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Holiday romcom 'Funny Thing About Love' sputters

Posted at 9:48 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 11:48:43-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — There are many funny things about love, but you won't find many of them in the soulless romcom "Funny Thing About Love."

A Hallmark-style romantic comedy works best as a first date movie in which you don't want there to be a second. The film is available on-demand and in theaters on Dec. 3.

Shot on location in the Phoenix area, the punchless, aloof tale stars Summer Bellessa as Samantha, a businesswoman who has her doofus lawyer boyfriend, Bryce (Jason Gray), over to her parent's house for the holidays.

Also staying there, oddly, is her ex-boyfriend, Luke (Kevan Moezzi). Luke happens to be a famous stand-up comedian who dumped Samantha but is having second thoughts.

The most notable stars show up in bit roles but have all the best lines. Jon Heder — Napoleon Dynamite himself — hangs around as Charlie, Samantha's goofy brother.

The ageless crank Barry Corbin plays Grandpa Joe, a master of inappropriate comments at the dinner table.

Oddly, Bryce is entirely comfortable with Luke's presence and — star-struck — may be as infatuated with Luke as Samantha.

That subtle plotline might have led to more exciting places but is played for cheap, awkward laughs in the milquetoast tale.

There is a cruel edge to the plot because Bryce is oblivious to the sparks flying between Summer and Luke. The story is a slow-moving train wreck of a love triangle that's far more cringe than heartwarming.

The film abounds with one-percenter problems—Samantha bellyaches over the indecision of selling her company for $1.5 million.

Luke is wary about whether to keep up his standup career or sell out for a big TV show. It's like watching people struggle over the choice of which expensive wine to order.

There's also a disconnect because the characters and casting don't make a lot of sense.

Why would a celebrity crash with his ex's family? Why wasn't Heder — who is far funnier than Moezzi — cast in the role of Luke? Why would Samantha choose either of these guys?

"Funny Thing About Love" brings up more questions than it answers and doesn't stay interesting enough for you to care much about the answers.

As harmless holiday fluff, it's serviceable, but as Samantha should realize, there are better options out there.

RATING: 1.5 stars out of 4.

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