Love Again is the sort of rom-com that you’ll watch in an afternoon, perhaps discuss with your friends, and forget about by the following month.
There’s something so refreshing about seeing a rom-com in the cinema. Over the past few years, light-hearted, silly, goofy romantic comedies have largely been relegated to streaming services – with even impressive ones like Set It Up not getting the chance to be seen in a theater. So it’s quite exciting to be able to see a Hallmark-level romance inexplicably centered around Celine Dion in a (decently full) room of other moviegoers.
Love Again, written and directed by James C. Strouse, feels like a throwback to rom-coms of an earlier era. It’s full of miscommunications and questionably immoral decisions that somehow lead to a happy ending. It’s occasionally unintentionally funny and is full of tropes, but it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) is still reeling from the death of her seemingly-perfect fiancé two years before. While her sister (Sofia Barclay) affectionately encourages her to move on, she instead begins sending text messages to his old phone number. Unbeknownst to her, the number has already been reassigned, and Rob Burns (Outlander‘s Sam Heughan) is receiving the messages on his new work phone. Through a turn of events that could only occur in a rom-com, he ends up getting the help of Celine Dion (playing herself), whom he is writing a feature about, to help him win over the girl.
Is the dead fiancé angle any less weird in the film than it sounds in that description? No. But you can almost forgive it when given Heughan’s brooding persona, which has finally been put to work in a rom-com. Jonas isn’t anything spectacular, but she’s also not terrible, and the relationship between Mira and her sister is one of the highlights of the film.
Another highlight is Nick Jonas’s brief cameo as a gym-obsessed, skinny margarita-drinking man that Mira goes on a date with at her sister’s request. It’s – of course – a complete disaster, but it’s a cute nod to Nick and Priyanka’s marriage and actually a rather great fit for Nick’s acting abilities.
We’ve seen several of these films in recent years in which celebrities play themselves. It’s best seen with Nicholas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent or with Keanu Reeves in Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe. Dion’s is perhaps one of the strangest iterations of this trend, with her occupying the same role in the film that Santa often does in a Hallmark Christmas romantic comedy. There’s also the issue of her descriptions of her supposedly beautiful romance with her real-life husband, when the details of the match (and Dion’s young age when they got together) are known to the audience to be a bit suspect.
Overall, Love Again is the sort of rom-com that you’ll watch in an afternoon, perhaps discuss with your friends, and forget about by the following month. Neither Strouse’s writing nor direction are anything particularly special for the genre, nor do the performances provide anything that you wouldn’t see on the Hallmark Channel. But it’s a surprisingly fresh idea, and for those who love Heughan, it’s sure to please.
Should Be Considered: None
Where to Watch: In Theaters
Living out her childhood dreams of being a writer, just like Jo March
Favorite Directors: Kenneth Branagh and Greta Gerwig
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