After starring in romantic comedies Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Yesterday, Lily James returns to the genre with What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Directed by Shekhar Kapur, this romcom follows Zoe (James) and Kaz (Shazad Latif), best friends and old next-door neighbours. Zoe is a documentary filmmaker looking for her next project and the idea falls right in her lap when Kaz reveals he’s decided to have an arranged, or “assisted”, marriage.
Zoe, who is unlucky in love and always picks the wrong guy, follows Kaz and his family to Pakistan to document his marriage to Maymouna (Sajal Aly).
While arranged marriage has been depicted on film before, it was refreshing to see what it looks like in 2023. The movie helps you understand why people still choose that route and compares the pros and cons of arranged marriage and app-based dating culture, something Zoe heavily participates in.
You can easily predict how this film is going to end but at least the journey offers some surprises and doesn’t pan out exactly as you might expect.
It’s very entertaining watching Kaz find his wife with the help of Mo the Matchmaker (played by Asim Chaudhry in scene-stealing form), witnessing the culture clash between Kaz’s Pakistani family and Zoe and her mum Cath (Emma Thompson), and observing the extravagant wedding celebrations.
Jemima Khan’s script is very funny, with Chaudhry and Thompson getting the best jokes. Cath is scatty, tone-deaf and highly inappropriate and you can’t help but laugh at her tactless nature. They are stars of the show as the film would be nowhere near as hilarious without them, although Oliver Chris also brings the laughs as an awkward vet with a crush on Zoe.
James and Latif aren’t given any of the comedy – they bring a serious, emotional layer to the movie very well. In particular, James has to go deeper and darker than the rest of the cast as Zoe is forced to examine why she constantly goes for emotionally unavailable men.
What’s Love Got to Do With? is a sweet, uplifting feature that is ultimately a bit too predictable and forgettable.
In cinemas from Friday 24th February.
READ MORE: Watch the trailer for ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’ starring Lily James