A Tourist’s Guide to Love is a flawed but quietly charming romance film for fans of the genre and a slightly entertaining diversion for others.
This review of the Netflix film A Tourist’s Guide to Love does not contain spoilers.
You may discount A Tourist’s Guide to Love, and no one would blame you. However, this new Netflix romance film has the ability to coax the approval out of you with the best of intentions, even if the enjoyment comes in spasmodic, charismatic bursts.
A Tourist’s Guide to Love review and plot summary
Rachel Leigh Cook of She’s All That and Josie and the Pussycats plays Amanda, a travel executive in Los Angeles. She is tasked with finding someone to vet a family-owned Vietnamese travel company called Saigon Silver Star to add to her employer’s portfolio. However, after her boyfriend, John (Ben Feldman), puts their relationship on hold after taking a job in Ohio, she takes the assignment herself.
The next day, Amanda is on a flight to Vietnam undercover. She has a list of items to cross off before reporting to her boss, Mona (Galaxy Quest’s Missi Pyle). When Amanda arrives, her bag is lost, but she is helped by Sinh (Scott Ly), the attractive nephew of the Saigon Silver Star owner. The strict and disciplined workaholic Amanda finds herself overcome by the region’s beauty. Also, under the spell of the unconventional and mindful Sinh, who knows nothing but living in the moment.
As romantic dramedies go, veteran television director Steven K. Tsuchida (On My Block) and writer Eirene Donohue tone down any obnoxious humor for atmosphere and an enjoyable quiet charm. Loosely based on the real-life experiences of Donohue, she puts forth a sense of love and respect for the setting. You won’t see the city of Vancouver turned into Vietnam here. The movie was shot in various locations around Vietnam, like multiple cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and others. So, you feel a sense of authenticity that takes you if not to another time then at least another place.
The movie has the usual Eat Pray Love tropes. Why no woman ever questions if a guy like Sinh uses the sites, sounds, and shirtless beach tours as a way to romance women is always beyond me. Or why everyone in these genre films has to end with a declaration of love other than a vacation romance? And when that ex-relationship travels halfway around the world to win you back, why not just kick them to the curb where they belong? However, Cook and Ly have some genuine chemistry, but it’s refreshing because they are apprehensive, even awkward, while building a rapport. That type of chance meeting that’s more realistic than a cinematic one.
A Tourist Guide to Love has obvious faults. For instance, a few too many music montages that you always see in the genre. The plot ignores just obvious human nature. There are some who would have an issue with getting what you paid for and not wanting an off-the-beaten-path experience. I mean, paying good money to go and stay at the tour guide’s grandmother’s house seems like a Yelp disaster. Still, this leads to some heartwarming moments.
Is A Tourist’s Guide to Love good or bad?
A Tourist’s Guide to Love is a slightly above-average streaming affair that was made for fans of the genre but succeeds because of its quiet charm.
Is A Tourist’s Guide to Love worth watching?
A Toursist’s Guide to Love is a flawed but quietly charming romance film that’s strictly for fans of the genre and a diversion for others. At the very least, you will enjoy the chemistry between Cook and Ly and its mindful nature.
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You can watch this film with a subscription to Netflix.