Synopsis: Shortly after her boyfriend sends his 12-year-old brother Wilbur to break the news that she’s dumped, Frankie Browne discovers that she has a loser in love gene. Facing a lifetime of romantic failure, Frankie turns to the only genetics expert she knows: schoolboy science prodigy Wilbur who develops a maverick theory to reverse her romantic fortunes.
Stars: Maeve Dermody, Rory Stroud, Oliver Farnworth, Tovah Feldshuh
Director: Sasha Collington
Running Length: 94 minutes
TMMM Score: (8.5/10)
Review: When you tell people that a movie is a hidden gem, it’s not often you can say so because it sparkles but in the case of Love Type D, it’s the truth. From the looks of the unassuming poster, which you’ll find out after the fact woefully misrepresents the importance of the featured male, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this was a write-off rom-com that you could save for a rainy day or pass over all together in favor of a proven entity that would get the job done, but you’d be missing out on an honest-to-goodness marvel of a movie. Even though we aren’t wanting for an easy to digest fluffy comedy to cede our tense minds to, there are days when more substance is necessary and that’s when a film with a little more thought comes in handy.
How many romantic comedies have we seen where we ache watching it because no matter how many complicated set-ups they can throw at you, it’s pretty pointless knowing the ending is a foregone conclusion? Now think about how many keep you guessing until the very end. You can put this frothy import, filmed in 2019 but just getting a release from Vertical Entertainment now, into that unpredictable column and also check off a number of other hard-to-find boxes while you’re at it. When it’s not being uproariously funny in only the way that comedy by way of the UK/Australia can be, it’s almost universally endearing throughout.
Unlucky in love Frankie (Maeve Dermody) has found the perfect mate in Thomas and just when she thinks the relationship is in perfect order, he sends his 11 going on 12 brother Wilbur (Rory Stroud) to dump her. Offering her a slight bit of consolation, he lets her know that genetically, it may not be her fault…she may possess the “dumpee” gene which predisposes her to be dumped by every person she goes out with. This sets Frankie into a tailspin, first investigating if she has the gene (she does), then seeing if others in her circle have it (they do), and soon recounting all of her former boyfriends to replay in her mind what the problem was. All the while, she’s trying to win back Thomas, who has already met and is about to become engaged to a lithe astronaut.
Frankie’s misadventures are fun to a point but when she becomes this obsessive stalker to Thomas, the game is a little less fun. This is especially apparent when we overhear why Thomas dumped her and the list of things, he dislikes about her. That Frankie would continue to want to be with him after hearing these terrible things he thinks about her suggests she needs to investigate within herself something other than a gene deficiency. Thankfully, these darker moments are bolstered considerably by lighter side trips with her once meek co-workers who are determined not be pushed around as “dumpees” anymore and further meetings with Wilbur who is always accompanied by an adorable silent sidekick.
Hinging on a plot that I think it would love to be scientifically solid but is sheer nonsense in researched actuality, Love Type D spends the first half alternating between carefully droll one-liners and rapid-fire quips of hilarity before moving into a more focused second act. Writer-director Sasha Collington manages to get an incredibly appealing cast together for her debut feature which has the look and feel of a much larger endeavor, no small feat when working with a tiny budget. Some rookie mistakes are evident in the editing, like Dermondy’s awful wig which changes from scene to scene with the wigline often clearly noticeable, but I found that it was only the scenes where Frankie was in her dark phase that I noticed these small flaws…perhaps it was my way of coping with the plot elements I wasn’t gelling with. Thankfully, there are so many positives about Love Type D that it earns a solid A in my book.