Netflix’s made-in-France romantic comedy, Friendzone, is nostalgia served on a Parisan platter. Directed by Charles Van Tieghem, Friendzone stars Mickaël Lumière, Manon Azem, Fadily Camara, Constance Arnould, Nada Belka.
The Netlfix description under the film reads,
“Hopeful romantic Thibault believes his luck could change when sparks fly between him and Rose. But can he go from bestie to boyfriend?”
– Friendzone review does not contain spoilers –
Friendzone begins typically with our protagonist Thibault running into a beautiful woman, Rose, while he is on a gorgeous beach celebrating a bachelorette party with his three female besties. Both the trailer and the film makes it exceedingly obvious that Thibault is not your usual man asking out his crush at a party. Thibault happens to be dependable, lovable and a good friend, but women don’t really date men who are nice. Or so Netflix thought.
Charles Van Tieghem has added plenty of elements to establish Thibault’s personality and relationship struggles. For instance, Thibault is best friends with three gorgeous women (Alexandra, Maud and Lulu) only because they ‘friendzoned’ him at some point. The first fifteen minutes of the film set the tone for the next 73 minutes.
Of course, Thibault’s friends give him a makeover, transforming him into the kind of man who will sweep Rose right off her feet. The new Thibault knows how to salsa, the art of comfortable silence is not that big of a deal for him and the game of seduction? Well, he has got a few tricks up his sleeve. But Shakespeare once said that the course of true love never did run smooth and, naturally, Thibault’s journey out of the friendzone was intercepted by a few obstacles. Or people.
Friendzone tells a tedious tale of love, that has already been told a thousand times by American romantic comedies over the last few decades. It’s a little disappointing because there’s nothing new or critical about such conventional been-there-done-that plotlines. The French might be all about romance but Friendzone is less French and more American, in its character arcs, plot development, tone and even cinematography.
Final Thoughts on Netflix’s French love story, Friendzone
To be honest and a little fair, Friendzone keeps both the humour and romance low for most of the film. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there but what is really funny about a plotline you can anticipate from the trailer itself. What I liked a little is however the portrayal of this sensitive young man who has managed to charm me, even if Rose turns out to be a little hard to impress!
Keeping my critical thoughts aside, if you are really exhausted and want to watch something that’s light, you could opt for Friendzone because it doesn’t really make you think. It’s light and casual and exactly what you need on an overworked Monday night, but never on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
The core problem with Friendzone? The idea that women would date only unavailable men and friendzone nice guys is an archaic idea that doesn’t really make sense in 2021. Friends or no friends, the number of ‘nice guys’ in the world is pretty low. So, holding onto the ones you know is important. Don’t change them, embrace them?
A one-time watch through and through, this French romantic-comedy fails to strike a chord with my heart. However, if you are a die-hard fan of rom-coms and have made it a point to watch all the ones out there, this might just be a fun watch, but only if you like our sweet protagonist as much as I did.
Friendzone is streaming on Netflix.