Romantic comedies are becoming a dying genre as far as movie-going experiences go. Just like the Western before it, the demand at the box office just isn’t there the way it was when stars such as Julia Roberts and Richard Gere were in their heyday. The subgenre of the sex comedy (i.e., American Pie) is even rarer these days. Director/writer Patrick Perez Vidauri’s Divorce Bait, co-written by Ruben Islas and Cristina Nava, is a combination of the two.
The story focuses on recently remarried housewife Alexis (Vannessa Vasquez), who is shocked to learn that a married couple in her circle of friends is getting divorced. While out on the town with her husband, Marco (Justin Berti), she’s even more stunned to learn that said couple is already seeing new people. Alexis becomes paranoid that all her friends would pounce on Marco if given the chance, so she concocts the bright idea to announce on social media that they are getting a divorce, hence the title.
From watching the trailer, I thought Divorce Bait would be a typical indie rom-com. But, almost right off the bat, it was much raunchier than I expected. The language, the jokes, and the sexual situations are more of the sex comedy variety, while the story tries to adhere to some of the tried-and-true romantic comedy tropes at the same time. Unfortunately, this leaves the whole thing with a tone that feels off. Sentiment and raunch usually go together about as well as hot sauce on ice cream. Comedy is difficult to pull off as it is, but it gets even tougher when you add elements that don’t mix.
“…concocts the bright idea to announce on social media that they are getting a divorce…”
I enjoyed the acting and chemistry between Vasquez and Berti. They give off a bit of a Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz feel since she is so animated and comical, while he usually plays it cool with a smirk. That is until he accidentally runs into a dominatrix at a pool party, who he runs from as if she’s an axe murderer. There’s also an accidental leg stabbing, and these are the type of situations that pass off as humor.
Erik Fellows plays Samuel, an old flame of Alexis who happens to come back into her life through a job opportunity. This comes while she’s dealing with the chaos and marriage turmoil that happens from telling everyone that she is getting divorced. The story says that the two have a spicy romantic history, which is supposed to create a love triangle, but unfortunately, I just did not feel it. The whole will they or won’t they get back together drama that unfolds just felt cringe-worthy due to the lack of chemistry I felt between them.
There are amusing moments in Divorce Bait, such as the fashion show in the third act. I think that the premise has potential, but ultimately the uneven tone and the weak attempts at humor left me feeling like Jason Biggs putting his fingers in the pie. It’s just not as satisfying as the real thing.
"…the premise has potential..."