If and when you start LOVE, GUARANTEED, you will immediately ask yourself, “wait a minute…isn’t that the girl from She’s All That and Josie And The Pussycats? What the heck happened to her?” Well, other than starring in a few cheesy Hallmark channel like holiday romance movies, she’s mostly devoted her life to public service and to taking care of and being in the lives of her two children. I don’t think Rachel Leigh Cook really wanted to be famous, she wanted a steady job, some normalcy, and just wanted a good life for her and her family. You know what I say to that? Good. For. Her. So why is she coming out of the shadows and starring (and producing) in this new cheesy romantic comedy that is #2 on Netflix’s top ten list? The paycheck? Who cares really? She was adorable in those two other films she is primarily known for, and she ends up still being just as adorable here, not missing a step since stealing our and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s hearts in 1999. Normally, it seems like I am a big grouch when it comes to “Netflix Originals.” I only like maybe 1 out of every 10 of them that are released, and it would seem I am certainly not too kind to each and every romantic comedy that peeks its head in almost every other week (aka Work It, Feel The Beat, The Kissing Booth movies). But the difference between Love, Guaranteed and those films is that they try and be something they are not (they scream and proclaim from the mountain tops, “oh no, we aren’t schlocky love stories at all, we are completely original!) and in the end seem like they made their target audience look like idiots for even starting the movie in their queues. Love, Guaranteed is indeed another schmaltzy love schlock story we are used to getting from the mass producing streaming, but this movie seems to know that it is, and embraces it (if you don’t end up getting that notion, wait for the final shot, which basically screa, “DO YOU GET IT?!” right in your face). Combine that with Rachel Leigh Cook’s adorableness, this ends up getting a rare recommendation from me.
Per IMDB, it describes Love, Guaranteed with the summary: “To save her small law firm, earnest lawyer Susan (Rachel Leigh Cook) takes a high-paying case from Nick (Damon Wayans, Jr.), a charming new client who wants to sue a dating website that guarantees love. But as the case heats up, so do Susan and Nick’s feelings for each other.” Let’s all face facts, you know how this films ends, it’s a romantic comedy so there is literally no other way for it to. Every little thread is tied up nicely, and the film almost literally has its cake and eats it too. So what about the journey to get to that predictable end? Predictable as well, but the movies screenplay and Cook and Wayans’ chemistry has more than enough cute pep in its step to be able to cross the finish line in tact. The only thing I wish the movie had more of were examples of dates that Damon Wayans Jr. had to go on before he could reach the 1,000 (that’s right, 1,000) clause on the dating website’s terms and conditions to be able to sue the company. But I realize why it didn’t. The movie’s concept clearly toe’s an offensive line with a guy going on a date with 1,000 girls and not being able to find a match with any of them. Women in this movie’s target audience I could see getting a little miffed if it showed that many girls being rejected by one guy because of their weird attitude or quirks. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t have Wayans’ character being a jerk or rude at all during these dates (in fact all the girls say that he was quite the gentleman when Cook does some investigation into his case), hence when I say it only ‘toe’s the line.’ If the film did end up showing more examples of his bad dates, it would’ve crossed that line, with many women saying the film didn’t have an accurate portrayal of women on dates and dating sites.
I would’ve probably end up agreeing with that thought, as when I think about the film’s concept, it might’ve been better if it were reversed, Wayans being the lawyer, and Rachel Leigh Cook being the one that sued the dating site. I have more women friends than men friends and let me tell you, a lot of men are absolutely fucking terrible monsters when it comes to online dating (I was lucky enough not to ever have to go online to meet someone). You don’t know how many horror stories I’ve heard from my women friends the things that men end up doing during these dates. It’s horrible. A couple of dates then ghosting, a couple of dates, then sex, then ghosting…you can only imagine. I doubt men would’ve been offended if it had showed how many bad dates a women went on, because if some of them ended up saying something, they would’ve just looked like hypocritical assholes. With everything I’ve heard, I can tell you that 9 times out of 10, women aren’t the problem when it comes to online dating. The whole film is a commentary on online dating, it has a message that not many people take internet dating seriously, they can always find someone else, so they don’t take any value into the people that they meet online. I feel like the message would’ve hit home more if the roles were reversed. But that would’ve made the film a bit more serious, and serious was not on this movies’ resume. Two women wrote this film, so its hard to argue with its merits, if two guys had, this film might’ve not even been made. A man did direct this which was rather odd, especially cause it is Mark Steven Johnson, who used to direct blockbuster comic book films in the early to mid 2000s such as Ben Affleck’s Daredevil or Nicholas Cage’s Ghost Writer. This film kind of pulls at the collar of his career now doesn’t it? The two women screenwriters still though could’ve written it as a role reversal, and I hope that one day someone actually does and makes a film a bit more serious and thought provoking, but for Love, Guaranteed being what it is, it works well enough to coast by in an afternoon of anyone’s leisure. I can’t guarantee you will enjoy this film, but I do have an inkling, being that it made Netflix’s top ten list for a couple of days..which I can guarantee you is no easy feat, being that there is so much other shit on the streaming platform for people to gobble up.