A romcom mockumentary that’s quite good fun, here’s our Love Possibly review.
Directors: Michael Boccalini, Che Grant
Lead cast: Steve Hodgetts, Anna Danshina, Julie Nesher, Michelle Thomas
Release date: Out now
Reviewer: Tom Beasley
Since Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights and other silent movies in the early part of the 20th century, the romantic comedy has permeated the film world, and this issue of Film Stories alone is not shy of examples. Love Possibly knows that (well, the first bit) and seems to view the genre with an equal balance of reverence and contempt.
This, then, is a tale told through a mockumentary lens, following comedy performer Steve Hodgetts’s hapless, socially awkward rom-com fan as he searches for love. He soon discovers a mail-order bride website and meets Lana (Anna Danshina), who agrees to move from Moldova to London in order to marry him. Writer-directors Michael Boccalini and Che Grant – with the help of four other credited scribes, including Hodgetts – structure their story around the tropes of the rom-com, from ‘boy meets girl’ through to ‘opposites attract’ and ‘turmoil at the three-quarter mark’. It’s a reflection of the protagonist’s idealised perspective on relationships. He’s a man who owns two DVD copies of Sleepless In Seattle and thinks the placard scene in Love, Actually is romantic – enough to make anyone’s alarm bells ring.
Hodgetts’s performance dances nimbly between charming naivety and the inherent problems of someone whose romantic education has come from the big screen. It’s a committed and engaging turn, littered with cringe comedy gags and the climactic spectacle of Hodgetts running around Piccadilly Circus in his pants like he’s starring in a very British remake of Birdman. The standout here, though, is Danshina. She radiates star quality with every precision-timed grimace to camera and brings depth to a film that often feels like a mere skim of the surface of these characters.
While the comic beats come thick and fast, there’s very little sense that the audience is ever getting into the nuance of what makes these characters tick, as fun as it is to spend time in their presence.