Producers: Conrad Hool and Lance Hool Director: Lance Hool Screenplay: Veronica Hool and Robin U. Russin Cast: Jacob Elordi, Adan Canto, Tiera Skovbye, Radha Mitchell, Kari Matchett, Tahmoh Penikett, Steve Bacic, Anthony Konechny, Jordan Burtchett and Malcolm Stewart Distributor: Freestyle Releasing
At the close of this romantic tearjerker, the character who’s been narrating the story since the start opines that it’s ending in a way nobody would have expected, but actually the close is as predictable as they come. That’s not merely because it’s based on a real story—that of Christopher Gregory, which was told by his father Eric in his book “All My Tomorrows”—but because within the first ten minutes the link that will ultimately join Gregory’s fate with that of Jorge Bacardi (here renamed Jorge Bolivar, presumably because the actual surname might elicit smiles) will be awfully clear to many viewers.
The screenplay by Veronica Hool and Robin U. Russin nonetheless tries to engender suspense by telling the stories of Chris (Jacob Elordi) and Jorge (Adam Canto) along concurrent tracks, though they occur at different times in different places (though both as youngsters share a love of soccer).
Chris is a gregarious, fun-loving college student who falls madly for Sam (Tiera Skovbye), a pretty coed with a desire to help others. They marry and embark on what’s hoped will be a happy and prosperous life together.
Jorge, by contrast, starts from a disadvantage. The scion of a powerful Cuban family, he suffers from a condition that suggests he might not live to twenty—something that’s re-emphasized when he collapses during a soccer match. Nonetheless he beats the odds and, now having made it to thirty, works as manager of his family’s business in Puerto Rico. While on one of many flights there, he meets flight attendant Leslie (Radha Mitchell), and the two hit it off. They too will marry, but the shadow of Jorge’s illness constantly hangs over them.
How do you suppose that the lives of these two vastly different men might intersect? The answer is so immediately obvious that you might want to retitle the film (spoiler alert!) “Two Weddings and a Funeral.”
In short, there’s simply no way to sustain uncertainty as to the trajectory of the narrative here, nor the mawkishness into which the plot will inevitably descend. In an attempt to lighten things, the movie offers an incredibly bouncy, eager-to-please portrayal of Chris, whom Elordi is called on to play with a toothy smile and unbounded energy. Skovbye is called on to second his enthusiasm. Both pull off their assignments, but as a result never manage to feel authentically human.
By contrast Canto has to express the resignation that colors Jorge’s effortful exhibitions of normalcy, and Mitchell has to struggle to depict Leslie’s attempt to control her dismay over the possibility that he should suddenly suffer a collapse.
The rest of the cast definitely stay in the background in support of the lead quartet.
The production emphasizes an eye-catching finish, with Roger Fires’ production design and Vincent De Paula’s cinematography prizing lushness. James Jandrisch’s score goes with the emotional ebbs and flows without much subtlety, and though editor Craig Henning works diligently with director Lance Hool to camouflage the script’s contrivances, they can’t conceal where things are obviously headed.
“2 Hearts” works hard to be a glossily uplifting tearjerker in the Hallmark mode, with a heartfelt message at the center. That may be enough for some.