Updating My Best Friend's Wedding for the millennial set, director Christian Ditter's Love, Rosie casts a winsome Lily Collins in what might once have been Julia Roberts's role (think eyebrows, not teeth) -- though in this case, marriage is no real obstacle to true love. Neither are children, differing lifestyles, or the Atlantic Ocean, at least in comparison to that dearest totem of romance writers: miscommunication. Rosie, adapted from a novel by P.S. I Love You author Cecelia Ahern, is less a story than a romantic long con: Rosie and her would-be paramour, childhood friend Alex (Sam Claflin), amass a lengthy paper trail of chats, text messages, and love letters quickly squirreled away by jealous spouses, only to do-si-do around the subject of love for more than twelve years.
This should be catnip to fans of weepy romance, and it even shows some signs of lively humor thanks to its lead actress. Despite the evident strain of morphing Collins's youthful glow into the air of a long-suffering single mom (and despite the indignities of the requisite condom mishap scene), Rosie is a beacon of bright-eyed sincerity who floats gamely through even the most improbable circumstances -- hell, she picks up a lifelong sidekick (Jaime Winstone) while buying a pregnancy test. But there's too much going on to do justice to the supporting characters, including Alex, who moves to Boston and remains morose and underdeveloped in spite of his aggravating success with blonde model types. A manic soundtrack triggers canned emotion and cheeky references (Rosie's baby arrives to the ribald thump of Salt 'N Pepa's "Push It"). The message is more pedestrian than passionate: Life is long, and full of instant messages.