By Lori Perkins
I may be a hardened, cynical book editor, but when it comes to escapist made-for-TV romance it appears I am a sucker.
I have a friend I get together with and we watch those cheesy Hallmark/Lifetime romances together (where the heroine – played by some B actress we all recognize from our childhood -- is some corporate exec who really only wants to be a baker or a ceramics artists – yuck!—after returning to her hometown). I was intrigued when she told me she had saved Love in the Villa to watch with me. It takes place in Verona, Italy, so that alone already separated it form the pack.
The basic plot is an enemy-to-lovers one set in Verona because the heroine (played by Vampire Diaries Kat Graham) has a Romeo & Juliet obsession. After being dumped by her boyfriend of four years, she decides to go on the Verona trip she had meticulously planned for the two of them, only to show up at the villa romantica across from the touristy Juliet balcony and find it occupied by hunky British wine importer (Tom Hopper from The Umbrella Academy), there for a wine festival. They must share the one-bedroom villa.
Any even though he’s hotter than the pretty-hot boyfriend, she decides to force him to leave with a series of wicked tricks to which he retaliates, escalating in a food fight. A truce is reached, and of course, they start to see other for what they really are – she tells him he has some flaws, but is also awesome calling him “flawsome,” and we’re pretty sure we know where this is headed.
And then the ex-boyfriend shows up to propose to her, but only after his fiancé also drops by. There’s that will-they/won’t-they dance, and then of course, they both bail on their soon-to-be exes and, we hope, live happily ever after.
For me, part of the joy of this film was the awesome soundtrack – American pop tunes such as “These Boots Were Made For Walking,” “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” and “I’m A Believer” in Italian!
I also loved the cheesy setting, as well as the odd chemistry between Hopper and Graham.
I doubt I’ll ever want to watch this again, but I certainly enjoyed it while sipping on a class of Italian wine!