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“Hooking Up” Is A Charming, Funny, And Sexy Rom-Com

Even in trying times, a great movie can do wonders for you. The prospect of watching Sam Richardson and Brittany Snow in a romantic comedy already offered up some glowing potential, but nothing will prepare you for how wonderful this film is. A charming, funny, and sexy rom-com, Hooking Up even manages to get serious at times in a way that never betrays its core entertainment value. With terrific performances by Richardson and Snow, who display absolutely phenomenal chemistry, this is one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Coming to VOD on Friday (an initially theatrical run is obviously out of the question right now), it deserves to find a place in your hearts.

The film is a romantic comedy couched around a road trip. When Bailey (Richardson) and Darla (Snow) first meet, they’re in a school entering very different support groups. He’s a survivor of testicular cancer participating in a cancer support group in the face of a potential new diagnosis. She’s a magazine columnist (and specifically a sex therapist) that’s been court ordered to participate in sex therapy. Their impending troubles bring them together during their respective sessions one night, leading to a tentative friendship, which turns into an idea by Darla. She proposes that they embark on a cross-country road trip, re-enacting her rather colorful sexual history, under the guise of it being a step in combating sex addiction, as well as giving Bailey a sex-fueled romp before he faces another operation. In reality, the misguided and deceitful form of therapy is actually a new column she’s planning to get her editor (Jordana Brewster) not to fire her. Of course, her true motivations for the road trip will come to light, and at the worst possible time. At that point, things take a turn for the serious, confronting issues of actual addiction, depression, and whether these two individuals can actually be happy. Nico Raineau directs a screenplay that he co-wrote with Lauren Schacher. Greg Townley provides the music, while Jeff Bierman handles the cinematography. The cast also includes Anna Akana, Vivica A. Fox, Amy Pietz, Alexis G. Zall, and more.

Sam Richardson and Brittany Snow are absolutely tremendous. Both have never been better, showcasing layers to their performances that help elevate and make these characters as memorable as they are. Richardson was a scene stealer on Veep, and here he’s asked to add dramatic heft and intelligence to his repertoire, making for a really well rounded character. You like and feel for him, as Bailey goes through a hell of a time. The same goes for Snow, who blew me away years ago in The Vicious Kind and outdoes herself here. She makes Darla an incredibly complex character, one who consistently defies expectations. Watching her both be hilariously blunt as well as hauntingly vulnerable is truly something to behold. Together, they display great chemistry, bringing out the best in one another.

Hooking Up is able to mix comedy and drama not just because of Richardson and Snow, but also due to the deftly handled screenplay from Nico Raineau and Lauren Schacher. Raineau’s direction is rock solid and quietly confident, allowing the script he penned with Schacher to really sing. Together, they give Richardson and Snow a ton to work with, and the results are something to behold. From top to bottom, this is a flick that defies expectations. The comedy, the drama, the romance, and the sexiness are all not as you’d anticipate. It all combines together, in all of the right ways, to form one of 2020’s biggest surprises.

Available On Demand this weekend, Hooking Up is a total delight. One of the year’s best films so far, it’s an easily enjoyable rom-com that offers up something more. The way it evolves is subtle, to be sure, but always with an eye towards engaging your head and your heart. Without any theaters to go to, VOD is going to be the route for a while, and this is a wonderful option. Make sure to seek this one out. I can promise you that you won’t regret it. This is a gem that hopefully won’t fly below the radar!

Be sure to check out Hooking Up, available on VOD this Friday!

(Photos courtesy of Saban Films)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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