If you’ve ever pondered online dating, then I would strongly suggest that you take a look at Pablo Pappano’s documentary on the subject, Clickin’ for Love. The film is impressive in its scope, covering so many different perspectives on online dating; informative in its details, constantly backing up testimonial and anecdotes with facts and figures; and highly entertaining, giving us personalities ranging from swinging superdads to the awkward noob. It manages to dispel a few myths about the desperation normally suspected as the cause of online dating, while also establishing a few new ones.
And it all makes sense, especially the idea of online dating as an extension of comparing and contrasting for a better product or deal, such as when online shopping; just as we browse numerous Amazon listings for a new book to read, so too can we browse profiles for a new person to love, date and/or f**k (not necessarily in that order). To that end, it even becomes more than just browsing individual profiles, but browsing different-styled websites full of profiles, from the paid giants like Match.com or eHarmony, to Craigslist or some of the more obscure niche sites.
In a film like this, it would be easy to take a judgmental role, or even use it as an opportunity to ridicule; there are certainly enough humorous anecdotes of online dating gone awry for a filmmaker to plumb for entertainment. Clickin’ for Love aims for completeness, however, giving us tales of not only the funny, sad or disturbing, but also success stories and the like. We also get to follow along as one participant tries online dating for the first time.
Which is yet another reason I am such a fan of this film now: it is wonderfully thorough. While I’m sure it doesn’t hit on every question one would have about online dating, or even all the questions I alone could probably come up with, it hits on a ton of them. So much so that, when it was over, I didn’t immediately have anything else I necessarily wanted to know, and I had a better idea of what sort of things are involved with and are possible with online dating, as well as some of the personalities that are drawn to it. I can’t say all the personalities, because while there appear to be some surface consistencies, overall the people wind up being as varied as, well, people.
Clickin’ for Love looks clean and pretty, mixes many different storytelling elements in, from animation to straight-up talking heads, and even has some original music that may be a bit too on-the-nose for some tastes, but was appropriately silly for me. I don’t know if it’ll change your life (well, unless you’re thinking of getting into online dating, or already are and can relate), but sometimes you just want a documentary that entertains while giving you a peek into another world.
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