When most people think of quirky romance films, they’d rightfully think of either Lifetime or Hallmark, two networks known for their made-for-television romance titles. However, it looks like both networks will soon face competition from none other than Netflix. Having already staked its claim in cheesy holiday films, Netflix is adding to its list of titles with the addition of charming love stories featuring the enemies-to-lovers trope. Enter Love in the Villa, a cheesy Italian-set romance sure to delight.
Love in the Villa stars The Vampire Diaries actress Kat Graham and The Umbrella Academy‘s Tom Hopper as Julie and Charlie, respectively. Graham’s Julie is finally going on a trip to Verona – a trip she has planned for years – and she’s thrilled to be spending it with someone who means so much to her. She has meticulously planned every moment of the trip, including scheduling lunches and dinners for their entire vacation. Unfortunately, as she soon learns, things don’t always go to plan. And she soon finds herself alone in Verona, or so she thinks. The villa she’d rented for her romantic getaway is occupied by another guy and he has no intention of leaving. What ensues is a surprisingly rich romance story about finding yourself and letting go.
There’s nothing outright special about Love in the Villa. The plot is simple and ultimately predictable… but there’s something charming about this little film. It’s light-hearted and never tries to take itself too seriously. More importantly, though, there’s a chemistry between the leads that is hard to deny. It makes some of the more cheesier moments all the easier to sell. Graham and Hopper are magnetic. The way they play off of one another is key to the film’s success.
That’s also one of the best things about Love in the Villa. The characters are great – even the secondary ones. Uberto is a character with limited screen time, but he’s sure to become a fan-favorite. The little time he does have on screen is memorable despite very few lines. There are a few other characters that would be spoilers to note, but they help to carry the second half of the film and their presence is delightful. For a movie with such a simple concept, the character work is pretty impressive overall. Writer and director Mark Steven Johnson might have some misfires in his credits – Daredevil, Jack Frost, Ghost Rider – but Love in the Villa is proof he’s capable of crafting a strong romantic comedy.
Those eager for an enjoyable romantic comedy? Love in the Villa is definitely worth a watch. It’s easy to get lost in this love story and there are plenty of jokes to keep viewers laughing throughout. More importantly, though, it’s a nice showcase of the cast and their talents, especially when it comes to Graham, who hasn’t gotten the chance to show what she’s truly capable of just yet. Is it something that’ll bring upon numerous re-watches? Doubtful, but for the hour+ viewers will spend with this story, it’s a mini vacation that they won’t regret taking.