(director: Numa Perrier; screenwriters: based on the book by Tia Williams/Leigh Davenport; cinematographer: Eric Liri ; editor: Paul Millspaugh; music: Patricia Jones/Amanda Delores; cast: Gabrielle Union (Jenna Jones), Keith Powers (Eric), Aisha Hinds (Billie), Gina Torres (Darcy Vale), Godfrey (Jimmy), La La Anthony (Elodie), Janet Hubert (Monica), DB Woodside (Brian), Numa Perrier (Pearl); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Gabrielle Union/Jeff Morrone/Glendon Palmer/Codie Elaine Oliver/Tommie Oliver; Netflix; 2023)

“Burdened with a stilted dialogue.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A so-so playful Black rom-com burdened with a stilted dialogue, a lack of chemistry between the leads and a shallow story. It  follows a fashion editor, whose career comeback is in jeopardy when she learns the stranger she kissed at a party is her boss’ son.. It’s cleverly directed by the 24-year-old actress Numa Perrier (“Jezebel”), and is based on the 2016 novel by Tia Williams (Estée Lauder’s editorial director) and adapted to the big screen by TV writer Leigh Davenport.

The forty-something Jenna Jones (Gabrielle Union), a Manhattan It-girl recovering for a year from the wreckage of a decade-long in the headlines relationship with Brian (DB Woodside), whereby the fashionable Manhattan couple were exposed in the New York print media and split. Jenna therefore goes on a self-exile retreat to her upstate childhood home to do some soul-searching.

Jenna returns to Manhattan to start over when mom (Janet Huber) gives her a lecture and the boot. At an Essence-like magazine, Darzine, she sells herself as its creative director. But the feisty CEO of the fashion ‘zine, Darci (Gina Torres), holds a grudge against Jenna for the jobs and man she stole away, nevertheless agrees to hire her. She’s barely settled into the job when Darci introduces her son, Eric (Keith Powers). He’s the cute videographer Jenna drunkenly made out with at a party the night before, as the boss tells Jenna she wants her to work with her son to get new ideas to get more subscribers.

There are numerous Black celebrity cameos that include the rap artist Remy Wade, NBA hoopster Gabrielle’s husband Dwyane Wade, and La La Anthony the wife of the former Knick great Carmelo Anthony. Numa Perrier also has a cameo as a model.

The film asks if it’s possible to find true love when older and more mature, as at a social gathering Jenna’s friend Billie (Aisha Hinds) introduces her to the age-appropriate Jimmy (Godfrey). 

But it tries to be too clever and comes off far from a ‘perfect fit,’ with an all too familiar sentimental love story.  What worked best was when it revisits the artistic influences from the old days in Hollywood and shows clips of revered Blacks like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong sing “You Can’t Lose a Broken Heart.”