Review: Love Life
Even though we're not getting HBO Max here, a first wave of original offerings from the newly launched streaming service will land on HBO GO this year.
First out of the gate is Love Life, but one wonders why a stronger, splashier contender wasn't selected to fly the flag.
Instead, we get a low-key, semi-charming, lightweight romantic comedy series following the dating history of 20-something Darby Carter (Anna Kendrick) over an eight-year period.
And... that's about it.
A no-frills, all-too-familiar and honestly rather flimsy concept like this lives or dies on the strength of its protagonist and central performance.
Darby, whose parents' divorce have coloured her worldview on love, is an ordinary everygirl and a typical millennial. There is nothing special about her, so she could be totally relatable to the target (female) audience - or a total snooze.
She has above-average looks but lacks self-confidence. She's unoffensive and nice, but also a little sad and even pathetic.
How much enjoyment you get out of Love Life is also dependent on your threshold for Kendrick.
She is adorkable peppiness personified in the Pitch Perfect and Trolls movies, but can simultaneously get on your nerves.
So far, each episode centres on how she hooks up with a different guy at a different time in her life.
Her first love is a charismatic Korean (Jin Ha), who ends up breaking her heart when he moves to a different state for a job opportunity - and causes her even more pain when he secretly returns to town with a new girlfriend in tow.
She falls into a relationship with her older ex-boss (Scoot McNairy), but he tosses her aside after realising she's too young and shallow.
She then finally experiences what it's like to do the dumping, after a one-night stand becomes besotted with her.
There's a lot of talking, with a few good jokes and fun conversations, some highs and lows.
The situations are quite grounded in reality, so there's nothing terribly groundbreaking on display. Here's hoping more emotional depth and a substantial payoff awaits.
If you're looking for a pleasant diversion during these locked-down times, it's quite easy to fall for Love Life.
But does it deserve a long-term commitment when there are so many other fish in the (streaming) sea? I'm not sure if my heart is totally in it yet.
TV SERIES: Love Life
STARRING: Anna Kendrick, Jin Ha, Zoe Chao, Scoot McNairy
CREATORS: Sam Boyd
THE SKINNY: Darby Carter (Kendrick) navigates the journey from first love to last love, and how the people she’s with along the way mould her into who she is when she finally ends up with The One.
SHOWING: HBO GO