I am stepping out of Hallmark Holiday Mode and back into Netflix WTF mode. As requested by an Avocado member (think sea cat), I am reviewing something called Falling Inn Love. That’s no typo in the title, my friend. That is a deliberate attempt at humor.
When a San Francisco exec wins a New Zealand inn, she ditches city life to remodel and flip the rustic property with help from a handsome contractor.
According to Netflix, the tags for this film are “opposites attract”, “feel good”, and “romantic.” Let’s find out if any of these descriptors are true.
We begin with a close up of Gabriela aka Christina Milian cycling around the countryside while upbeat music plays. She joyfully shouts, “WOOO! I love the country!” because it is that fantastic. But wait! But she’s not actually in the countryside! She’s in her apartment wearing some VR headgear.
After her fake exercise, Gabriela heads to the office and preps for the “big pitch.” While waiting, she scrolls mindlessly through her phone and looks at a click-bait ad announcing that YOU can win an inn. This takes place in a universe where people actually click on online ads.
A few fratboy-looking characters casually enter the meeting room and tell Gabriela that her eco-housing pitch has been moved to next week. She protests, but the lead bro Chad just shrugs her off. The group promptly leaves which brings into question why they entered the meeting room in the first place.
Gabriela meets with her boyfriend Dean for dinner to lament her work life. Throughout the conversation we pick up on the fact that her significant other seems fairly hesitant about moving forward in the relationship. Gabriela then goes to yoga to lament her relationship situation to her friend.
The friend tells Gabriela that the best way to keep this relationship afloat is to force Dean to propose or walk. It’s how she got her husband to propose! “Friends” in romantic films are actual sociopaths.
The next day, Gabriela arrives at the office to find that everyone has been locked out. Chad panics and checks Twitter. Apparently, the company folded and forgot to tell their employees.
With things seemingly going to crap, Gabriela goes for broke and decides to take her friend’s relationship advice. Dean does not take to his girlfriend’s ultimatum very well. She realizes that it’s not meant to be and drops him. She spends the whole of the next day on the couch.
After a full day of moping, Gabriela remembers the online ad and decides to enter after drinking lots of white wine. The next morning, she gets an email saying she won. This is how life works in Falling Inn Love.
Gabriela invites her friend over to watch her pack for New Zealand. The friend informs her departing pal that she and her husband have to go to couples’ therapy. I wonder why? Gabriela hands over the keys to her apartment so that this friend can have a getaway place. All of this is very healthy.
Gabriela arrives in New Zealand and gets lost after taking a random bus to nowhere. The online ad that gives you a free house didn’t arrange her travel? In any other world, this would be a scam. Gabriela experiences more misfortune as her suitcase rolls down a hill and gets hit by a car. Thankfully, the car is owned by a handsome man.
The friendly Kiwi offers Gabriela a ride, but she refuses. Probably a smart move seeing as she’s by herself on a dirt road. She drags her suitcase to the nearest coffee shop where the owners are so friendly that they give her a free coffee. There’s no real reason for them to do this.
She reaches her new inn only to find that it’s a dilapidated mess.
Gabriela spends her first night in the inn and almost burns it down. There is also a naughty goat that lives inside. The whole thing sucks.
The next morning, Gabriela goes into town to begin her DIY duties. She runs into the luggage-car-man who offers some advice for fixing up the place, but Gabriela rebuffs his help. She later finds out that he’s Jake Taylor, the best contractor in town. She’ll have to eventually use his services, but we gotta do a whole dance until that happens.
We get a montage where Gabriela wields a machete and fights with the goat.
The new inn owner makes friends with the town’s inhabitants. Everyone in this place is a “colorful” character.
She is invited by a crazy woman named Charlotte to her house for tea. Charlotte is nosy and owns a frightening number of dolls. She also has an ulterior motive: to own the inn. She offers Gabriela a princely sum, but the American asks for a bit of time to think it over.
We learn that Jake Taylor’s girlfriend died, so he’s single now. The couple have an impromptu lunch date and warm to one another. After a bit of time, she asks Jake to be her business partner and help fix the inn.
While sledgehammering some of the walls, Gabriela finds love letters planted by the set designer. They keep them to the side until the plot calls for the letters to appear again. The couple continues to fall in love.
Jake takes off his shirt to wipe himself with a rag?? Gabriela sees it and that’s it. The whole thing lasts about 15 seconds. Useless.
Gabriela goes shopping with the local home and garden lady. While they’re distracted, a devious Charlotte grabs Gabriela’s phone and answers the many texts from Dean. Pretending to be Gabriela, the scheming woman texts him to come to NZ and prove his love to her.
Jake and Gabriela go for a picnic. Gabriela brings the love letters from the wall so that they can read them together. The letters are correspondence between the former owner of the inn and her lover in WWI. All this talk of dead soldiers leads to a kiss between Jake and Gabriela and a swim in the ocean in their underwear.
After this beautiful scene, Jake unfortunately overhears a job-related conversation between Gabriela and Chad. He angrily shouts at Gabriela for even considering leaving New Zealand. Maybe he killed his last girlfriend.
They finally finish fixing up the place and have a launch party. But, uh oh, Dean arrives! And he’s brought an Australian buyer (much to Charlotte’s dismay)! The buyer is overjoyed with the place and offers Gabriela and Jake huge sum of money. Gabriela tries to take her business partner aside to discuss, but he accepts the offer because he is a stubborn man.
The whole scene is interrupted by a fire. Charlotte’s inn is ablaze! All of her dolls start to burn. Jake retrieves an old man from the house.
The next morning, Gabriela breaks up with Dean again. He’s fine with it which is pretty crazy considering New Zealand flights aren’t cheap. She then goes to the law office to sign the papers with Jake. Charlotte bursts into the room and confesses that she brought Dean (and the Australians) into their lives. Gabriela gives a grand speech, revealing that she will keep the inn.
Gabriela returns to the inn to think about what she has done. Jake arrives and hands her a letter. In it, he details what he wants: to run the inn together. Gabriela agrees. They kiss. FIN.
Well, that was forced. Jake’s personality moved from non-existent to petulant. Why does every man have to be childish when they don’t get what they want? You are not owed anyone’s love! Is this not a massive red flag? I’m not sure what I’ve learned about New Zealand apart from that Australians hate the place.
To the Avocado’s resident New Zealanders: is the kiwi way of life about “fixing up what’s not working and treasuring what’s worth saving”? Because that’s what the film tells me!
Rating: five out of seven kimonos from the Dip It Low set.
- Christina Milian is the lead. I dunno what to say about her.
- Dean is played by Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman who was fun in UnREAL until the show went off the rails.
- The handsome suitor is played by a guy who was also in UnREAL.
- I like how this film has an unnecessarily dead loved one in it.
- For bringing one suitcase, Gabriela sure has a lot of clothes to change into.
- Gabriela wants to make an eco-lodge that has solar panels. This town better be in the part of NZ that experiences sunshine.
- While driving to Jake’s place deep in the countryside, Jake and Gabriela sing along to Da Dip. It’s awful.
- Gabriela needs to have a lock code on her phone.
- Jake and Gabriela are terrible business partners. They don’t consult each other when it comes to selling the place.