A good romantic comedy should be able to seize your heart and thrust into your ribcage, which then cracks because your heart has been inflated by the movie’s love-centered humor and so is too big for your ribcage.
Yeah, it’s funny how love goes.
Director Steven K. Tsuchida’s “Resort to Love” attempts to cut a swathe in this direction, not with a cookie cutter but with something cut from an entirely different mold.
Unfortunately, on that score, he fails badly.
This movie sticks to fundamental romcom formulae. However this doesn’t stop the movie from putting the “fun” into fundamental.
Erica Wilson (Christina Milian) is a musician whose career is the on the cusp of greatness, she has just recorded a song with an industry-topping artist called Cre (Kayne Lee Harrison).
Although his name sounds like an incomplete syllable (Creed), she trusts that a song collaboration with him shall complete her rise to the top.
This doesn’t turn out to be the case.
And, on the back of the break-up of her engagement, she goes to pieces. Thereafter, she falls into a funk whose cushion is her living room couch.
That’s when Erica’s best friend Amber (Tymberlee Hill) comes to the rescue with a plan for Erica to get off the couch and get a regular gig as a singer at a resort in Mauritius.
Now you know where part of the double-meaning of the word “resort” comes from, the rest comes later as Erica runs into her ex-fiancé, Jason King (Jay Pharoah), and his new bride-to-be!
At this point, you must be clutching your sides or, more appropriately, side-dishes and saying “Omigod”.
It doesn’t end there; Jason’s bride-to-be is Beverly Strattford (Christiani Pitts) and she is noticeably better looking and more accomplished than Erica.
Once face to face, however, the residual feelings both Erica and Jason have for each other threaten to bubble over into an emotional tsunami.
To make things even more complicated, Jason’s Taye Diggs-with-hair brother Caleb King (Sinqua Walls) falls for Erica.
Also, Beverly falls for Erica too!
Not in that way, but in a heteronormative way which spells “BFF” as Beverly insists on including Erica in her wedding party without knowing her history with Jason.
As they spend more time together, Jason and Erica seem destined to be together. But that also applies to Caleb, who is an ex-soldier, and Erica.
It is this romantic back and forth that will leave you torn, either rooting for either Team Jason & Erica or Team Caleb & Erica.
It makes for so much tail-chasing fun as both guys chase some “tail”, so to speak.
To relieve some of this tension-filled dramedy, Erica’s French boss Claire (Sylvaine Strike), Beverly’s sister Janelle Strattford (Karen Obliom) and Jason’s mother Naomi King (Jeryl Prescott) bring the necessary crazy which keeps the movie chugging along like a train on its track.
There’s also the narrative undertow of taking a chance with Erica learning how to place her heart before her head and Caleb learning to color outside the lines drawn by a structured military career.
As Erica, singer Christina Milian’s performance is hinged on her powerful voice.
Although not so powerful as to overshadow Alicia Keys’ singing ability when she sings covers for Keys classics such as “No One”.
Oftentimes “Resort to Love” seems like an advertorial for Keyes’ singing ability. She is the movie’s producer after all.
Jay Pharaoh doesn’t do any of his legendary impressions, but his dramatic pacing and comic timing are right on the money.
The cinematography has some resplendent drone shots of Mauritius which showcase its sweeping vistas as a perfect sun-washed paradise.
Inevitably, love conquers all.
Still, methinks, for the sake of a few laughs, this movie would’ve worked better if its happily-ever-after was replaced by an open-ended comedy of manners.