Hooking Up review – this rom-com loses its way

March 31, 2020
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews


Hooking Up wastes a strong performance by Brittany Snow by pivoting into a standard romantic-comedy roadmap.



Hooking Up wastes a strong performance by Brittany Snow by pivoting into a standard romantic-comedy roadmap.

Hooking Up, in some ways, started with such an exciting premise. I thought for sure the writer/director Nico Raineau would break the rules when it comes to the standard romantic comedy roadmap. After all, Jack Kerouac knew that the adventure lay within the way the wind blows rather than sticking to its preset destination. Even Frasier wanted to “ramble” with his family down the highway in a Winnebago with his eccentric family while noting Buzz and Todd got their kicks on Route 66. This shows an overall lack of trust in an audience when they then play it safe — though I think Darla’s road-trip idea sounds like a lot more fun; more on that below.

Brittany Snow stars as Darla, a sex addict, writing a “romance” column for a woman’s magazine. Her boss, Tanya (Jordana Brewster), thinks her columns have gotten stale and decides to terminate her. To save her job, she comes up with a plan to recreate her entire sexual history by taking a road trip by mapping the escapades and writing about them. She decides to bring along Baily (Sam Richardson), a young man who stumbled drunk into her addiction group after finding out that his testicular cancer has come back after defeating it months prior and failing to get back his high school sweetheart (A Million Little Thing’s Anna Akana).

The first half of Hooking Up is entertaining and has a lot of promises, with most of it coming from a very strong comedic turn by Snow. She has a real knack for quick, sharp, sarcastic quips that hit their mark and induce a handful of good laughs. The script only works with a strong female lead, with Richardson’s earnest, shy, and sheltered Baily making a perfect foil to Darla’s independence. She even gives her character a sense of depth in a scene about a deep regret of a one-night stand that broke apart a marriage.

Hooking Up Image 2

However, the film takes the road of every single rom-com since Richard Gere climbed a staircase to get to Julia Roberts because “it’s the best.” The script pivots to the typical invention of creating a “tension” that forces both to take a look at their relationship — lazily, I might add. A third member of the love triangle comes into play to give one of them a comparison of what they missed or wish they had. Then, it’s all wrapped together with a nice little bow, even though the way they do it is off-putting as it involves attempting to create laughs at the expense of a cancer patient.

Of course, that can all be fine, but the entire film goes on an auto-pilot at that point, with the actors demonstrating little interest in the material. Hooking Up strolls through standard rom-com clichés, the rest of the performances are phoned in, and it dully arrives at its all-too-familiar destination.

And that’s a shame because there was a real promise here of a marginally recommendable comedy with a daring premise. If you are a fan of the genre, you won’t mind the formula, even though you should be offended by how they performed it.

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