Love Hard (2021 Netflix)

Love Hard (2021 Netflix)

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Cast: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, Darren Barnet, James Saito, Rebecca Staab, Harry Shum Jr., Heather McMahan

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Synopsis (via Netflix)

After meeting her perfect match on a dating app, an L.A. writer learns she’s been catfished when she flies 3,000 miles to surprise him for Christmas.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

Natalie is a serial LA dater who is striking out on the dating app, Flirt Alert, but has a successful blog called “Always a Bridesmaid.” Her co-worker/quirky friend named Kerry sets the swipe radius to the whole country to help her out in her search for love. 

Natalie matches with a hunk named Josh, and they talk about their favorite Christmas Movies. When Natalie shows Kerry, her friend isn’t buying it and warns Natalie of catfishing. She doesn’t listen and spends hours and hours talking with John on the phone. (Like, who talks on the telephone?!?!) 

Even still, they bond over Natalie’s recent loss of her mother, childhood bullying, and they watch Top Gun? Natalie decides to fly across the country to meet Josh in person and write an article about it, naturally.

In Lake Placid, Natalie judges her Uber/Lyft driver and debates if “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is rapey. (Remember when that was the big debate pre-COVID!?) He drops her off at the Lin house. 

Natalie meets Josh’s parents and grandmother, who are very excited a pretty girl is there for their son. Josh is NOT who she expected, and Natalie is totally catfished. Natalie beats him with a Bab Jesus. Then she drowns her sorrows in a bar and runs into the guy who Josh impersonated named Tag.

After some Kiwi shots, Natalie sings “I Would Do Anything For Love” by Meatloaf. She has an allergic reaction to the Kiwi, and her face puffs up. Josh finds her facedown in the snow and takes her to the veterinarian’s office for medical assistance. Josh tells her that hitting on Tag with sexy karaoke won’t work. Josh offers to make a deal to help get Natalie to date Tag as a way to say he is sorry. Josh also asks her to keep the facade going that they are dating for his family’s sake. 

Josh introduces Tag, and they don’t really seem to hit it off. Natalie changes who she is to fit into what Tag might like. He invites her to go rock climbing. She brings Josh with her for moral support. They listen to that song from The Breakfast Club, and Josh talks her out of a panic attack at the top and helps her down safely. 

Owen, Josh’s hot brother, shows up with his wife, Chelsea, who both think that the new couple is a mismatch. They go caroling as a family and Owen is the center of attention. Natalie and Josh sing “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” (Her least favorite song) Josh changes the lyrics to sound less rapey. It’s cute. Owen can’t let them have the attention and announces he and Chelsea are pregnant. John proposes to Natalie to one-up his brother. (To Natalie’s horror.)

Tag takes Natalie on a romantic hike to a bobsledding track. Josh seems jealous and sullenly works on his candle-making business. (He makes masculine scented candles and sentimental candles that remind him of loved ones.) 

The engagement announcement goes out in the local paper, so Josh and Natalie rush around town to steal them before Tag can see them. Natalie gives Josh some dating advice, and then they argue about the catfishing again. 

Natalie goes on a romantic date with Tag at a steakhouse; she is a vegetarian. After the date, they kiss, and Natalie isn’t feeling it. 

Josh’s family throws a surprise engagement party for Natalie and Josh. They invite everyone, including Natalie’s boss and of course Tag. Owen digs into Natalie’s background and finds out she is writing a story. He also knows about Natalie dating Tag. Before Owen can blow the whole thing up, Natalie makes an impassioned speech about catfishing and somehow makes it all about herself. 

Natalie leaves the engagement ring and a letter for Josh with his candles. She tells him to be himself. It inspires Josh to tell his father about the business he wants to start, and his father approves. 

Natalie struggles to write her article in her hotel room but gets inspired by telling what actually happened. Then she gets an alert from Flirt Alert. Josh sets up a profile for himself, and Natalie realizes that she has feelings for him. She does the Love Actually thing, even though she hates that movie, but he loves it. Josh responds, “Yippie Ki Yay, motherfucker.” (From her favorite movie, Die Hard.) They kiss. 

Side Note

Minority Report: Josh, Tag, Bob, Owen, Chelsea, Adam, Bartender, Karaoke Singer, 

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Christmas Trees represent the Christmas vibes. *** I’ve updated the rating system. Wine is overall enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know if they should watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend). 

Overall rating

Christmas Feels

🎄(1 Christmas Tree)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine.)

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*Photo Credit: © 2021 Netflix

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