Love.com has languished in my Netflix queue for a few weeks now, simply because its description was so absurd to be irresistible: “When a fashion blogger falls for a video game vlogger, their romance goes viral. But separating their virtual life from reality gets complicated.” The alleged premise, clearly, was an act of fantasy—though several pillars of the fashion community have gravitated towards tech moguls in their love lives, “video game vlogger” is on another planet—but for a romantic comedy, it is a set-up so archetypal as to be Shakespearean. Girl meets boy from the wrong side of the tracks, only the tracks in this case are like... the wrong side of YouTube.
As it turns out, Love.com (or, in Brazil, Amor.com) is delightful and sweet as any great romcom with two charismatic stars, and its utterly unlikely premise and hyper-contemporary subjects (prepare for a lot of talk about virality and engagement) end up in pretty hilarious hijinks. Isis Valverde plays Katrina, a popular vlogger whose videos combine runway fashion coverage with beauty tips and tutorials, truly a wunderkind of our time. She’s scheduled as the special guest influencer to open an exclusive boutique during Sao Paolo fashion week, but as she goes to pay for her purchases (LIKE THEY WOULD MAKE HER PAY!), the entire automated register system breaks down!
Whatever will they do? Oh, right—make a quick phone call to their IT guy, a “genius hacker” who at that very moment happens to be recording his own vlog reviewing video games with his nerd friends, a would-be lothario and a stand-up comedian. (That part is incredibly realistic.) Said “genius hacker”/IT guy is Fernando, played by the adorably nerdy Gil Coelho, and when he first enters the fashion party wearing a t-shirt over a hoodie and some ill-fitting jeans, the attendees are disgusted and shocked!
As he fixes the register system, Katrina finds out that some snack she has been dating sent around a nude he took surreptitiously while she was sleeping, so she enlists Fernando’s help to hack into his phone—and the phones of all the people he sent it to over WhatsApp—and delete the pics. As this happens, of course, the chemistry simply brews, as it does when you’re an internet-famous personality who is frantically trying to keep your boobs from going viral! They track down the snack, who I’ll call Todd, in the gym, and while Katrina is telling him off and running the faucet over his iPhone (satisfying), she says that Fernando is her new man and kisses him passionately in the presence of a bunch of beefy dudes in the men’s locker room. This leads to an actual date—they meet up with their friends at a cosplay convention, which leads to the well-appointed but game Katrina to wear a costume, which leads to our heroes almost boning while dressed as zombies and gnashing their teeth at each other like Walking Dead characters. (A TERRIBLE moment, to be honest.)
Written out, the premise is outrageous and I assure you, I giggled for most of this film. But as it progressed, I became increasingly charmed by the leads, who have real chemistry, and the way they execute the fantastical romanticism that is the cornerstone of any successful romcom. Katrina and Fernando become a long-term couple because he is kind and adorable and because she is an earnest person despite her outsized fame based on looks and presentation. Unfortunately, as the couple becomes closer, the differences in their lives become starker. Dissatisfied with Fernando’s paltry amount of YouTube subscribers compared to her own, Katrina decides to introduce him to someone to help get him more on her level. She mentions it to him while they’re enjoying a casual evening at home:
Said incubator owner, who also happens to be the buffest tech person in the entire world, decides that the best way for Fernando to gain more viewers on his gaming vlog is for him and Katrina to host a party at her (absolutely beautiful) house, and to pack the guest list EXCLUSIVELY with fellow vloggers. Because, as anyone knows, THE BEST WAY TO BECOME COOL IN THE VLOGGING SCENE IS TO HANG OUT WITH MORE VLOGGERS.
The party, of course, is where everything goes awry. Fernando bucks his nerd instincts in order to fit in with Katrina’s friends, letting her put way too much gel in her hair and only marginally improving his outfits, and later he Instagrams a photo of her that is NOT perfect, and also inadvertently fucks up one of her brand sponsorships with a perfume by showing a competitor’s perfume on her nightstand! QUELLE HORREUR!
If anything can swiftly end a relationship, it’s one partner fucking with the others’ money, and if anything can end a relationship in 2017, it’s your nerd boyfriend being too sincere to understand the concept of #spon. Obviously, Katrina has to dump this loser immediately, especially because of his paltry amount of subscribers compared to hers—it was cute for a time for her online community of Katrinatics (oh yes), but this shit is getting old, and what will the commenters think?
Love.com’s conclusion is as twisty and unpredictable as any good Tweetstorm, and what’s most surprising about it is how wonderful it is to watch. It also shows how that the oldest tropes can be used to mimic—or mock, depending on your perspective—current technology and social media culture in an effective, creative and smart fashion (and also, the fashion in this film is really, really good). A true testimony to the power of love and the internet. I implore you to watch this immediately!