Director: Jamel Aattache | 86 minutes | romance, comedy | Actors: Barbara Sloesen, Jim Bakkum, Liza Sips, Abbey Hoes, Jamie Grant, Davy Eduard King, Kay Greidanus, Sarah Chronis, Christopher Parren, Pim Wessels, Diana Dobbelman, Rienus Krul, Mouna Goeman Borgesius, Ernst ter Linden, Steef Cuijpers, Christine van Stralen, Ilse van Kollenburg, Kiefer Zwart
It is a thin (no pun intended) line between ‘funny’ and ‘offensive’, that ‘heavy in love’ walks. The plot of this Dutch romantic comedy, based on the book by Chantal van Gastel, is about a successful vet who thinks himself a bit too fat. De Bossche bulbs – because the film is set in Den Bosch – cannot resist them. In addition, she actually feels fine, sports is not her thing, she can spend her energy on her work and she always has fun with her two best friends. Yet after a while, something starts to gnaw and she has the idea that it might be healthier to lose something. And then she meets Ruben, and Isa suddenly has her hand’s full counting butterflies and calories.
‘Heavily in love’ does many things well. Firstly, the desire of lead actress Isa (a charming Barbara Sloesen, by the way far from ‘heavy’) to do something about her body size starts before a man gets her heart racing. Isaa’s friends are also well written. They are not thin aunts who only chew on carrots and hand out underwater stabs to the weight of their girlfriend. They are full of praise for the appearance of Isa and also about everything that Isa has achieved in her life so far. And although Ruben’s annoying ex is such a skinny bitch, she does not get off well in the film and it is clear that the makers want to give the idea that ‘thin and fit’ does not automatically mean ‘attractive’.
‘Heavily in love’ looks away pleasantly, but not much is expected from the viewer. It all remains light and predictable. It is a pity that the central conflict – as a result of which the love between Isa and Ruben is not settled within half an hour – has worked out so weakly and unconvincingly. A lot of romcoms like this revolve around the lack of communication and the resulting misunderstandings, but here it is very weak. Pluses are the setting in Den Bosch – ‘the New York of Brabant’, according to Isa (although the Brabant accent cannot be heard) and the chemistry between the protagonists, but it doesn’t really stop there.