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Emotionally Raw Day in the Life of Love-Seekers with Checkered Pasts


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Summary

  • Which Brings Me to You is a dialogue-heavy rom-com set in New York that tries to distinguish itself from other films in the genre.
  • Lucy Hale and Nat Wolff give it their all, but their characters’ checkered pasts and the supporting personas introduced in the film may not be enough to make it stand out.
  • The film mixes emotional drama with comedic moments, but the film leaves viewers wanting more of a climactic explosion in the story.


In this digital age of pseudo-enlightenment, quirky rom-coms are abundant. Many of the films are based in Los Angeles, a sort of safe bet in the unofficial U.S. capital of entertainment. If they’re not set in L.A., then they’re, of course, set in New York. Which brings me to…

Which Brings Me to You, directed by Peter Hutchings (Can You Keep a Secret?), is based on an acclaimed novel of (almost) the same name by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott, and it shows — to a fault. Perhaps an overly dialogue-heavy, somewhat subdued tale like this might be better suited for the page, but that’s not to say stars Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Nat Wolff (The Consultant) don’t give it their all, as expected. There are still a few laughs to make it more of a dramedy, though it’s hardly the romantic comedy it’s advertised as.

The pair of youngish performers have proven their acting chops in years past on both the big and small screen, but one could argue they deserve meatier roles and a juicier script here, with the characters’ checkered pasts being laid bare over the course of a sunny day in New York. There are flashbacks aplenty, and the disjointed narrative introduces a plethora of supporting personas, but it’s perhaps not enough to distinguish Which Brings Me to You from the countless other romantic features out there. Yet, with that being said, you still can’t help but root for the lead couple, especially given the relatable characters and stories woven into each relationship saga they recount.


(Not So) Fun with Will and Jane

First, when it comes to measuring the star power of the film’s leads, there are certainly lots of Lucy Hale fans out there, and Wolff’s portrayal of a volatile teen in James Franco’s film Palo Alto was inspired. With Which Brings Me to You, director Peter Hutchings has reteamed with Lucy Hale after their well-received feature, The Hating Game. This new effort tries to match the “bite” with its love-burnout leads, who happen to meet at a picturesque wedding for the first time. Wolff plays a photographer named Will, while Hale plays Jane, who we first see ordering a mocktail — which quickly turns into a cocktail — at the reception.

Word to the wise: When a cat drops dead at your wedding, that cannot be a good omen. That’s a direct quote from Will, while he and Jane walk together outside the reception and stumble upon a deceased feline in the first act. It’s morbidly humorous stuff, setting the tone for a sometimes grim tale about failed relationships that have shaped Will and Jane into the pessimistic burnouts they are today. They soon find themselves hooking up in a coat closet, but that moment dies just like the cat. Jane rightfully storms off after Will makes it weird, but he doesn’t give up too easily. Without being a creeper, he tracks her down soon after, and that’s when they really start to hit it off.

As Will gives Jane a ride back to civilization, he recounts an embarrassing high-school dating experience, which successfully reignites the film’s humorous edge. They ultimately land at a pie cafe (insert “aw, how cute” here), where Jane returns the favor by telling her own high-school tale. But the party doesn’t end there, as they end up sneaking into a closed theme park and ultimately get kicked out.

Related: The Most Underrated Romantic Comedies of the Last 25 Years, Ranked

Then, the real fun starts. Although, for a melancholic, somewhat surface-level story like this, “fun” means you’ll start seeing the familiar faces of acclaimed actors pop up as Will and Jane continue to recount other past love quarrels. Genevieve Angelson (The Afterparty) plays a somewhat mysterious fling of Will’s from his college days. Alexander Hodge (Insecure) plays a wild card of a lover from Jane’s undergrad years. Jane was briefly engaged to a dashing lad named Mark (Ward Horton), but it all goes to hell once she sleeps with his brother — yikes! The list goes on, including Will’s failed fling with Audrey (Britne Oldford from Dead Ringers), a singer whose story doesn’t just end with their messy breakup. No spoilers here, though.

Related: What Killed Romantic Comedies at the Box Office?

That’s not to say director Hutchings doesn’t provide a couple of actually fun moments on a storytelling level. Will and Jane belt out a karaoke-style musical number in the third act, which borderlines on cheesiness but is acceptable for the heart element. They also dance together after crashing an anniversary party at a local bar, meeting some colorful strangers along the way. There’s a big personal reveal not too long after, however, and then the conclusion falls victim to clichéd rom-com tropes — dramatic final monologue and all. It’s a valiant effort, but the film might not become as memorable as the novel in years to come.

Itching for Explosiveness

Which Brings Me to You

Which Brings Me To You

Release Date
January 19, 2024

Director
Peter Hutchings

Pros

  • Lucy Hale and Nat Wolff are great leads and have strong chemistry.
  • It’s a very polished production with well edited flashbacks.
Cons

  • Nothing really stands out in this romantic drama.
  • It’s dialogue heavy but not quite in the Before Sunrise way.

Given Hale and Wolff’s antics in more intense movies they’ve done in the past, you can’t help but wait impatiently for the film to really climax as the story progresses. Sure, there are a couple of twists and turns in the stories they tell each other, but the one shocker that Will reveals to Jane just itches for more of an explosion from her. Instead, she simply packs her bags and leaves — again. Yes, this is a move that’s repeated a few times during a story that only takes place over a matter of hours.

What’s also jarring is that Which Brings Me to You is officially marketed as a rom-com, but the emotional drama way overpowers the laughs here. So, which is it? As mentioned earlier, the stories Will and Jane detail are quite relatable to anyone who’s had flings during school, be it one-night-stands or a longer relationship. Juggling an undergrad course load with a social life is one thing, but to add a full-on relationship to mix? Things can certainly get tricky, so it was fun to see younger versions of Will and Jane from their college days.

It also helps that the film is shot with grace, with a melancholic and sometimes uplifting musical score to highlight what the couple is feeling in real time. Too bad Wolff and Hale don’t have more to work with here, though. But hey, if the two talented actors were to team up for a full-fledged rom-com down the line, sign us up.

From Decal, Which Brings Me to You hits theaters Friday, Jan. 19th.

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