Romantic comedies are filled with cringe-y yet charming tropes that make audiences fall in love with not only the characters, but the film as a whole. The genre of a rom-com is widely accepted and revered, even though a lot of the films regurgitate the same stereotypes over and over again. It doesn’t matter; we love them anyway.
However, Netflix’s newest rom-com attempt, Desperados, takes tropes that are beloved by many and completely misses the ball, making it one of Netflix’s most awful films to come out during the coronavirus pandemic.
The film follows Wesley (Nasim Pedrad), a 30-year-old woman searching to settle down but not finding much luck. After a blind date gone wrong, she literally falls into the hands of Jared (Robbie Amell), who seems to be the perfect guy. Out of the blue, he begins ghosting her, and she’s so angry that she enlists the help of her two best friends, Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), to write a scathing email to Jared.
However, when Jared calls and explains he was in a bad car accident in Mexico, the three women take it upon themselves to fly to the country, seek out his hotel room and delete the email before her relationship is ruined. From there, chaos ensues.
The first major issue with the film is the unlikeability factor of the characters. For starters, Wesley is supposed to be the main character, and it’s apparent from the moment the film begins that she’s an awful person. There’s not a single redeeming quality about this woman, and yet the audience is put in the position to root for her or commend her for her growth by the end of the film, which is just highly unrealistic.
Not to mention her two best friends, who are slightly more enjoyable but given hardly any sort of arc or character development other than to be appendages to Wesley’s hijinks. The only redeemable character in the film is Sean (Lamorne Morris), and that’s simply because Morris does a great job with the little he’s given to work with.
This brings us to the dialogue in the film, written by Ellen Rapoport, which is ridiculously under-par. The film uses seemingly realistic dialogue, as if a woman were watching a film of a conversation she had with her friends at dinner the night before. However, in a film meant to be outlandish and a form of entertainment, realistic dialogue reads as boring to the audience, especially when met with slow pacing. The film’s script is what a 15-year-old would write with little-to-no idea about the realistic elements needed to make a rom-com great.
Desperados also relied heavily on inappropriate jokes and slapstick to tackle the “comedy” portion of the genre. There’s a running gag of pedophilia with Wesley and a young boy from the resort in Mexico, and if the genders were reversed on who was the adult and who was the child, there would’ve been nothing amusing about it, so there’s no excuse for it in this context. There’s also at least two beastiality jokes, which have no place in a lighthearted film. With virtually no development of the romantic relationships between the characters, and maybe two (if I’m being generous) comedic moments, this film can hardly call itself a rom-com.
Where the rom-com tropes are concerned, this film makes a “desperado” attempt that fails throughout the entire hour and 45 minutes you watch the film. Trying to make Wesley the stereotypical “flawed, messy and complicated” rom-com girl is the only comedy within the film, as she is the opposite of the quirky girl and is just a straight-up bad person. Even the destination portion of the rom-com, which is also a huge trope, falls entirely too flat. Desperados is like if the worst film on the Hallmark channel were rated R, and believe me, that is far from a compliment.
Fans had high hopes for the film, as it was a rom-com with some funny and recognizable faces. Truly, any new content during the pandemic is appreciated. However, Desperados is most certainly one audiences could’ve lived without and should be given a big thumbs down on the streaming service.