‘Falling Inn Love’ with the Netflix rom com

Stay home, skip your readings and watch a new classic

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"Falling Inn Love" lead Christiana Milian, pictured here at the 2016 Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo.  

Gage Skidmore

“She’s a beauty,” Christina Milian says, gazing longingly at the central fireplace in the old fashioned New Zealand inn. The camera cuts to a medium shot of the male lead, his piercing blue eyes fixed on Milian, who is in shallow focus. “She sure is,” the man says, clearly not talking about the fireplace but instead expressing his secret adoration for the former San Francisco marketing executive. 

It’s a romantic comedy trope almost as old as the meet-cute or the airport dash. An offhand remark turns into a profession of love, usually around the midpoint of the film before any outward confessions — just a lot of tension and accidental physical touch. In Netflix’s new rom com “Falling Inn Love,” Milian and her co-star, Adam Demos, share this moment as they renovate the Bellbird Inn, which Milian has recently acquired through quirky circumstance. 

Netflix has been the it-girl for romantic comedy output for the past few years, following last summer’s “Set it Up” and “To All the Boys I Loved Before” with “Always Be My Maybe” in May and now “Falling Inn Love,” which began streaming August 29. Though of varying quality, the films all share a sense of steadfast loyalty to the genre — following the roadmap of accidental meeting, unlikely connection and bonding, third act misunderstanding and ending with the couple being happy and in love, for the foreseeable future. They’re the kind of predictable fare fans of the genre love. With few exceptions, no one really wants a twist in a rom com — they want an escape.  

“Falling Inn Love” provides such an outlet. The first time I saw the trailer was a mere ten days before it dropped on Netflix, which was perfect timing because I immediately noticed that it would come out just a couple days after I returned to Grounds. It was also perfect timing because if I had seen the trailer any time further out from the release date I would have completely forgotten about its existence, because, honestly, the movie is pretty forgettable. I can’t even remember Christina Milian’s character’s name, so I have to just keep calling her Christina Milian. 

So the script isn’t winning any Academy Awards. Instead, the film is providing one student’s tired, poor soul with an outlet to channel her lust for a different life — one where syllabi are replaced by friendly Kiwis who own greenhouses and trips to the bookstore become walks along the beach at sunset. If I had a dollar for every time during this movie I thought to myself “maybe I should own and operate a bed and breakfast,” I’d be at least $10 richer, I’ll tell you that. 

This isn’t to say that moving to New Zealand to refurbish a dilapidated inn while opening your heart to the community and a handsome stranger with a mysterious, heart-wrenching past would actually be easier than getting a degree. In actuality, it would probably be a lot harder, and filled with the pitfalls of local ordinances and startup money and being weirdly condescending to the town you’ve descended on to better your life. But the romantic comedy paints a glossy layer of finish on those concerns, leaving only the wistful thoughts of picking out plants for the deck and befriending the random goat that lives on the property for comedic effect.  

While I eagerly await a time when big-budget rom coms can command the box office again — if you can remember, just ten years ago “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds made $163 million domestically — it’s comforting to know that there’s a more affordable option for the “Falling Inn Loves” of the world. I’m not sure I would spend 10 bucks to see it on the big screen, but viewing it at home? With my roommates? On a Thursday night? Priceless. 

If you’re in the mood to watch a woman with a plethora of adorable headbands fall for a contractor/volunteer firefighter (!!) played by an Australian man who is not even pretending to be from New Zealand, I can’t recommend “Falling Inn Love” enough. Beware, though — it will make you want to drop out of school and move to a rural town to start a small business. That can’t be helped. 

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