Romantic comedies remain the go-to genre for many viewers. It is only while the film is running that they get transported to a make-believe world where coincidence plays a huge part in the meet-cute between the budding lovers. Most stories in this genre end up having a predictable climax, but if the movie is written well, there is a genuine chance the audience will end up leaving the theater with a smile. That is a rare feat because, most of the time, a romantic comedy film turns out to be a rehashed version of other movies in the same genre, making it clear there is nothing new to offer.
Love Tactics, written by Pelin Karamehmetoglu and directed by Emre Kabakusak, is a Turkish Netflix Original where we get to see two outspoken people in action and how they go out of their way to prove themselves right. This ninety-nine-minute-long movie takes the viewers through the lives of the two protagonists and helps them understand their take on love and relationships. Asli is a fashion designer who runs a relationship blog anonymously, on which she shares her insights on how women and men function differently when it comes to dating. She has been on enough dates to understand the pattern that men follow. Through this platform, she shares tactics with the women out there who are keen on dating and are on the lookout for the perfect partner.
Kerem, just like Asli, remains single because he doesn’t find any reason to remain in a committed relationship. He is the textbook definition of a playboy who works in the advertising industry. A heartbreaker who does not worry about the consequences of his actions. He does not have a reason for why he behaves this way, but he is content with himself, and he does not let anyone question the way he leads his life.
Asli’s best friend Hande is ghosted by a guy she dated briefly, and soon Asli formulates an elaborate plan to use her tactics on a random single man and make him fall in love with her. The lady is assured that men are gullible and naive at heart, and it will not be difficult for her to make any man fall for her. Kerem, on the other hand, has lost a chance to work with an important client, and it has been assigned to his best friends, Tuna and Emir. They converse over another failed relationship of Tuna where Kerem berates him for falling for wrong women all the time. The two best friends challenge Kerem to make a woman fall in love with him and keep her around. If Kerem wins, he will get the client back from Tuna. Since consensus has been reached by the protagonists, Asli and Kerem are on the hunt.
Love Tactics seems like a Turkish version of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. This film seems more like a garish take on that premise because there is a lot more emphasis on vanity and tourist spots than on the writing of the film and the chemistry between the two. Asli and Kerem meet at a party, where they immediately set eyes on each other and begin their mind games. While they resist each other on the first night as much as they can, it is on the second date that they get to know more about their moves and tactics. Kerem takes her to a fine dining restaurant for dinner, but Asli is quickly able to see through his cliché date ideas, and she is not impressed. Asli is trying to play hard to get, but she is not letting Kerem either. The game lies in Asli resisting herself as much as she can while Kerem insists and brings out his charming self to break through to her.
There is a push and pull going on between the two in the hope that the other concedes. In the process of putting in a lot of effort to make their plans work, they don’t consider the possibility of genuine fondness cropping up. As headstrong individuals, they are not letting it overpower their actual game plans. Even on their flight to Cappadocia, they cannot stop talking about coincidences. In their case, having a destination in common was a matter of chance, as their client is their common link.
Even though Asli claims not to be fond of clichés, the film is filled with them, for no romantic comedy film is complete without a bunch of romantic scenarios thrown at the female protagonist, ones the audience would swoon over. Asli, though a leading lady, did not have to do much to woo Kerem. She only had to play the giant piano, an object Kerem has a complex connection with. As a woman, she knows she does not need to do much to gain his attention beyond holding off on his gestures. For a playboy like Kerem, who has never been rejected by a woman, Asli’s keeping him at arm’s length tactic works.
Asli has sworn to herself and the blogging community to not to get carried away by Kerem’s first sign of affection towards her. He showcases his emotional side, and Asli also begins to be receptive to his moves. Things are on the right path after a beautiful romantic evening together; they end up sleeping with each other, and Kerem professes his love for Asli.
The entire narrative goes into a frenzy after this point because the writers try to find reasons to make Asli distance herself from Kerem. This time she was on the front foot, and through the blog, she shames Kerem for having broken the hearts of many women. The narrative from this point on is repetitive and fast-paced, and additional scenes overstretch the tension the show had created in the first place. The ‘will she’ or ‘won’t she’ gag in the movie works most predictably, as the viewers know how the film will conclude. Running across the airport to stop a person from boarding their flight is the most overused trope there is. Only if it was written and executed plausibly would the entire climactic gesture come across as a heartfelt one.
Love Tactics works only because the camera takes us through Cappadocia, Turkey, one of the most prominent destinations in the country. Even if the audience does not like this film, it would help them understand Turkey as a great destination for a holiday. Hopefully, in the sequel, the makers will emphasize showcasing the chemistry between the leads, which was lacking in this film. In a love story, chemistry is the make-or-break factor in determining if the film will work or not. Love Tactics could have been so much better if it wasn’t trying too hard to be like the cult Hollywood film. The makers of this film took the essence of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but they should have included some original ideas to make the story seem authentic.