Have you ever had a skeptical frown on your face throughout the course of watching a film, simultaneously judging yourself for your film choices? Happened to me while watching ‘Squared Love’, a 2021 Polish romantic comedy film directed by Filip Zylber, that’s written by Wiktor Piątkowski and Marzanna Polit. It’s funny that the film needed two people to write it, because even a 10th grader who reads a lot of fluffy romantic fiction could have done the job.
The film follows the story of Monika (Adrianna Chlebicka), a nerdy school teacher, who lives a double life. She slips out of her glasses, brunette ponytail and boring clothes to become ‘Klaudia’, a blonde model, so that she can pay off her father’s debts from modelling gigs. Enter Enzo (Mateusz Banasiuk), a popular journalist who is cast across Klaudia for a car campaign and sparks fly between the two. Although their romance begins with the cliche trope of them not liking each other at first after a misunderstanding on their first meet.
While a kid from her school can easily recognize that Klaudia/Monika are the same person, everybody else cannot seem to see the similarity. Reminded me of the Bollywood film ‘Rab Ne Bana De Jodi’, where the shy/nerdy hero gets a makeover to lead a double life, in order to woo his own wife. His wife thinks they are two different people, because apparently, women can’t recognize their husbands if they get a hair-cut and lose their mustache. For non-Bollywood fans, maybe the Klark Kent/Superman example would make more sense – Monika is Klark Kent to Klaudia the super model, who is trying to save her dad from loan-sharks.
Now that I am watching a lot of foreign movies these days, it’s quite clear that some romantic tropes are just universal to film industries across the world. ‘Squared Love’ is a mash of a lot of romance films, with elements that are just too boring and predictable for a 2021 movie. For example, they use the classic, ‘put the bad boy with a bunch of kids and the woman will fall for him when she sees how nice he is with children’. Why do we need to see men/women around kids to understand that they might be nice people? Ugh.
Nothing really stands out in this film, the cinematography is average, the background score is completely forgettable and the actors are just about okay in their roles. Nobody really stands out with their acting. Not even the child actors. While Enzo is supposed to be a hot womanizer, the actor who plays his brother is more handsome. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder. C’mon, I couldn’t resist writing a ‘writing cliche’ while talking about a film which uses just about every little trick in the old book of romance writing. Cliches aren’t always a bad thing, sometimes we love seeing them, because they are relatable, but it all depends on the execution – you need to know how to put the old wine in a new bottle and make it sell.
Despite being a very mediocre romantic-comedy, the pace was actually not too bad, there aren’t many unnecessary long, lingering boring shots, which makes it a little easier to watch. Still wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. It’s a 4 on 10 from me.
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