Proof that almost anything, no matter how bad it is, can be turned into a romcom is the movie Love Hard on Netflix. For most of us, being catfished is the ultimate violation of trust – unless of course, you are playing in the hit tv show The Circle!
But that's exactly what happens to Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev), a hopeless romantic who is looking for love. Tired of being single, she decides to try a dating app and where she meets the man of her dreams, Josh. After getting to know him, and given that it's Christmas time, she decides to take the plunge, fly from LA to New York and surprise her rugged east coast guy for the holidays.
The problem is that Josh isn't Josh. Right name, wrong person. Poor Natalie has been catfished by Josh Lin (Jimmy O. Yang) and the person in the photos is Tag (Darren Barnet). But this is a romantic comedy and it turns out that Tag is a real person and happens to be Josh's childhood friend. So feeling bad about what he has done, Josh decides to set Natalie up with local heartthrob Tag but only if she pretends to be his girlfriend for the week.
Just one small teeny weeny issue. Tag is the polar opposite of Natalie. Hiking, climbing, adventurous, plus the equally unlucky in love Josh turns out to be a really lovely guy, with a great family. So the question becomes will Natalie fall for the dreamy guy with the looks or the guy with the great personality in this holiday rom com?
Love Hard is sweet and charming and despite the dodgy premise of somebody being catfished, you do start to really like Josh and understand why he did what he did. As Tag's childhood friend, it's tricky to find love when most people don't give you a second glance.
Directed by Hernán Jiménez and written by Danny Mackey and Rebecca Ewing, Love Hard ticks all the boxes as this lighthearted romantic comedy chronicles the ups and downs of finding true love in the modern world. It's fun, it's cute and it's a solid if cheesy holiday film that will leave you all warm and fuzzy.
The Cast of Love Hard
Nina Dobrev plays Natalie and is known mostly for her role as Elena Gilbert in The Vampire Diaries, Dobrev can also be seen in the upcoming Redeeming Love alongside Abigail Cowen and Logan Marshall-Green which has a release date set for January 2022.
Darren Barnet plays Tag, the guy Natalie falls for on the dating app. The role was originally taken by Charles Melton but the filming conflicted with his Riverdale schedule and he had been replaced by Darren Barnet. And if you're wondering where you've seen him before – he plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida in Never have I Ever on Netflix.
Jimmy O. Yang is the real Josh in Love Hard and you probably recognise him from his role as Jian Yang in Silicon Valley as well as Space Force on Netflix. With many strings to his bow, he is not only an actor but a stand-up comedian who majored in economics and interned at a financial consulting firm before pursuing acting.
Harry Shum Jr. (Owen Lin), James Saito, Mikaela Hoover, Rebecca Staab (Barb Lin), Lochlyn Munro and Heather McMahan make up the rest of the cast that include Josh's brother, father, mother as well as friends of the characters.