Missed connections, awkward blind dates, and love in the time of smartphones play out in Alex Magaña’s What Love Looks Like. The romantic comedy features five stories, all set across Los Angeles, following a dozen hopeless romantics searching for love. Dealing in the standard tropes, though occasionally self-awareness, the film escorts viewers through the sometimes-messy journey of finding ‘the one’ – or at least someone to slide into their DMs.
The movie opens with brief introductions to the five main stories. Nicole (Kate Durocher) and Owen (Josh Gilmer) have trouble communicating. Sam (Nathan Kohnen) grieves his deceased wife but finds hope with Evie (Ashley Rose McKenna). Theodore is overcoming his shyness with Bailey (Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer). Calvin (Connor Wilkins) has more than an awkward first connection with Summer (Jamie Shelnitz).
And finally, Penelope (Taylor Alexa Frank) and Finn (Kyle Meck) meet on her last day before returning to London. After establishing these characters, at nearly the 45-minute mark, What Love Looks Like begins to explore the difficulties of dating in 2020 as each of our characters seeks to find that missing piece in themselves and open their hearts.
“…five stories, all set across Los Angeles, following a dozen hopeless romantics searching for love.”
Balancing five continuous stories is an arduous task, especially when there are no overlapping characters or theme beyond love and location. Despite this obstacle, Finn and Penelope’s story has some of the best moments, especially Finn’s attempt to show Penelope Los Angeles on her last day in the city. Meck and Frank bring a fun charm to their stereotypical cheesy roles. Beyond those two, each story brings a unique flavor to the film but is sometimes hard to connect with everyone and each scenario, since the film constantly shifts from character to character and relationship to relationship.
Despite being an avid fan of films like Battle Royale and Tarantino, I enjoy romantic comedies, and I really wanted to get more into What Love Looks Like. I loved the concept of Finn and Penelope’s storyline. I thought Nathan Kohnen, as Sam, trying to find love in the darkness, was sweet. Jack Menzies and Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer brought a fun quirkiness to the film. However, with so many stories going on at once, I found it challenging to connect with a lot of the characters and focus on their journey toward love.
I can recommend What Love Looks Like circumstantially; if you are a fan of large ensemble romantic comedies like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve, you might find something to enjoy here. Beyond fans of the genre, the constant shifting in the story gives some characters a lot of heart, but other characters are neglected by more than just Cupid.
"…if you are a fan of large ensemble romantic comedies...you might find something to enjoy here."