Average rom-coms are the beating heart of the genre; think 27 Dresses, No Strings Attached, How To Be Single… you get the picture. Netflix’s latest addition to the genre is Just Say Yes, a romantic comedy out of the Netherlands that follows a thirty-something hopeless romantic as she watches her own love story go up in flames.
The Gist: TV producer Lotte (Yolanthe Cabau) has been fantasizing about her love story for years; a flashmob proposal, a fairytale wedding, all of it. She’s been dating Alex (Juvat Westendorp) for some five years, and when he proposes – though it’s a little less than dazzling – she says yes. She starts making preparations with the help of her mother, best friends, and self-absorbed influencer sister Estelle (Noortje Herlaar), but her pre-marital bliss doesn’t last long. She’s blindsided when Alex dumps her (on air, by the way) and things only get worse when Estelle gets engaged.
Though she’s sad and despondent for a while, her charming new coworker Chris (Jim Bakkum) helps her find herself and embrace a new career in front of the camera. Torn between her long-term love for Alex and new feelings for Chris (as well as her bridezilla of a sister), Lotte must decide what she really wants – and rethink all her ideas about love and everything in between.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of? With its chaotic twists and turns and its TV show setting, Just Say Yes gives off some Crazy Stupid Love and Bridget Jones’s Diary vibes, with a little bit of the sister clashing of 27 Dresses thrown in for good measure.
Performance Worth Watching: Maybe I’m a sucker for a funny best friend, but Kim-Lian van der Meij is wonderful as Guusje, Lotte’s best friend stuck in a passionless marriage. Her comedic timing is consistently spot-on, and her physical antics – including rollerskating around the house in a leotard in an attempt to seduce her husband – are truly hilarious. She delivers one of the only truly memorable performances in Just Say Yes.
Sex and Skin: There’s an unfortunate sexy FaceTime incident, a rollerskating seduction gone very, very wrong, and a sad encounter with a cheating couple, but it’s all pretty tame.
Our Take: Rom-coms may be sneered at and written off as guilty pleasures, but there is a lot that goes into making them as watchable, fun, and memorable as they are. Just Say Yes is a prime example of a haphazard attempt at throwing together successful ingredients from other films and hoping that they stick and make something half-decent. Unfortunately (and predictably), this is not the case. Romantic comedies need heart to work, and there’s not much heart in Just Say Yes at all. The characters are thinly written, the central story muddled, and the tone extremely inconsistent.
Just Say Yes jumps from hopeless romantic-learns-a-lesson movie to makeover movie to family drama to workplace romance and beyond many times over the course of its 90-ish minute duration. The cast is generally pretty forgettable, though Jim Bakkum is undeniably charming as Chris – he’s got the kind of essential rom-com lead energy. Sadly, it isn’t enough to save this mess of a movie, which is certainly watchable, but so devoid of heart and conviction that it’s impossible to ever get truly invested.
Our Call: SKIP IT. While the premise has promise, Just Say Yes feels like an empty, rushed attempt at creating the kind of mid-tier rom-com gem we all know and love.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.