‘2 Hearts’ has good intentions, but it flutters with clichés

“2 Hearts” – “As the world becomes a more digital place, we cannot forget about the human connection.” – Adam Neumann

“Two of hearts.  Two hearts that beat as one.  Two of hearts. I need you. I need you.” – Stacey Q, “Two of Hearts”

Director Lance Hool’s romantic drama “2 Hearts” does not feature a smartphone, an incoming email, or a Yelp review.   His characters seem to live in the pre-Internet past, but deciphering the exact on-screen year is like attempting to decode David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” (2001) or ascertain the meaning of a random Jackson Pollock painting.  You might unearth some clues, but discovering the exact answer will prove pretty darn impossible.

This feature actually presents two narratives from different periods.  Chris (Jacob Elordi) – a happy-go-lucky, all-American high school senior who eyes college and good times – lives in more recent times, while Jorge (Adan Canto) – an industrious Cuban professional who helps run his father’s rum business – resides in a prior era.   Ah, but Jorge meets a flight attendant (Radha Mitchell) on a Pan Am flight, and since the airline disbanded in 1991, 1980 or so feels about right.

Chris also happens to be our narrator, and he frequently declares philosophical mantras about finding one’s purpose and that “life happens for us, not to us.”

He’s a sweet, thoughtful guy and delivers his proverbs with the cadence of Jack Handey, but sans the punchlines, and why not?   Heck, he meets Sam (Tiera Skovbye), a wholesome, studious co-ed, and they fall in love.  In a parallel amorous yarn, Jorge and Leslie (Mitchell) only have eyes for one another too.

Throughout most of the first two acts, “2 Hearts” offers – accompanied by an uber-sentimental score – these warm courtships, as each pair of lovebirds – from different locales and times – share their goals, hopes, and feelings with their respective partners.   This is all fine and good, but – other than two specific medical issues – the couples don’t run into conflicts, clashes, compromise, or contention.  Even though they exhibit model adult-relationship behavior – which therapists everywhere will applaud – cinematically, the minutes plod on as Sam watches Chris and his brothers play sandlot football on campus, and Jorge and Leslie lounge on a Hawaiian beach.

You won’t find a dramatic “The Notebook” (2004) kiss in the rain or a loving “A Star Is Born” (2018) concert duet, as these romances carry the luster of any real-life relationship with plenty of good manners and chivalry but little magic or dramatic spark.  The on-screen couples seem to enjoy one another, but those pleasant vibes don’t entirely translate into vested interest, at least where this critic sat for 100 minutes.

Did the gushy love affairs feel too commonplace?  Were the struggles between the male leads and their fathers painted with broad, clichéd brushes?  Was the ultimate connection between the individual narratives way too obvious?   All of the above is probably the right answer, and to boot, a third act scriptwriting trick (that will not be mentioned here) feels a bit unfair.

Indeed, “2 Hearts” – based on a true story – owns a positive, kindhearted message, and quite frankly, all audiences should appreciate the movie’s intentions and lessons.  Yes, those in love with love might cherish this film, but others might wish to turn to their phones and flip through social media.

⭐ 1/2  out of  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image and Trailer credits:  Freestyle Releasing

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