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Dear readers, I have a confession to make, one that may not surprise anyone – of all the movie genres out there, romantic comedies are my least favourite.
It’s not even the subject matter as much as it is that the same formula is repeated time again. There’s always the recently ended relationship, the cardboard cut-out male model love interest who is revealed to be a jerk, a couple of forced meet-cutes, the best friends in the peanut gallery and, of course, the quirky eventual love interest.
But every once in a while, despite knowing what a travesty this familiar tunnel of “love” is going to be, I am lured in, generally because of a comedian I have come to respect.
And this time, it was two of them – Nasim Pedrad and Lamorne Morris, whose characters on New Girl, Aly Nelson and Winston Bishop had a fantastic on-screen chemistry without pandering to stereotypes.
And thus, it came to pass that I spent a Saturday afternoon watching Desperados, a title befitting my state as a critic who had slim pickings for a new release to watch.
The story is straightforward and relatable (to an extent) for any modern-day millennial. Wesley (Nasim Pedrad) is struggling to find that unholy trinity that we are all supposed to aspire to: a job, partner and family planning.
After an abrupt date with Sean (Lamorne Morris), she meets Mr Perfect-for-now Jared (Robbie Amell) and tones down her idiosyncrasies to be with him. This lasts till he ghosts her for five days and after an evening of drinking with her best friends Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), they send a darkly blunt albeit mean email to Jared listing all his flaws.
Of course, within a few minutes of sending the email, she gets a call from Jared only to be told that he had been in a coma in Mexico, as a result of a car accident, for the last five days. So, the only logical solution is to fly to Mexico, magically find out the hotel he had been staying at, and hoping that he doesn’t have a password on his devices unlike every normal person, and delete the email.
Yup, that disbelief is suspended way above the Burj AL Khalifa right about now. Anyways, the rest of the movie is spent following her antics as she neglects her friends, ignores the obvious chemistry when she runs into Sean again and, of course, fistfuls of childishly adult humour.
At the end of it all, even though there are false starts towards a different (better) kind of ending, everything works out – friendships are mended, relationships are magically rekindled and kisses are initiated under LED lights.
Formulas are not always a bad thing. There is something comforting about being able to anticipate a happy ending but unfortunately, a formula is only as good as the catalyst and its ingredients. And here, neither the chaotic story, nor the poorly written characters, hold up to any kind of scrutiny.
This feels like a comedy skit Adam Sandler would write for Saturday Night Live, after a crash course on creating chick flicks, except it has been painfully stretched into nearly two hours. The humour is painfully low-brow and still unfunny. The shots are unimaginative and completely reliant on prop physicality. The acting is lazy, with perhaps the exception of scenes with Wesley and Sean, which seem jammed into an incoherent plot.
Yes, it took boring biology and pandering physics to ruin established chemistry.
I have enjoyed bad movies as much as good movies, but nothing leaves quite as bad a taste in one’s mouth as mundane mediocrity, and that’s all this movie is, somehow making it even more abysmal and unwatchable than the worst movies to come out this century.