The weirdest thing to me about watching romantic comedies, compared to other genres, is that they’re able to get away with unrealistic storylines and “magical” elements and, in a way, audiences demand it. Like magic, we want our two leads to be the most beautiful and handsome people Hollywood can build, and we want to see them fall in love in the most outlandish manner. So, comes along Shelagh Carter and Bill Connington’s Love, Repeat with the most normal leads you can imagine. Not only is the film’s lead protagonist ordinary, but he’s a nerd like you and me… mostly me.
The nerd in question is James (Bill Connington). He has been divorced from Barbara (Leenya Rideout) for quite some time. Complicating his life, James is still in love with his ex-wife and, along with his son Chris (Maxwell Purushothaman), believes they will be a family once again. But nope, as Barbara is getting re-married. Now we have a proper rom-com.
It’s here that the movie becomes a commentary on love, lost love, and moving on. Love, Repeat goes down the typical route of James and his diverse crew of friends giving him advice to get out of his funk. James is put on a 7-date challenge, which is seven women in seven days. The first date doesn’t think he’s attractive. The second has questionable moral practices, and the third is a self-proclaimed expert in dating and knows “it ain’t gonna happen.”
Soon, it all ends with the wedding scene. Did I just spoil the film? Yes and no. I mentioned it at the start, Love, Repeat plays like a typical rom-com, but with ordinary people. It goes through all the standard elements of a rom-com, including the “makeover” scene, and its laughs come from wacky, awkward situations.
“James is still in love with his ex-wife and…believes they will be a family once again.”
Is Love, Repeat a good movie? First, if you’re not a fan of romantic comedies, this is not for you. If you are a fan, I’ll go back to my original point—if you’re looking for a romantic fairy tale with glamorous out-of-our-league celebrities, you’re not going to find it here. What you do get is a grounded look at falling in love within the context of a rom-com. It’s weird to have to say this, but ultimately it’s about managing expectations.
I harp on this point because it affects the energy brought on screen. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler bring a Hollywood energy, but here Bill Connington plays James as an introverted nerd, which slows down the pace. While the slower pace is warranted by the lead character, Love, Repeat doesn’t feel like your average romance.
What’s great about the movie is there’s still love left for everyone. The filmmakers dive pretty deep into James’ obsession with the love he lost, his awkward attempts to rekindle passion, and the devastation of what he wanted is gone for good. Let’s add that all his dating and relationship advice comes from his married friends and family with their own problems.
Love, Repeat is not the Harlequin romance you expect. It may not be the most groundbreaking romantic comedy, but it is heartfelt, thoughtful, and utterly accessible to the romantic in all of us.
"…he's a nerd like you and me…mostly me."