‘Love in the Time of Corona’ depicts four interwoven stories following individuals looking for love and connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. They include a couple who are considering having another baby; a pair of friends who live together, with one being in love with the other, in spite of him being gay; a mom and dad who haven’t told their daughter that they’re splitting up, as she herself is going through a breakup; and an elderly married couple who are unable to be together due to social distancing.
Four part series ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ follows in the vein of ‘Love Actually’, ‘Valentine’s Day’ or ‘New Year’s Eve’ in its interwoven story structure. It rings as a somewhat outdated formula now, with none of the efforts after ‘Love Actually’ having proven successful. Moreover, one wonders if a global pandemic is really an occasion one would want to centre a series on.
Pandemic projects like ‘Songbird’ and ‘Locked Down’, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, haven’t really worked so far. Times are still too bleak. As a romantic comedy, ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ insists on being optimistic, and it’s certainly an easy watch, but it’s also a frequently cringeworthy one.
The cast are all just fine, having not a lot to work with. There are a couple of faces that will be familiar to audiences, such as Leslie Odom Jr. (who’s just come off a Golden Globe nod – lucky for Disney) and ‘13 Reasons Why’ star Tommy Dorfman. The latter makes Tiktok videos with his roommate and shares what are, in fairness, hilarious COVID one-liners on a zoom date. His friend proves less fortunate on her zoom date, as the guy she is seeing refers to ‘Batman v Superman’ as a “cinematic masterpiece.”
Between the Tiktoks, zoom exchanges, and a conversation about how ‘The Help’ is a white saviour movie, the references contain no subtlety whatsoever. Neither does the script, as the mom complains about being tired of doing all the cooking and cleaning, while dad has zoom meetings with “business up top, party on the bottom.” It’s all very basic, but can be rather sweet, the highlight being the elderly couple, one of whom is suffering from dementia, a sad revelation as his wife is at home while he’s in a care facility.
There are some silly dancing sequences and lusting over the hot neighbour slow mo shots. It’s all very unimaginative, though one can take a little pleasure in all the cheesiness. It’s nicey nice and harmless, aside from the offensively bad dialogue. There’s a shout out to ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney too, because apparently, there can’t be enough contemporary references.
'Love in the Time of Corona' is streaming on Disney+ from 12 March.