With the advent of social media and various video format platforms such as YouTube, we have been made privy to something called “telenovelas.” These are Latin television soap operas where the stories are based on over-the-top dramas and theatrics coupled with bad actors hamming their way to glory. The new Columbian Netflix original, Fake Profile, trudges into that territory, and takes no pain to steer clear of it. Directed by Catalina Hernández and Klych López and written by Pablo Illanes, this television show has so much going on that it gets weirdly comical. You must know why this television show is in no mood to slow down.
Fake Profile stars Carolina Miranda and Rodolfo Salas as Camilla and Dr. Fernando Castello, who met on a dating app in Vegas and hit it off since the day they matched. There is a full-blown romance brewing between the two, and within four months of dating, they are in love. After a whirlwind of dating and intimacy, Dr. Fernando Castello disappears for a while. Camilla, who is heartbroken over the vague answers she receives from him, decides to take matters into her own hands and locate the man in Cartagena, Columbia, the country he belongs to. On reaching his homeland, Camilla is in for a rude shock. The Fernando Castello she met was a different man. Her quest for the man who cheated her thus begins, and one can only predict the plot from here. A revenge storyline, along with an elaborate and exhausting family drama, is what awaits you.
The show begins with a tacky setup fronted by very good-looking people, but that is the extent of what makes the show interesting. The screenplay by Pablo Illanes had so many issues, starting with the writer and directors trying to fit in plenty of subplots, and many of which didn’t even reach a conclusion. The story has so many twists and turns that a viewer could predict what would happen halfway through it. We are living in the era of shows like Succession, and that’s why any family drama needs to have tension brewing, but here it felt like everyone was just angry at each other and blatantly lying for a variety of reasons that were not explored. The writing and the narrative are so overtly dramatized that the viewing experience gets tarnished, and one can only hope the show gets over quickly. But the stretched – out screenplay makes sure to take you through every tiny inch of the narrative, which has no purpose in the bigger scheme of this show. Fake Profile could have been two episodes shorter if they had not spent so much time trying to explain one plot point so many times.
The story itself has numerous plot holes, and many questions remain unanswered. Why was Camilla willing to believe the man who cheated on her and his wife, and why was Adrian ready to believe a stranger over his partner of a few years? These are just some of the points that can be spoken of without giving away any spoilers. There is nothing to spoil anyway because the story and the narrative are not that hard to crack. There are so many unnecessary steamy, sensual scenes added to this show that it becomes obvious that it has been done for the sole purpose of titillating the audience. There seem to be no emotions attached to any of those sequences. There was one subplot about a video of Camilla uploaded onto an adult website, but this subplot was simply forgotten halfway through. It was closed so quickly that there was no time given to absorb and understand who uploaded the video and why.
The direction itself was very clumsy because there were scenes one could notice were not executed properly, and the makers kept the cut as it was. The scuffle between two leading ladies, a car crash involving a husband and a wife, and the tussle at the end of the last episode—all these scenes are supposed to be crucial for the narrative, but they were executed shoddily to the point that it gets messy and cringey.
There was probably one thing that came out right: how Angela and Camilla were not ready to let anyone question their independence and their choices as women. They stuck to their choice of lifestyles. But again, the women in this show are also reduced to indulging in catfights, pushing the stereotype that women cannot be friends and will not stand for each other. They shamed each other but would never question the man who committed the infidelity. As mentioned above, the story, narrative, and execution come close to being a telenovela. The climax of this show is horrendous, and a last-minute plot twist was added only for shock value. Along with this, there were so many unnecessary revelations made in the last episode that there was no time given to the viewers to breathe and understand what happened.
Fake Profile is devoid of good editing because it feels like the writer and the director did not want the show to end. Many subplots could have been removed from the screenplay, but they were kept around just for the sake of entertainment. The irony is that none of those unnecessary subplots provided any engagement. It was a lost opportunity, and sadly, there is no point in relying on it after a point.
The performances of all the actors in this show start well, but again, their characters are written erratically, and none of the characters can be categorized under the umbrella of black, white or gray areas of the narrative. Carolina Miranda as Camilla and Rodolfo Salas às Miguel/Fernando Castello have been written and performed with so much confusion that the viewer simply cannot understand who they should support by the end of it. The only actor who brought out the right emotions was Mauricio Hénao as Adrian. The actor was able to bring out the pain he was going through as someone struggling to trust his partner and finally letting go of him. The rest of the actors failed to leave a mark because they had to tune up their performances, which kind of wrecked the show.
Fake Profile barely manages to keep the viewers engaged with the narrative, and sadly, a good family drama could not be churned out. The show began with one plot point and ended on a different tangent. Fake Profile can be avoided unless one wants to indulge in some guilty pleasure viewing.