The quality got lost in translation.
As someone who has watched literally thousands of movies, I’ve seen my fair share of production company logos. I’ve seen movies made and distributed by everyone from juggernauts like Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures, to independent companies like A24 and Awesomeness Films. Seriously, I still can’t believe that Awesomeness Films is a true and honest production company. I’d like to meet the frat dudes who chugged a few Monster energy drinks and founded that company. But as I sat down to watch Book of Love (2022), nothing could have prepared me for the production title I was about to see: BuzzFeed Studios. WHAT? BuzzFeed is making movies now?! I mean, they’re a major media company so I suppose it was only a matter of time. Given that BuzzFeed had a hand in creating Book of Love, I had no idea what to expect from this movie. Would it be a real page turner? Or would it be an utter disappointment? Well, it turns out I was right to judge this book by its cover. This movie was a colossal snoozefest.
Book of Love follows Henry Copper, an uptight and unsuccessful English author whose latest novel is a major flop. But when his publicist informs him the book is an astounding success in Mexico, Henry heads over there for a book tour during which he hopes to receive the praise he deserves. In a surprising turn of events, Henry discovers that his book’s success is due to the fact that it has been translated into a steamy erotic novel.
Now, y’all already know I’m interested in any movie whose main character is a writer of any kind. That is 1,000 per cent the way to grab my attention. While Book of Love sparked my interest and held my attention for the first 10 minutes, I’m sad to say that it quickly went downhill from there. My biggest gripe with this movie is that there isn’t one aspect of it that feels very original or inspired. The subject matter, especially a majority of the conversations between Henry and Maria, his translator, feels very much like tried and true territory that’s been well-trod before. Scene after scene is filled with an ongoing and boring debate about love and sex, which never manages to be insightful, interesting, charming or romantic. Or sexy. Y’know, all of the things that romantic-comedies are supposed to be? I kept asking myself, “haven’t we heard these conversations before? And seen these characters? When is this going to get funny?” I think what would have greatly helped Book of Love is if it were injected with a healthy amount of kookiness. There was so much potential for wacky shenanigans and all of that potential was greatly ignored. This movie took itself so dang seriously and as a result the whole thing comes off as a dull flatline.
I have a real problem with movies where the conflict isn’t really a conflict. When there aren’t any stakes or reasons for people to be at odds, I immediately check out because what’s the point? I totally get having dignity and morals and wanting to stand by your own work, but a large chunk of the first half of the movie is focused on Henry being mad at Maria changing his bad work into something successful and I’m just like…okay? It’s not as though she defamed his reputation or hindered the book’s success so why are you so pressed? If something you’re doing is not panning out than pivot and try something new that has a shot at being successful! When he and Maria finally decide to collaborate on a follow-up book over an hour into this hour and 45 minute movie, I felt like the movie was THEN just starting. Book of Love frequently beats around the bush and seemingly chooses to spend time on meaningless plot points rather than mine its premise for comedy. Devoting so much screentime to Maria’s deadbeat ex-husband is not at all what I wanted out of Book of Love. The most successful thing this movie accomplished was making me want to visit Mexico.
Skip it. There’s nothing about Book of Love that I can earnestly recommend. Which is such a bummer! This movie had the potential to be a funny comedy with a hint of romance effectively sprinted throughout, but instead it dwells on being a movie about….the exploration of love? Different viewpoints on sex? Nothing? I would say this movie was a wash from beginning to end. Oh! I just remembered my favourite part (AKA the only good part) of this movie! THE MUSIC. It is positively filled with one Spanish BOP after another! Seriously, I spent a good portion of Book of Love looking up who was featured on the soundtrack more than actually paying attention to the movie.
Have you seen Book of Love?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!