Every now and then as we travel “Around the World With Netflix,” one gets the idea that the streaming service is impacting global cinema in ways that aren’t the healthiest.
Watching formulaic romantic comedies from Peru, Italy, Brazil, Germany and The Netherlands, it seems obvious that either Netflix is dictating that “content” created anywhere fit the expectations of the North American marketplace, or local filmmakers in those countries are seeing what “sells” and pandering to the same lowest-common-denominator that most Hollywood filmmakers find themselves chasing.
“F*ck Love Too (F*ck de liefde 2)“ the sequel to the Dutch rom-com “F*ck Love” of 2019, is so bland and generic that it could be from anywhere.
The title is far and away the raciest thing about it. It’s closer to a PG-13 rom-com than an R-rated sex farce. Take away ritzy Ibiza, one of two settings, and the story could take place anywhere.
And the dull collection of characters struggling with marriage, babies, commitment and “love” are mostly a lost cause for the mostly-Dutch cast trying to make them interesting.
Hollywood’s had a hard time rediscovering the secret to writing and filming sharp romantic comedies. “F*ck Love Too” lets us see they’re exporting that malady, because plainly it’s contagious.
Lisa (Bo Marten) has come to the conclusion that traveling the globe with rich Dr. Jim (Géza Weisz) isn’t all she wanted.
Her narcissistic womanizing ex Jack (Edwin Jonker) has remarried and wants to sell their house. Oh, and he’s made his wife and another woman pregnant at the same time.
Kiki (Nienke Plas), the Samantha of “Sex and the City” maneater in Lisa’s circle of friends, has decided to give up the carnal life and get married, so she and bridesmaids Lisa and Angela (Bettina Holwerda) are off to Ibiza, where Lisa’s childhood pal Noah (Dorian Bindels) just happens to have a couple of seaside houses he rents out, and an ongoing crush on Lisa.
Back in Holland, their mutual friend Bo (Yolanthe Cabau) may have finally had it with her hapless husband Said (Maurits Delchot), even though he’s the father of their two children. Might this music biz A&R woman be distracted by a new rapper (Kraantje Pappie) at her record label?
Nobody in this is relatable or likeable enough to invest in. Jonker and Delchot make the strongest impressions in the cast, merely by playing the most outlandish characters in this. But even Jack and Said come off every bit as Hollywood homogenized as everyone and everything else in “F*ck Love Too.”
Four screenwriters shoehorn comedy into the script through coincidences — Jack’s wife and mistress have the same OB-GYN — gauche cell phone behavior (the OB-GYN has animated phone chats while his patients are in the stirrups, Said photographs Lisa’s dead granny and drops his phone in the casket) — PG-rated hook-ups with an Ibiza gigolo and a growing pile of evidence that Jack is perfectly piggish.
His advice to bestie Said, who wants to win Bo back?
“Send her a d*ck pic. Women love that sh*t.”
In Dutch or dubbed into English, that’s still not much of a laugh. And that goes for the entire film, which appears to have been filmed by separate crews and separate directors in the Netherlands and Spanish Ibiza locations.
Not that the sequences mismatch. They’re each as bland as day-old porridge, with all the sex appeal of an unsolicited “d*ck pic.”
Rating: TV-MA, some nudity, profanity, alcohol abuse
Cast: Bo Marten, Yolanthe Cabau, Bettina Holwerda, Nienke Plas, Géza Weisz, Edwin Jonker, Maurits Delchot and Kraantje Pappie
Credits: Directed by Appie Boudellah and Aram van de Rest, scripted by Appie Boudellah, Shariff Nasr, Sergej Groenhart and Mustapha Boudellah. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:33