(Written by Allison Brown)
If you are looking for a brief escape from reality, Resort to Love is a formidable generic romantic comedy for this purpose. I found it difficult to connect to the romance element, as there was not much chemistry between Christina Milian and either of her suitors. The plot was hollow as well, adding nothing particularly interesting to the genre. Perhaps the only unique element is that Christina Milian, of “Dip It Low” fame, is given a platform to let her stunning vocals shine.
The scene is set in my glorious home of New York City. Erica (Christina Milian) is on the verge of becoming a pop superstar, as her collaboration with performer, Cre (Kayne Lee Harrison), is about to drop. She fiddles with a snag on her outfit to wear for his album release party, and all of a sudden, it falls apart. Erica has nothing else to wear, but her friend, Amber (Tymberlee Hill), stumbles upon her wedding dress, and convinces Erica to let her repurpose it for the big event. The audience soon learns that this wedding dress is from an abandoned engagement to Jason (Jay Pharaoh). He suddenly left her for a big-shot VP job in Charleston, South Carolina, and Erica is not over him.
Her dreams of success are rapidly ripped from her grasp as Cre destroys his highly anticipated record on stage and announces it is scrapped. He will never work again because he is “tired of being ripped off” by people leaking his songs. After a brief period of isolation, Amber convinces Erica to take an entertainer gig for her social media marketing client, Mer de Saphir, a luxury hotel set in the “tropical paradise” of Mauritius (off the southeast coast of Africa).
With a whoosh of a plane, we are transported to an airport on the island, where she meets Barrington (T.J. Power), her band’s guitarist who is the hotel’s shuttle driver amongst other roles. His random cacophony of trades are just a preview of the low tier nature of the position she has accepted. Although her new home is a postcard vision of shimmering teal sea and deeply hued greens where her “sinuses are finally clear after five years”, the role is a massive step down from her budding music career. Hotel employees are not allowed to use the pool or beach on site, and there is a terrifyingly omnipresent species of geckos. Even worse, Erica has to sing at weddings, the most degrading job a singer must take, and an uncomfortable situation after her recently failed engagement. If she wants to quit, she will be forced to do so at her own expense, and as a result, Erica decides to stay.
As she finally adjusts to her new situation, the camera pans to Erica relaxing on the beach. She hears a man screaming in danger in the water, and tries to save him. Turns out, he is shallowly screaming for his lost GoPro, and unintentionally tries to drown her as well. A stunning tall, dark, and handsome man appears to save them both. This man, Caleb (Sinqua Walls), is ex US military special forces, and invites her to grab food or a “coconut rum drink thing.” Has she found a new love interest?
To no surprise, the man is not as perfect as he appears. His last name is King, the same as her ex-fiancé, Jason. Yep – you’ve guessed it. They are brothers! She must perform at his wedding, which is of course taking place at this resort. Hijinks ensue, and it is just as predictable as any movie with the exact same plot. Jason’s new fiancé, Beverly (Christiani Pitts), wants to be friends, and his entire friend and family group endeavor to maintain the big secret of why Jason and Erica know one another. Obviously, this is eventually not successful, and disaster is impending.
Resort to Love does a decent job of engaging the audience with brief musical interludes scattered throughout. After the Alicia Keys song, “No One,” becomes a significant plot device and ubiquitous reference, it is no surprise to see her name amongst the producers when the credits roll. The film has some silly one-liners, such as the rescued GoPro tourist asking Caleb, “Should we get a pic for the grid?” and Beverly, a former beauty queen stating, “I’m really going to be a queen, because I’m marrying a king.” Aside from these brief moments, the movie is relatively boring, and offers nothing new to the rom-com genre.
Netflix sends subscribers on a trip to the Resort to Love on Thursday, July 29th.