ComScore

Netflix’s ‘A Perfect Pairing’ Is a Good Guilty-Pleasure Watch—Despite This One Major Flaw

I’ve always had a soft spot for cheesy rom-coms. Sure, they're formulaic and filled with overused clichés, but as long as they're wholesome and they pass the Bechdel test, I can pretend that it’s normal for an ordinary woman to fall for a wealthy stunner who also happens to be royalty.

So, you could imagine my excitement when I first learned that Netflix was working on a Hallmark-style romance movie, starring none other than Nickelodeon alum Victoria Justice. Called A Perfect Pairing, which drops tomorrow, this feel-good flick follows Lola Alvarez (Justice), an ambitious L.A. wine-company executive who quits her job to follow her dream of launching her own wine business. But to make this a reality, she travels all the way to a small town in Australia in order to win a major client called Vaughn Family Wines.

Naturally, it turns out to be way more than she bargained for. When she initially gets turned down, she insists on sticking around to prove herself by working on the family’s sheep farm. During her stay, she starts to bond with her reluctant guide and station manager, Max (Adam Demos), and…well, you can guess what happens next.

As far as rom-coms go, this one definitely follows the formula to a T, including familiar story elements like a delightfully awkward meet-cute and at least one swoon-worthy grand gesture. Hearing Demos’s Australian accent is also a nice bonus, and Justice channels her inner Tori Vega as the lovable, budding entrepreneur (yes, she sings!). But unfortunately, this guilty-pleasure film is missing a key factor that could’ve taken it to the next level.

I will say that this movie is truly escapism at its finest, with its cozy small-town feel and stunning Australian backdrop. Wine enthusiasts will especially appreciate Lola and Max's romantic getaway to the winery, featuring a nice little tour of the family's stunning wine cellar. However, despite the scenery and film title's clever play on words, Lola and Max don't quite feel like the "perfect pair."

They do share some cute moments, like when they go for a swim and when Lola pokes fun at the Aussie for constantly reciting inspirational quotes. But even then, there's little-to-no chemistry between the two. A few of their interactions—like when they bicker over one particular sheep—feel a bit forced and contrived, which makes it harder to take their budding relationship seriously. And in one scene, when Max saves Lola from a snake, the two share a brief "moment" that, somehow, lacks any kind of spark.

This film would've greatly benefited from a more genuine connection like, say, Mia and Nicholas in The Princess Diaries 2, or Kathleen and Joe in You’ve got Mail. In those films, viewers could literally sense the romantic tension in the air, even when they weren't getting along. There was a natural dynamic between the actors that made these love stories feel authentic. They were so believable, in fact, that audiences could overlook the ridiculously far-fetched storylines.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here. And for this reason, I found myself more drawn to Lola's passion for wine, as well as her drive to launch her own brand and champion women in the business. She struck me as a fearless, feminist role model who never quits, which is always refreshing to see in feel-good romances like this.

Overall, A Perfect Pairing could use some improvement in the romance department, but if you want to get swept away by Justice's lovable charm and the stunning sights, give it a watch when you need to unwind (complete with a glass of wine, of course).

Purewow Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

Although it's hard to buy Justice and Demos's chemistry in A Perfect Pairing, the gorgeous setting and Justice's charming performance as a whip-smart go-getter makes this movie enjoyable.

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