A flawed but enjoyable exploration of true love
Is there such a thing as fate? Or true love? Or are we all just wandering aimlessly around this blue planet, trying to find someone we’re compatible enough with to share our life journey? These are certainly thought provoking questions, and Four to Dinner is not the first movie to have a go at tackling this subject.
Back in the 90’s, Sliding Doors released a charming look at this concept, typified by a singular moment that exploded into two completely different timelines. In that film, our lead protagonist either caught a train on the subway or missed it. This lead to two completely different lives, eventually intersecting into a cutesy and perhaps a little on-the nose ending.
Sometimes more is not better and that’s precisely the problem facing Netflix’s latest Italian movie, Four To Dinner. The concept here is largely the same as Sliding Doors, but instead of one couple the idea is extended out to include four individuals – Matteo, Dario, Chiara and Giulia – who engage in different pairings across the 100 minute run-time, essentially playing out this “what if” scenario.
The different couples pair up (unfortunately there’s no same-sex pairings, which feels like a missed opportunity) and across the movie we see all the ups and downs these guys and gals face.
From opposites attract to perfect first dates, right the way through to familiar betrayals, pregnancies, weddings and heart-wrenching confessions, it’s all familiar romcom territory. However, the extra spice comes from seeing these different couples getting together and how differently key moments play out.
Seeing who stays together and who end up breaking things off ends up as part of the allure for this picture, but despite some pretty impressive and well-worked editing, the movie’s screenplay is a little messy.
Scenes will shift from one pairing to another and back again, skipping happily between the different parallel set-ups without much warning. This is especially problematic during the middle portion of the movie as the pace slows and the jumps become more prominent.
To be fair though, the ending ties everything together nicely and the core concepts and themes of this movie echo throughout the picture. There’s some great moments here too, and the chemistry between some of these pairings really shows. I won’t spoil which ones here but suffice to say it makes the ride worth taking.
Of course, you also need to go into this and watch with the original Italian dialogue. The English dub is a slight step-up from horrendous and will almost certainly destroy your enthusiasm for this one.
It’s not perfect, and at times Four to Dinner does slip up with its timeline, making it difficult to stay enthusiastically attached to these characters – especially during the aforementioned middle act. However, there’s a lot of heart that’s been put into making this and fans of romcoms should find enough to stick with to see the satisfying conclusion.
Read More: Four to Dinner Ending Explained
Verdict - 7/10