Rich in Love was an endearing tale of a rich brat finding his foothold in the world of agriculture and wanting to earn his place instead of having everything handed to him on a platter. It was a delightful movie about how two different people from two different lifestyles can get along and find common ground when it comes to relationships and work. Though the first film was all about love, the second film came nowhere close to how charming the first one was. Rich in Love 2 is just another sequel that disappoints. Directed by Bruno Garotti again, this Brazilian Netflix original had nothing going on, and here is why:
Rich in Love 2 begins where the first film ended. Teto and his partners are running the co-op Teto Fresco, which grows premium organic tomatoes on rooftops, but currently, it is not as profitable as it was a few years ago. Along with that, Paula’s being in the Amazon rainforest for her work strains their relationship, which makes Teto go into panic mode. He wants to salvage the two things that are closest to his heart. But will his plans work out, or will they make things worse for him, his company partners, and Paula?
We know there needs to be no comparison between the two films, but since there is the word love mentioned in the title and the first film was all about falling in love, Rich in Love 2 does not come close to tackling the genre at hand. There was supposed to be romance, comedy, and situational drama that would help the viewers understand the dynamics shared by the couple in a relationship. But this time, the story took a different tangent, and I was not even invested in it. Rich in Love 2 seemed more like a social drama because we could hardly see any love lost or found between the couple.
The story and screenplay have been written haphazardly, allowing the audience to get distracted within 30 minutes of viewing because everyone is lost, just like the writers, on what exactly is transpiring on the screen. I’m not sure what brief was given to the writers Bruno Garotti, Sylvio Gonçalves, Mara Oliveira, and Jama Wapichana, because the story and narrative are completely inconsistent. The character graph the writers came up with is poorly structured, and it seems the lead guy does not know what he is doing. The problems, the solutions, and the entire scenario never comes to a conclusion, and even when they do it is too simplistic.
The narrative of saving the Amazonian tribes came across as a lazy ruse to talk about the actual matter at hand, and that does not fit into the genre of the film. Teto’s concerns for the tribes also come across as rushed because they do not seem to serve any purpose in the larger scheme of the narrative. There is a subplot that talks about Dr. Paula being in the Amazon to help the tribes. The locals want Paula’s assistance but they don’t want to stop using the forest herbs. This subplot reeks of contradiction, and it makes no sense as to why it was even introduced. Another subplot involving Igor’s actual family history is spoken about, but I’m not sure if the writers introduced this for the sake of having a conflict. Igor’s character was not allowed to deal with this piece of information, which potentially changed the course of his life.
The only concern with the story and screenplay was the absence of a love story, the lack of chemistry between the leads, and the sudden addition of new subplots, which didn’t offer much in the overall film. In the pre-climax and climax, there are so many revelations made in just a matter of 5 minutes that, again, it feels like the writers were in a hurry to end. One still cannot fathom the need to emphasize social issues as a part of this entire film. It could have been a subplot, and the writers could have focused on the story of the leads and how they are trying to make their relationship work. But again, it is too late to even come up with suggestions for the approach the writers could have taken to make this film engaging. The fast narrative affected the direction as well, even though Bruno Garotti himself is one of the writers. I really wish the direction was handled well. It would have salvaged the film in some way.
The character development of Teto and Paula is immature, for there seems to be so much confusion about where they stand when it comes to their relationship. Nothing is written with any clarity, which bugs the viewers the most, bearing in mind that this film is a romantic comedy. The only good thing about the film is the editing, which managed to not prolong the film unnecessarily. Though the ending was too plain and predictable, one could only hope that it was done with some conviction and intention to make the viewers not roll their eyes out of disappointment.
The performances of the leads felt odd throughout because it seemed Danilo Mesquita and Giovanna Lancellotti were forced to be with each other. In the last film, the highlight was their charming bond, but in the sequel, their performances lacked depth, and their chemistry was nonexistent. The writers and the directors let the audience down by making them anything but likable on screen.
Overall, Rich in Love 2 is not rich in love because everyone involved forgot the one aspect that was required to keep this film afloat, which is love. The movie lacked in every parameter that requires a romantic comedy-drama to succeed and be likable. A disappointing sequel indeed. The writers could have given the audience a fresh story with the core of the first film. This one is a big no.