A Sad, Peeping Romantic Comedy Tourist


When the entire network, from Hallmark Channel to Lifetime, is devoted to putting out endearing, pungent foe-versus-lovers dynamics with countless encounters, or even “go back to your hometown and find love again” fantasies. If you want to survive the hustle and bustle, you have to make an impact.Unfortunately, Netflix’s Love Travel Guide More interested in carving out its own space through the most cynical and budget-conscious of genre tropes: travelogues of tax credit destinations masquerading as romance movies.

Produced and starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Love Travel Guide On the surface, all that is needed gives us something on a higher level.Cook has worked alone in the genre for 25 years, returning to the still fascinating That’s what she is. She is directed by acclaimed television director Steven K. Tsuchida, who has mastered all genres of storytelling. Cook is supported by the usual solid comedic supporting cast of Missy Pyle and Ben Feldman.that’s a lot of planning zhuzh is supposed to generate some warm sparks in a movie, however instead everyone is wasted in an engrossingly boring script as a Fodor’s Vietnamese TV commercial.

In fact, Love Travel Guide Almost telling us to lower our expectations when most of the first act paints Cook’s tour executive Amanda Riley as that kind of woman like Date an extremely beige accountant and pick up a nude manicure for a special occasion. As if that wasn’t enough of a warning to us to leave, the script has her at one point recount her entire Vietnam travel experience, “Sounds corny…” is the coup de grace, and yes, we get it.

As far as the setup goes, Amanda is a straitlaced white girl who is basically dumped by her digital crunching boyfriend of five years, John (Feldman), for all the glamor that awaits him in Ohio. (Insert cricket sound.) She takes that deafening hint and embarks on a makeover trip to Vietnam: For work, she’s going to covertly seek out a local travel company her boss (Pyle) is considering buying for a global reach Vacation hot spot. (If you don’t know that the country is a holiday mecca, this movie will remind you… a lot.) Upon landing, she is greeted by Sinh Thach (Scott Ly), a charming , a sexy but competent travel agent who thinks she’s just a first-time client. Ah, but instead, she’s furtively texting her boss and constantly evaluating the company on her phone’s Notes app, complaining loudly about the lack of water upon arrival. oh sexy.

Amanda is introduced to her tour group, which includes a lesbian mum bemoaning phone-addicted teens, a British couple celebrating their ‘honeymoon’ after four decades of marriage, and a young nerdy vlogger . They’re all little more than clichés, which is pretty much the same for Cook’s Amanda. For the first few destinations that Sinh took them to, she was mostly left with visions, “wow”, and many lingering shy smiles in Sinh’s direction. Not to take away from Ly’s performance, which is pretty sweet and earnest, but Cook looks at him like his pedestrian advice on how to barter for a scarf might be the first translation of the Rosetta Stone. It is said to be a travel agency! Did the writers know nothing about it, or did they just assume that anyone who saw the movie thought Amtrak travel was exotic?

Amanda’s adventures unfold in a blur at ‘must-see’ stops across the country, whether it’s market food, ancient ruins or bespoke clothing stores, all of which have been awarded with beautifully framed, travel-friendly tulle lenses and colorful closeups for title cards. Sinh utters awkward aphorisms to Amanda, such as “Tourists escape life, but travelers experience life,” and she frowns slightly, as if it’s esoteric wisdom.Full of seriousness is the tone and tone Travel guide, It’s a real choice when it comes to Vietnam episodes someone feed phil There is more dynamism in their steps. There wasn’t any shenanigans between Amanda and Sinh, not even any heated arguments.They flirt and kiss purely like mormons once At the hour and seven minute mark. Worse, the entire movie portrays the Vietnamese people as if they exist to make Westerners happy when they visit. The script even plops tour groups in Sinh’s grandmother’s village on New Year’s Eve without prior warning, so well-meaning locals are left to serve these vanilla cups for no reason. cringe.

if Eirene Donohue’s script gave us more scenes to really get to know Amanda and Sinh as a fully formed person, perhaps Love Travel Guide It could have been memorable. But there’s really no chemistry, heat or wit between Cook and Ly.listen there is a reason 200 years later, Jane Austen’s work is still being adapted for film and television: she knows the witty dialogue and simmering chemistry between potential lovers is timeless. If you can’t do that in 2023, your entire genre has failed.That’s the case here, like Amanda and Sinh Relegated to cultural placeholders, giving way to tourist destinations that are the not-so-subtle stars of the whole endeavor. But at least this aspect works.If you’re thinking, “Oops, what’s there to see in Vietnam?” you can certainly plan a lovely itinerary by watching Love travel guide. Just don’t expect the last two words in the title to come with the same energy or impact.

director: Steven K. Tsuchida
writer: Erin Donoghue
Starring: Rachel Leigh Cook, Scott Leigh, Missy Pyle, Ben Feldman, Nondumiso Tambe, Andrew Bass Feldman.
release date: April 21, 2023 (Netflix)

Tara Bennett is a Los Angeles-based writer whose work includes film, television, and pop culture, with publications including SFX Magazine, Total Film, SYFY Wire and more.She also wrote about Sons of Anarchy, Outlander, Fringe, this marvel studios story and The Art of Avatar: The Way of Water. You can follow her on Twitter @TaraDBennett or Instagram @TaraDBen


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