Just a few days ago, I was in an intense discussion with my girlfriends about how it’s not really a modern romantic comedy anymore unless there’s a time loop, a terminal disease, and/or both parties being commitment-phobic (this isn’t counting the many thousands of teen romcoms that premiere on Netflix, and the Hallmark-esque bouquet of white people falling in love in a quaint town during Christmas). Mainstream romcoms just… aren’t straightforward anymore, and all those wonderful cliches of the nerdy girl getting a makeover, the boy and the girl hating each other initially or being on opposite sides of the fence at work, and ‘always, always, always a bridesmaid, never a bride’ just don’t exist anymore. What are my girls gonna watch on a Friday night with our Prosecco and tapas?
It’s TV executive Lotte to the rescue. She’s trying to fit into a pair of jeans while sipping wine. She’s a hopeless romantic and haplessly in love with her boyfriend and colleague, Alex. When we first meet Lotte, she’s dreaming of the perfect proposal and the perfect dress and the perfect wedding. When he calls off their wedding and relationship (on national television, no less), Lotte goes on a downward spiral. All of this happens while her social media influencer sister, Estelle, gets engaged to Lotte’s boss. Meanwhile, a colleague Chris wants to make Lotte his next project - give her a makeover and make her the next big TV hit.
‘Just Say Yes’ is like any show with a similar title - one which begins with a cliche, moves on with a cliche and ends with a cliche. Just from its base plot, it borrows heavily from the single and frumpy TV executive with a penchant to be hilariously likable, Bridget Jones. The charming but distant secondary love interest is always at loggerheads with the girl but offers to help get back with her guy - Meg Ryan in French Kiss. And finally, the ever-accommodating sister and bridesmaid who is caught in a love triangle - 27 Dresses. There are several other classic romcom tidbits to be found here and there. If I start naming them all, we’d be here a while.
Still, ‘Just Say Yes’ isn’t a completely lost cause, unlike several other copy-cat films because of a few reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t compromise on the campiness in mainstream Dutch films. The events of the film are told in flashback, as our heroine sits in a white wedding gown on a bench in the middle of nowhere, as tearily explains her life to a random guy. And finally, Lotte, played by Yolanthe Cabau, and all the characters in the film are immensely likable and irresistibly charming.
Cabau’s transformation into the hot news anchor is unrealistic, considering she can’t pull off the ugly duckling at all. She is stunning with a luminescent presence and smile. But the film is smartly written in the way that we spend more time with the sexier, more confident, and much more fun Lotte, which really lets the actress shine. Cabau shares intense chemistry with Jim Bakkum, who plays her colleague Chris. And all the bumbling bridesmaids, like the ever single Kim, the sex-deprived Pam, and of course blonde sweetheart Estelle are given small but sweet subplots to play with. None of them are meaningful but they’re certainly funny and cute.
Music & Other Departments
Like most romcoms these days, we have an upbeat pop-rock soundtrack. The film is edited really well and will go by like a breeze. And Netherlands is really stunning… who doesn’t want to see those streets?
The biggest highlight of ‘Just Say Yes’ is that it is something over-familiar but still likable and charming. It is a typical breezy chick-flick that works on tropes and cliches, and sometimes, that is all the comfort you need.
Of course, if you are a firm believer that every film should build on its genre, or provide something fresh, then you will be disappointed. ‘Just Say Yes’ doesn’t say anything new.
Did I enjoy it?
Sure. I was pleasantly surprised at how the film did make me smile and laugh here and there.
Do I recommend it?
Please don’t expect to be mind-blown. It’s not a bad romantic comedy to help pass some lazy time.