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Love Hard: Catfished at Christmas

Netflix's new Christmas-themed romantic comedy "Love Hard" follows Los Angeles journalist

Natalie Bauer, played by Nina Dobrev, who writes about her online dating fails for a lifestyle website. After failing to meet "the one" in her local area, her best friend Kerry, played by Heather McMahan, makes her search for love country-wide. Where she swipes right with 30-year-old Josh Lin from Lake Placid, New York, and matches with him.

Josh seems to be the complete package - tall, handsome and loves the outdoors. And after a few weeks of late-night phone calls and bonding with each other, Josh suggests that Natalie should join him and his family for Christmas. Natalie desperately needing to complete a new assignment at work; hops on a plane and travels across the country to surprise Josh.

When Natalie arrives at the Lin family home, she discovers Josh is not the tall, handsome outdoor loving person he described himself as. Josh, played by Jimmy O. Yang, was the complete opposite from the picture Natalie saw on his profile, he was a shy, geeky, introvert, who was still staying in his parent's basement. Josh had catfished Natalie by using photos of his friend Tag, played by Darren Barnet, to try and romance her.

After Natalie’s initial shock her and Josh decide to hatch a plan; if she stays for Christmas and pretends to be his girlfriend, making his family happy, he will help her win over Tag - who else knows Tag as well as his childhood best friend. So Natalie decides to stay in Lake Placid instead of going back to LA to write another humiliating disaster date piece maybe this time she will be able to write a happy ending?

Love Hard provides laughter throughout the film. With witty humour that will make the viewer laugh out loud. Who can resist a fun romantic comedy particularly at this time of year?

The film also highlights gender stereotypes, where Josh and Natalie sing a duet of "Baby, it's cold outside" Josh changes the lyrics because Natalie feels the song has connotations of "date rape and consent”. Josh also has a dream of starting his own business taking him away from the stereotypical male working environment of the family run “outdoors” store to a candle making business aimed at the male market. This just takes Love Hard away from that stereotypical Christmas rom-com.

The film does appear very predictable, letting it down somewhat. But non the less you do find yourself rooting for Josh and Natalie’s relationship to become real through the 105 minute film.

Love Hard definitely provides laughs and a feel-good feeling. It definitely gets you into the festive spirit.

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