‘Love Again’ Review: Phoned-In Rom Com About Text Messages

Celine Dion offers love advice to Sam Heushan and Priyanka Chopra Jonas in this amateurish movie that won't even work if you're in the mood for a Hallmark card.

​Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan in ‘Love Again.’ Liam Daniel

As lousy, amateurish rom-coms go, a disaster called Love Again doesn’t go fast enough. I take that back. As I write this, it’s probably gone already.

LOVE AGAIN ★ (1/4 stars)
Directed by: James C. Strouse
Written by: James C. Strouse
Starring: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, Celine Dion
Running time: 104 mins.

The forced and dubious premise: Still depressed two years after the death of her fiancé in a car accident, a girl named Mira decides the only way to stay close and keep his memory alive is to leave messages, poems and unspeakable mush on his old cell phone. She doesn’t know the number has been re-assigned to a boy named Rob, and the director-writer, James C. Strouse, doesn’t know that mobile providers protect their customers by no longer servicing old discarded mobile numbers. So the basic reason for the plot, inspired loosely by You’ve Got Mail, makes no sense, and neither does anything else in the movie that follows.  

Mira and Rob, played by played by the attractive pair Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heushan, suffer through text messages like “I begin every day thinking about you” and “I’m on the bed where you should be sleeping beside me” to “I would give anything to be naked with you right now.” We are asked to believe she’s an otherwise talented illustrator-author of children’s books and he’s some sort of British music critic for a fake New York newspaper, although the only level of ambition he ever demonstrates is interviewing Celine Dion.  After the two lovebirds by phone who don’t know how to click “Delete” finally meet cute at the opera Orpheus and Eurydice, she’s egged on by her obnoxious sister and he’s coached by his gay best friend and supervised by, of all people, Celine Dion, who plays a romance counselor mouthing impossible dialogue (“Love takes courage—open yourself to the universe”) punctuated by a surfeit of lugubrious songs sung by—you guessed it—Celine Dion. (How many times can you stand to listen to “All By Myself”? This movie is the litmus test.)  

Sam Heughan and Céline Dion in ‘Love Again.’ Courtesy Sony Pictures

It’s been quite some time since I’ve witnessed such unconvincing love scenes as Mira and Rob’s first date, when just as they begin to get serious, she impresses him (an alleged music critic?) about how much she craves hip-hop, losing all potential credibility. And why is it, in bad movies about contemporary relationships, that the girl always dumps the guy after they have sex the first time? The direction seems to be phoned in, and to make matters worse, for two people passionately in lust, a pair of actors have been chosen who exhibit no chemistry whatsoever. I guess I can’t blame them when the most profound philosophy in the movie is “You can learn more in ten minutes playing basketball with someone than you can in one hour of talking.” Huh?

It’s not much to examine at length, much less remember, but if you’re in the mood for a Hallmark card to revive your faith in gooey rom-coms, Love Again is not the one.

Observer Reviews are regular assessments of new and noteworthy cinema.

  ‘Love Again’ Review: Phoned-In Rom Com About Text Messages