Book of Love (2022) review – an enjoyable, yet uneven romantic comedy

February 5, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Amazon Prime, Film Reviews, Streaming Service
2.5

Summary

Book of Love is a funny, uneven rom-com that offers mild returns for its target audience.

2.5

Summary

Book of Love is a funny, uneven rom-com that offers mild returns for its target audience.

This review of Amazon original film Book of Love (2022) does not contain spoilers.

The world is filled with published authors who failed. Hell, 97% of the books started are never finished by writers because they are too afraid of failure. So, just finishing a book is an accomplishment. Though some writers need to take a hint. Take the Book of Love’s Henry (Sam Claflin). An uptight writer had his book, The Sensible Heart, a romance without sex. Hilariously, to Henry’s embarrassment, he sold only two copies in England. The local book store has a sign that says, “Buy one, get three free” — for only his book, mind you.

That’s when things take a turn for the better. Henry has a meeting with his publisher, Jen (a hilariously deadpan Lucy Punch). His sexless romance novel is the number one selling book in Mexico. Someone translated the yawn fest into a popular romp. He flys down to Mexico City to go on a quick book tour and meets the translator, Marai (Verónica Echegui), an impassioned single mother who always wanted to be a writer but was limited by circumstances.

David Quantick’s (Veep) and director Analine Cal y Mayor’s script smartly unveils a plot point immediately instead of making it the third act’s primary focus. Maria added the critical element of sex to his lifeless prose. When the reveal is made during a book reading, more laughs are generated between the quirky audience members and the main characters than the friction between them. They are complete opposites. Claflin plays Henry as uptight and a pushover. While Maria is a spitfire, their clash doesn’t generate as many laughs as you think.

Mayor’s rom-com has its delightful moments and is best served when it revels in acting as a telenovela satire or Henry’s fish out of water character arc in Mexico, and, with romance. While it’s refreshing to have an older actress cast opposite a younger man in the genre, along with Claflin’s nerdy, disheveled, unkempt sad-sack making his handsome face, chiseled jaw, and high cheekbones ironic (the equivalent to a beautiful woman in a 90s comedy hiding behind a pair of glasses), there is very little heat between them. Any blossoming romance is unearned.

Book of Love was made for fans of the genre but fell short of expectations. It can be sweet-natured, and Claflin has a real knack for deadpan delivery. (His explanation of his favorite telenovela is priceless). It’s harmless, even enjoyable at times. However, it is never low-brow enough to be insulting (it could have used more of this, admittedly). Yet, it never offers enough chemistry to keep the final act interesting. Even if you think to look past some obvious issues, for example, why he needs a translator if the talk show hosts speak English and Maria is not translating for the audience, this is a toss-up for the film’s fans and a mild recommendation strictly for diehards.

What did you think of the Amazon original film Book of Love (2022)? Comment below!

You can watch this film with a subscription to Prime.

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