Saturday, May 2, 2015

Act Like You Love Me (live action movie), via Netflix

Act Like You Love Me is a romantic comedy. I hadn't realized this until after I started watching it, but Christian Keyes, the actor who plays Chad, is the same guy who played Julian, Robert's coffee salesman friend in Black Coffee.


Kelly is a dentist (orthodontist? I can't remember) who is still recovering from a bad break-up. She reluctantly allows her best friend to set her up on a date with Chad, an actor and gym teacher they recently met at a bar. The date turns sour when Kelly decides she's not ready to have sex, but the two find themselves paired up again when Kelly accidentally tells her mom she's bringing her (non-existent) boyfriend to her younger sister's wedding.

Susan, Kelly's sister, immediately suspects that Chad isn't really Kelly's boyfriend and does her best to make them slip up. Meanwhile, Kelly's mom has secretly started drinking again and suspects her husband is cheating on her, Kelly's dad is oblivious, Susan's fiance has a serious secret gambling problem, Larissa (Kelly's cousin?) is causing trouble, and Kelly's brother has contentious relationship with their father because he preferred music over becoming a dentist.

This had a very rocky start. Chad's initial behavior was incredibly unappealing, and I was bothered that both Chad and Kelly's friend felt she should have sex with Chad on their first date. If she didn't, well, clearly she was a cold fish. Chad's attempt to change Kelly's mind by doing pelvic thrusts at her was more gross than hot.

Hiring Chad to be her pretend boyfriend seemed like a majorly bad idea, but he actually did a fairly good job, as long as he and Kelly weren't alone together. When they were alone, he once again tried to convince her to go further with him than she wanted to go. I hated how much pressure people put on Kelly to have sex. Her best friend made fun of her for it, her brother made fun of her in front of Chad and their entire family for how long it took her to have sex with her previous boyfriend, and Chad tried to convince her to change her mind every chance he got.

I wish that either there had been fewer family problems, or that the ending had focused more on how well Kelly's family as a whole had overcome them. As it was, neither Kelly's relationship with Chad nor Kelly's family's problems were given the time and attention they deserved.

On the surface, Kelly's family looked perfect. Everyone was well-off, Susan was about to have a lovely wedding, and her and Kelly's parents lived in a big, beautiful house. However, nearly everyone had secrets and/or distrusted each other. Although everything was brought out in the open at the end, this didn't actually solve anything. I wanted to see how everyone was doing later on. Did Susan find a better guy? Did her and Kelly's parents become better at talking to each other? Sadly, the flash forward at the end of the movie answered only one question, the one that was least interesting to me: did Chad and Kelly finally have sex? This movie's writers were obsessed with Kelly's sex life.

With all these family problems going on, there wasn't as much focus on Kelly and Chad's relationship as I would have liked. They had a couple nice talks, but I didn't feel like I ever got a chance to know both of them as people, beyond the basic details I learned at the start of the movie. The part where Chad enthused about his job as a gym teacher was really nice, but nothing was ever done with that. Plus, it was a little confusing, since I had assumed that acting was his real passion.

I never felt like the movie dug as deep into these characters as it could have. Kelly briefly talked about her bad break-up, but no real details were included, and I got the impression that her reluctance to jump into bed with Chad was supposed to be seen as evidence of her emotional wounds. If Chad had any insecurities, he never mentioned them – which was a little odd, since Kelly, Susan, and I think Susan's fiance all said things about his acting career that he had to have found upsetting and embarrassing.

All in all, this had potential, but the balance between Kelly's family's drama and Kelly and Chad's budding romance was not handled well.

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