their roles and shine the brightest here above all else—Emma Thompson is a scene stealer as the woefully uneducated mother, Lily James and Shazad Latif had some genuine chemistry that helped keep their relationship afloat consistently, and Shabana Azmi was a treat, too. It’s shot relatively well and looks generally nice, even if it fails to do anything particularly innovative or jaw dropping, and its sense of humour quite often really worked for me personally. Add to that some solidly done representation of the culture (like honestly that wedding looked wonderful, and for once Pakistan wasn’t shown with a dark yellow filter over it in the edit) and you do have a decent time at the movies.

However, as lengthy as that paragraph of positives is, there’s just something missing. The ingredients of an iconic romantic comedy are clearly there, but there’s just something that isn’t there that prevents it from being genuinely engaging. Its generic elements stand out more when the film isn’t doing anything all that unique from a concept perspective, and it drags a lot after the first act and outside of everything in Pakistan. It’s a shame, too, because at least in front of the camera everyone is having a fun time, and at times the audience will as well. Somehow, a film under two hours just feels a little too long for what it actually is, with the inconsistencies in dialogue and character likability in the screenplay only adding to that.

It’s far from being bad, but it’s unfortunately quite a bit away from being good, too. While I did enjoy What’s Love Got to Do with It?, it’s too bogged down by its flaws to make it feel special in the sea of romcoms out there already.

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Mar 06, 2023

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