The Marriage App (2022): Netflix’s new Argentine Rom-com “The Marriage App” (original title Matrimillas) has a pretty exciting hook- where its lead couple tries to take the help of an app to fix their marriage. And it mostly works to an extent, if you are wondering.
Although it starts with a kind of scene that has been done to death for the rom-com genre, an accidental meet-cute, I can say with certainty that unless an apocalypse wipes off humanity from the planet, every 3/10 romantic comedies keep using the trope.
Anyway, here we have young and beautiful Belen and charmingly handsome Frederico. The latter does not waste any time asking the former out. Belen quips, “not a chance,” but we are too old to know that in the world of romantic comedies, that kind of response only leads to other beautiful, happily-ever-after things which we usually enjoy with our milkshakes and popcorn. But this is not exactly that kind of movie, as we are soon fast forward some years, and our duo is now married.
He is a dentist, and she is a doll-maker with two children and a severe lack of any kind of romantic heat between them. Like what always happens, the wild and free charmer Frederico has turned into this frustrated family man struggling to find a footing in the confines of marriage as he needs to take care of the kids and chores because Belen is really busy with her work. Frederico wants some “him” time as he wants to take a trip to Cancún, Mexico, for a cooking competition with his friends, but he hasn’t been able to talk about it with his wife yet.
Conversely, Belen misses how Frederico used to look at her in the honeymoon phase, which seems like a different life now. The movie does not take much time to establish all these and introduce its main selling point to us. On dinner with Belen’s sister and her husband, the couple gets to know about this company called Equilibrium which has developed an application that can save a marriage by preserving the “love.” And the process is simple enough; good deeds towards your partner will earn you miles, and bad deeds will take those miles off. And the interesting catch is once you reach 1000 miles, you can use that for something of your own, which in Federico’s case is obviously the Cancún trip with his friends.
Obviously, things do not go as smoothly as the couple expects, which is exactly why we keep watching the drama unfolding. Possibly the smartest thing the movie does is not use its “technical twist” to shift gears and become science fiction. Instead, it remains true to its genre and keeps moving the plot with familiar plot devices infused with both drama and comedy. Like in the second half, the couple finds themselves in this war where they compete with each other for miles by making romantic gestures for themselves.
The director Sebastián de Caro mostly plays it safe by giving the couple (and the movie) a tiny bit ambiguous but mostly happy ending despite all the trouble in their paradise and also manages to establish that the app or any technical influence does not really matter. In fact, human relationships are better off without those. The result of that thought process is a poorly executed, botched ending, but it is also true that any kind of risk-taking could have dropped the movie in murky waters.
What makes The Marriage App (2022) particularly watchable is the performance of its two lead actors, Luisana Lopilato and Juan Minujín. And the writers, Gabriel Korenfeld and Rocio Blanco, make it a point not to make the movie boring. Sure, it is no cinematic marvel that should be talked about for years and decades, but it is a pretty good watch for a two-hour flight or a date night. I don’t think the movie had an ambition bigger than that anyway, so this should be considered a success story. If only real-world rocky marriages could have been fixed like the one of Belen and Frederico, just like that.