ON IN CINEMAS
EIFF 2019: Love Type D (2019) starring Maeve Dermody
N.B. This film is not on general release in the UK at present. It was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Friday 21st June 2019.
Dumper or Dumpee?
This romantic comedy features Maeve Dermody as Frankie, an Australian woman living in London who seems to be eternally cursed to be dumped by every man she goes with. The latest is Thomas (Oliver Farnworth), who decides to do the deed by sending his unusually intelligent and eloquently-spoken kid brother, Wilbur (Rory Stroud), to pass on the message to her as she sits waiting in a restaurant. The devastated Frankie quickly discovers that he has fallen for another woman.
She decides to pursue Wilbur in order to find out the reasons why his older brother has treated her so appallingly. He tells her that he has learned of a scientific paper which posits that human beings fall into one of two genetic categories - the Dumpers and the Dumpees - and that she seems to fall into the latter.
Frankie learns about a clinic which can help those suffering from the Dumpee Gene. Unfortunately, their solution is one that doesn’t exactly sound enticing: to remain celibate and occupying one’s time with various craft hobbies. Things start to look up, however, when Wilbur reveals that he is conducting a scientific experiment to test out an additional new theory. He believes that people get afflicted with the Dumpee Gene depending on whether their first love ended their relationship or not. Moreover, when they rekindle their relationships with all of their former partners and then choose to be the one who dumps them, their gene reverses to become that of the Dumper. With that, Frankie gathers up all of her fellow Dumpees from the office and sets about trying to put things to rights for both herself and all of them. However, getting Thomas back in the first place isn’t an easy task.
It’s a bit better than it sounds
I really, really want to hate Love Type D but, somehow, I just can’t. After all, its central premise (that dumping your partners rather than being dumped somehow manages to improve your love life) is incredibly silly and, quite frankly, somewhat mean-spirited. Okay, so it does roll it back a little in the third act - but since this comes after running with it through the bulk of the runtime, it doesn’t really nullify the inanity of it all.
Nonetheless, it manages to wring a just enough in the way of cute laughs out of it that it remains enjoyable despite itself. I particularly enjoyed Rory Stroud as the improbably smart science buff child who helps our desperate “heroine” throughout. The elephant pheromone scene is a great big chuckle. Eagle-eyed viewers might also delight in spotting a nice license-bypassing visual gag revolving around an Apple-style laptop. I would have missed it myself if I hadn’t heard one of the guys in the press screening letting out a chuckle.
Maeve Dermody makes for an appealing enough lead even if she’s entirely too pretty for us to believe that her love life is half as problematic as is depicted here. Writer/director Sasha Collington has a real eye for visual composition and colour coordination that definitely shows some stylistic promise - if only she tackled something a bit more substantial next time around.
Love Type D is what it is, really. It’s a slight, frothy effort that just about works in its own way.
Runtime: 96 mins
Dir: Sasha Collington
Script: Sasha Collington
Starring: Maeve Dermody, Rory Stroud, Oliver Farnworth, Tovah Feldshuh, Natacha Basset