What’s Love Got to Do with It review – Inclusive and engaging romcom
The Working Title logo signals that this is another frothy British rom-com from the Four Weddings template. But, here, Khan (ex-wife of Pakistan’s former PM Imran) is trying to spice it up with eastern flavours.
Lily James is “award-winning documentary filmmaker” Zoe – a Bridget Jones-type who lives on a canal boat moored close to the large London house where her quirky mum Cath (inevitably played by Emma Thompson) gets on famously with the lovely Khan family next door.
Zoe’s childhood neighbour and best pal Kaz Khan (Shazad Latif), now a dishy doctor, has agreed to let his Pakistani parents find him a Muslim bride.
Her new documentary Love Contractually (a far better title) will examine whether eastern marriage conventions are more successful than western notions of following your heart.
While the film makes steps towards cultural inclusivity, considering the merits of Islamic arranged marriages, we never doubt that western romantic love will triumph.
Surely the handsome couple on the poster will end up together?
Sadly, the script wastes so much time on fruitless discussions, there’s no time for the leads’ chemistry to spark.
The plot doesn’t make much sense either. A key development involves Zoe discovering on Facebook that Kaz’s sister Jamila (Mariam Haque) has been banned from the family home since she married a non-Muslim.
Zoe must have grown up with Jamila, too, and Cath is close to her parents. How could they be oblivious to an estranged daughter?
There are some engaging scenes at Kaz’s wedding in Lahore (a sequence with Sufi singers is wonderful) and a smattering of mildly amusing lines, but this romcom is more of a head scratcher than a heart flutterer.
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