Produced by bastions of hard hitting and fair journalism, Buzzfeed (I guess it’s BuzzFeed now? Has it always been?), in partnership with Amazon Prime, Book of Love came out just in time for a Valentine’s Day screening. But is it the romantic comedy you need for your big dates?
The conservative critic will ask: is it entertaining? Does it have artistic/intellectual value? And Is it liberal propaganda?
Conservative Critic Meter Check: Book of Love
Overall Rating: So bad
Book of Love was designed to be a bilingual, bicultural romcom which sets up a boring writer and his translator who made his book a hit in Mexico by completely rewriting it. The movie does not know what style it’s looking for and weirdly falls into drama instead of comedy way too often. It drags without much conflict or plot and then in the third act decides it’s doing a take on a telenovela and gets zany. The acting style did not match the plot line and there was not an ounce of mirth to be squeezed out of a film that was supposed to be “just for fun.” Do not recommend this one.
Is it entertaining?
Rating: So boring
Book of Love is unimaginably boring. For such a cute and original set up for the classic rom-com formula, the movie makers really seemed to try hard not to be able to execute. The presentation of the material is deeply severe and dry focusing on the unfairness that Mexican writer, Maria Rodriguez played by Veronica Echegui can’t take credit for her work. There is not an iota of chemistry between Echegui and Sam Claftin (Me Before You, Peaky Blinders) as Henry Cooper. For a movie with such a colorful poster and such a neat perspective, it really couldn’t be more tedious. It’s not watchable.
Does it have artistic/intellectual value?
Rating: So stupid
There was no direction in this film. It almost appears like Director Analeine Cal y Mayor just set up a camera on a tripod in various areas of Mexico City and told her actors to just like “do whatever.” The characters barely interact with one another before they’re suddenly falling in love and the beauty of Mexico City that we are promised is never delivered. They stay inside or are in back allies and dusty roads. There is hardly any footage of actual beautiful Mexico City so why make a point of mentioning it? The actors play their characters so straight it seems like the whole thing is leading up to some self-righteous moral conclusion instead of the romcom it is and I found myself rooting for the “villain” (Rodriguez’s ex) who I couldn’t even tell was the villain until 2/3rds into the movie. Finally Book of Love suddenly decides to do a play on telenovela and becomes fun but where was that for the whole movie and why did it suddenly appear?
Meanwhile veteran comedian Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher, Into the Woods) as the book agent does a completely unnecessary and atrocious American accent that is so distracting it could almost have been a comedic element but doesn’t quite decide to go there.
Its truly just so stupid and so badly made its hard to even fully articulate its catastrophe.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: Ugh artists
There is nothing overtly liberal about the Book of Love but something is inherently liberal about it. A couple of artists bopping around being uninteresting while complaining about the consequences of their own choices and flirting constantly with the notion of “white privilege.”