Kendrick’s easy, breezy new TV series
When new American streaming service HBO Max launches this week, it will roll out with a handful of original titles.
One of those is Love Life, an easy-watching and frothy rom-com anthology series starring Anna Kendrick whose infectious energy has earned her legions of fans.
While most of the HBO Max originals will be going to Foxtel and Binge as part of an agreement with Warner Media, there is a weird quirk in the licencing deals in which Stan becomes the Australian streamer for Love Life, which drops on the service on Wednesday.
Created by Sam Boyd (In a Relationship), the series will function as an anthology, where each season will chart one person's love life from their first romance to their forever soulmate.
The first season's 10 half-hour episodes will chart Kendrick's character Darby Carter's tumultuous relationship status from the time she moves to New York as an art history graduate, cycling her way through cute crushes, one-night stands and relationships where she loses herself.
She shares an apartment with two friends, Sara (Zoe Chao) and Mallory (Sasha Compere), whose romantic trysts also flit in and out of the story.
The first three episodes were made available for review and based on those, Love Life hews extremely close to the conventions of the rom-com - aggressively so.
From the meet-cute to embarrassing yourself in front of potential in-laws to running into exes while wearing crocs, if you're a sucker for a traditional rom-com conventions, Love Life will pump it into your body intravenously.
And Kendrick is perfect for the role - her sunny disposition and oodles of charm makes her an obvious rom-com heroine for whom a happy ending is just reward.
But that all makes Love Life exactly what you expect, lacking any real imagination or offering something new and different to a genre with such established tropes.
The most intriguing element on display so far is not Darby's three entanglements so far, but rather Sara's long-term relationship with the well-meaning Jim (Peter Vack), hinting at the complicated dynamics of a couple who are settled but may not be on the same page in their life cycles.
The latter episodes may surprise us yet, and presumably there will be plenty of self-growth and discovery to go along with that chase for the one, which could provide some deeper storytelling and character opportunities.
Love Life is a perfectly fine new series that will appeal to viewers looking for something pleasant and digestible.
It's in the same vein as shows such as The Bold Type or Katy Keene where young women try to find themselves in New York City, living in too-large apartments with unbelievable space. This one just happens to have an Oscar-nominated movie star.
There's definitely an audience for that type of show and if you're looking for an unobjectionable five-hour watch, then Love Life will fit the bill. It's just not going to rock your world.
Love Life is available to stream on Stan from Wednesday, May 27
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Originally published as Kendrick's easy, breezy new TV series