Synopsis: Opposites attract –or not– after meeting on a dating site. (Streaming on Amazon Prime as of June 2, 2022)
Welcome to a new subgenre: the pandemic rom com. Recent entries include Locked Down (Chiwetel Ejiofor & Anne Hathaway), The End of Us (Ben Coleman & Ali Vingiano) and Together (James McAvoy & Sharon Horgan). Thankfully Covid doesn’t knock people out in 24 hours like, say, the Great Influenza of 1918. People have several days after infection before they feel sick –and that’s plenty of time to fall in love.
7 Days offers the story of Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Ravi (Karan Soni) who meet on a dating app and inauspiciously have their first in-person date in March of 2020. Rita and Ravi have South Asian roots and their respective mothers are trying to find appropriate matches for them. The moms ‘helpfully’ write bios for Ravi and Rita on Indian dating sites.
Ravi reportedly likes cooking for his mother and has no hobbies because he loves his job (in research) so much. Rita’s mom writes that her daughter has ‘strict moral values’ and looks forward to caring for her future in-laws.
Rita is an anti manic pixie dream girl. Ravi is a naïf. When they meet in the countryside near her little house, Ravi has brought a picnic. He’s really nervous and apologizes profusely for having inadvertently purchased hard lemonade. She’s polite, but unenthused. Both are vegetarians who abstain from drinking alcohol. Well, he’s like that. But when they walk back to Rita’s place (rented by her mom), there are beer bottles and remnants of fried chicken on plates. I don’t think Ravi’s mom would approve.
Ravi himself is traditional — his accent places him as closer to India, while accentless Rita seems doggedly American. But Ravi reassures her that he doesn’t judge her for her swearing. She informs him that his implication that women shouldn’t swear is sexist and he apologizes.
While Ravi feels that it’s time he find a wife and start a family, Rita only goes on matchmaking dates to placate her mother. At one point, her mother leaves her a message that she shouldn’t show her date “the real you.” Ouch…
Within a few hours they have quickly discerned that they have nothing in common. Agreed. Ravi doesn’t question the traditional values with which he’s been inculcated and Rita has jettisoned them all. She informs Ravi that she started having better orgasms when she began doing exactly what she wanted. This was not in her dating bio.
Enter COVID… Rita and Ravi’s phones tell them that the state has issued a shelter in place announcement. Ravi took a train to her stretched-out neighborhood in the exburbs and transport has been temporarily suspended. Rita shrugs and says he can sleep on her couch til things are up and running again. Situation comedy linchpin is in place as they are locked in together.
When they throw together dinner that night, Ravi offers that he was “fun” in college. Uh, it seems the bar for funny was low. Rita tells him that she does art in her spare time, which she has a lot of because she is unemployed. Today’s your lucky day, Rita, because there will be lots of employment opportunities to shop for and deliver groceries to people who are trying to dodge this new virus.
7 Days strives to cultivate an opposites attract vibe — without success. I feel it’s a combo of lack of chemistry between the actors and characterizations that are too broad. Not only could I not see them as a couple, but it was hard to imagine them as friends. Neighbors who wave to each other? Sure.
7 Days encourages us to see that Ravi needs to loosen up and Rita needs to see that she doesn’t have to be a hot mess to differentiate herself from her mother’s imposed values. Understood. Ravi seems to be determined to befriend anyone who comes along. Meanwhile, Rita works to throw him off-balance with accounts of her bathroom habits and sex practices.
And they both try to stave off boredom. Having bevvies late at night, Ravi tells Rita that he can’t believe how fun and uninhibited he’s feeling. Rita smiles that that’s because she spiked his drink with alcohol. Uh, that is deeply uncool. But the movie laughs it off and Ravi delivers a standup routine with Rita as his audience.
The beginning of the movies shows us quick clips of long-wedded real life couples. One of the spouses offers that it is “somewhat helpful” to know each other for a bit before committing to a life together.
If Ravi and Rita decided to marry, she’d probably die from boredom and he’d become an unwilling alcoholic because she spikes his soda. But this is cinema life and even during COVID, the romcoms have to have a happy ending. Hopefully the world will soon right itself and couples can bond over afflictions that have a happy ending, like ice cream headaches.
Movie Loon’s Movie Review Shortcut:
Cut to the Chase: Some jokes that land don’t make up for a romance that has no spark.
Humor Highlight: When Ravi finds himself on the phone with Rita’s mom, he amiably agrees with her that he could have done better on his SATs for college admissions.
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