Do you like witty, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” style romance? Do you miss Brittany Murphy? Do you have a Netflix account? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then “Love and Other Disasters” is a great movie for you. This surprisingly good romantic comedy directed by Alek Keshishian is often overlooked for its appearance of a B-list, low budget film. However, if you give it a chance, you’ll be surprised by the originality of the story, the comedic brilliance of the actors and its overall feel-good mentality.
Set in London, the story follows aspiring screenwriter Peter Simon (Matthew Rhys) and his roommate Emily “Jacks” Jackson (Brittany Murphy) who works at British Vogue. Peter, true to a writer’s persona, has never been in a relationship, as he is too absorbed with idealizations of the perfect man. Jacks is similarly afflicted, but instead avoids the possibility of heartbreak by continuing to sleep with a man she does not love. From this initial description, the movie reads like any other romantic comedy: a fashionable lady and her gay best friend both afraid to fall in love.
In certain ways “Love and Other Disasters” is just that, a stereotypical rom-com.
However, the process through which Jacks and Peter find their respective partners is so quirky, and so out of this world while at the same time completely realistic, that the movie manages to rise above the average of the genre. The best description I can think of is a smaller scale version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” meets “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Jacks and Peter’s friends, the insufferable Tallulah Riggs-Wentworth (Catherine Tate) and the kind and level-headed Finley McMillian (Jamie Sives) add both quirk and warmth to the film.
Brittany Murphy may not be Holly Golightly, much as she mirrors her in the film, but she certainly presents a strong and vivacious leading lady. Peter Simon grates slightly on the nerves at times as he spends most of the movie snobbishly refusing to accept anyone who is not stunningly gorgeous and shockingly successful as a romantic possibility. However, his character undergoes the most amount of growth and his friendship with Jacks is entertaining. Furthermore, while I may be speaking from a biased female view, Jacks’ love interest Paolo Sarmiento, played by “Merlin”’s Lancelot, Santiago Cabrera, is great addition to the film, and not just because he’s gorgeous. Cabrera shows some acting skill and is likely the most expressive character in the film, despite his minor role.
Overall “Love and Other Disasters” is much like the love stories within it, flawed but lovable. There are moments when the storyline relies slightly too much on the stereotypical girl and her gay best friend relationship, and moments when the characters become too exaggerated to be relatable. However, considering that these faults can be found in almost every romantic comedy produced in the past 10 years, I wouldn’t dismiss it. The setting provides glitz and eye candy for anyone who loves London, and the cast and writing provides warmth and comedy. This film is the type you fall in love with without realizing until you’re watching it for the fourth time.