About Fate (Film Review): An Ordinary Rom-Com
Despite decent performances from its cast, About Fate ’s premise is just too predictable for its own good.
About Fate is a relatively easy film to review because it follows a structure we’ve all seen before and doesn’t really do anything new in that regard. Griffin Reed (Thomas Mann) is about to propose to his influencer girlfriend Clementine (Madelaine Petsch), but she wants him to propose on her New Year’s Eve party for it to be immortalized on social media. He feels defeated, but meets Margot Hayes (Emma Roberts), who has had her soul-crushed thinking that his boyfriend Kip (Lewis Tan) would propose to her in the same restaurant. After accidentally landing in her house (because all houses look the same where Griffin and Margot live), Margot asks Griffin to come to her sister’s (Britt Robertson) wedding as Kip. Hijinks ensue, and you probably know what’s going to happen next.
They’re going to fall in love, Griffin will return to Clementine, and then have a change of heart and pursue Margot. That’s always how these movies end, and that’s what it will be until motion pictures cease to exist. Now I have no problem with formulaic rom-coms, they’ve always happened. And as long as everything else in the movie works, it’s okay. But little actively works in About Fate, save for its lead performances, which try to infuse as much fun in the movie as possible. I especially enjoyed Thomas Mann’s chemistry with Emma Roberts—the two of them seem to have so much fun pretending that they are in a relationship that you immediately believe that they are falling in love when they start to get [a tad] intimate.
Lewis Tan is also especially fun to watch as Kip, perfectly embodying the stereotypes of the “douchebag ex-boyfriend trying to reclaim his past love for attention.” He shares an especially hilarious scene with Mann as they both fight for Margot during the wedding, but is underused for most of the movie. Robertson is also underutilized but makes the most of her limited screen time. The movie truly focuses on Griffin and Margot’s relationship—other characters sparsely appear in the movie. It greatly benefits the main arc the movie focuses on but is a detriment for other characters, who end up being poorly developed. Without Mann and Roberts carrying About Fate, the movie wouldn’t have worked. It’s a story we’ve all seen a thousand times before, crafted in the most bog-standard way possible. Director Marius Vaysberg and writer Tiffany Paulsen don’t do much to reinvent the wheel, and, as a result, most of the movie falls completely flat.
It also doesn’t help that the craft is pretty poor. The film is shot and edited with the aesthetic of a Hallmark production. The green screens are apparent (and unnecessary in a movie that doesn’t require an ounce of visual effects to make it work), the cinematography feels too glossy for a movie like this, and the score is way too sentimental, trying so desperately to tug in the heartstrings of the viewers through a will they/won’t they relationship between Margot and Griffin… but it doesn’t work.
Aside from decent performances from its main cast, About Fate doesn’t hold itself together. Its story is perhaps too predictable for me to have cared about any of the characters, even if Mann and Roberts try to infuse as much charm as possible. Unfortunately, they’re not enough to truly save the movie from being nothing more than another forgettable romantic comedy, though there are certainly worse movies out there. This one is harmless but ultimately unmemorable.
About Fate will premiere on Digital and in Select US Theaters on September 9, 2022.