I have to admit up front that the romantic comedy is one of my favorite genres in film. When two people navigate an eventful and maybe sometimes rocky road to end up happy with each other, my entertainment hopes are fulfilled. Honestly, there doesn’t even have to be anything at all groundbreaking or risk-taking in the storytelling to please me. It is extremely rare for me to feel I’ve wasted my time when watching a rom-com.
This film tells the story of Maca, short for Macarena (yes, like the song), played by Maria Valverde. She is determined to take charge in her own life in Madrid, even as she endures a despicable fashion influencer boss and still getting over old love Leo, played by Alex Gonzalez. A new job opportunity appears through Raquel (Eva Ugarte) but Maca’s life is shaken up by the fact that Raquel is dating…Leo. This is the guy who had simply left for a scholarship when he and Maca were about to move in together and never apologized.
It seems to me that many recent romances on screen have attempted what they think of as an “edgy” or “modern” tone consisting of sexual content and language that is at times awkwardly graphic. That is the case with Sounds Like Love. This kind of tone has never been to my particular taste. I just don’t find it entertaining.
There are even more fundamental problems with the script here. There are subplots involving Maca’s friends Jimena and Adriana that simply distract from the central character’s development and make the film run on too long. Maca directly addresses the camera, breaking the fourth wall so to speak, and references romantic comedies when she does so. The filmmakers seem to think they are satirizing the genre but that is not the feeling the audience is left with while watching.
Other problems also appear. Maca’s boss is so over-the-top rude and self-absorbed that she becomes a caricature and not a real person. (At one point, she actually makes Maca record a video to post while their plane is experiencing turbulence.) The emotional beats throughout the film, most noticeably it’s second act, are extremely predictable, and not in the comforting way that romantic comedies usually are, and perhaps should be. No, this is in a lazy writing type of way. Having never read the Elisabet Benavent novel on which the film is based, I can’t speak to the screenplay’s faithfulness to it, but the writing here is not an impressive foundation for the production. We’ll all probably like at least some of the songs, though?
Another area of concern is the fact that the chemistry between Valverde and Gonzalez is solidly medium level instead of the off-the-charts level that truly makes the best romantic comedies something special. Both actors are photogenic and watchable but they are hampered by what the writing gives them. The filmmakers can’t seem to settle on making Leo an ass to be kicked to the curb or a genuinely remorseful guy who is actually in love with Maca.
Most glaring of all to me, the romantic comedy fan, is that the ending itself cops out on a clear indication on whether Maca and Leo end up together. If you have a question about the couple being together in the end, can you really call it a romantic comedy? Sounds Like Love seems to think you can but I don’t agree. Netflix has other rom-coms on offer for your time.