How do you find lasting love in today’s world? For documentary-maker and dating app addict Zoe (Lily James), swiping right has only delivered an endless stream of Mr. Wrongs to her eccentric mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For Zoe’s childhood friend and neighbor Kaz (Shazad Latif), the answer is to follow his parents’ example and opt for an arranged (or “assisted”) marriage to a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan. As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a profoundly different approach to finding love.
‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’ is a bit of an odd film. It is simultaneously rather unique and intriguing, yet also quite formulaic and cliche. The result is an enjoyable romcom, but one that misses it’s opportunity to really stand out.
Like any good romcom, it needs a couple of strong leads. Lily James is always brilliant, bringing charm to any role that she takes to, so it is no surprise that she is the highlight of this film. Shazad Latif was unknown to me before this film, but he is clearly a talent too. He also brought a great amount of charm to the role and as leads go, both James and Latif anchor the film very nicely. Supporting roles are mostly well filled but there aren’t any performances to particularly shout about.
In terms of the story, this is where things get a bit mixed. I loved the angle it was originally taking. It felt quite fresh and intriguing. It offered some great insights into different cultural views on love and marriage. The humour is actually very good, with lots of great laugh out loud moments. But ultimately I felt let down as the film surrenders to romcom cliches and tropes and come the end the lasting impression isn’t anything special.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very enjoyable film, and probably one of the funniest romcoms I’ve seen in a good while. I do think there was an opportunity missed to create something really unique and special, but it is a very enjoyable film regardless.