Movie Review: “Irreplaceable You” Once Again Sets Interracial Couples in Movies Back

By | February 24, 2018

At this point, I almost feel like Hollywood is in a hilariously-lopsided battle against me. How else to explain the relentless drubbing of black/white couples in TV and Film? At a time when “Get Out” is receiving a ridiculous amount of over-praise and Oscar buzz, you might scoff at me putting a movie like Irreplaceable You in its category.

And while it’s technically more “positive”—although anything would be—this is a film that tells you the black female half of the couple (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, miles from her best roles here) dies in the opening scene, and then flashes back to how she tried to hook her white fiancee up with someone else (all the options appear to be white) before she dies. Needless to say, this movie doesn’t need to worry about winning any “Loving Day” awards. And as if stomping all over my pet peeve in films weren’t bad enough, it makes the central couple nearly-unbearable. The hipster-adjacent male half is played by Michiel Huisman with such a low-key-whiny, bemused shoulder shrug you would think his fiancee had merely bought the wrong kind of milk from Whole Foods rather than developed terminal cancer. And Gugu’s character treats the ending of her life as a quirky setback rather than terminal cancer—was Zooey Deschanel too busy knitting a scarf for her antique bicycle seat to make this?

You could almost see the better film this could’ve been if they’d abandoned the cutesy rom-com element completely, cast a white actress in the lead role, and made this a full-on, disturbing drama of a particular brand of hipster ruthlessness, where real emotions and life events are treated as annoying intrusions to a carnival of light-hearted pleasures like hiking, baking, art galleries, and artisanal knitting. By exploring the hidden yuppie inside the “unique” hipster-surface this could’ve been an American “Loveless,” but obviously this film has no interest in that, and the vibe it was giving off is completely unintentional. Grade: D

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