Friday, July 9, 2021

Aşk Nerede (2015)

Biricik is a news reporter in her 30s, growing increasingly man-hungry. She's desperate for a good husband, but seems to be the last of everyone she knows who's tying the knot, even coming last to her bedwetting nemesis. She takes her frustrations out on kindhearted but brutally honest/forthright taxi driver Ahmet, but after he helps her out of a few scrapes, from creepy dates to aggressive coworkers, a romance begins to blossom...

Aşk Nerede (Where is Love) is a nice good time, courtesy of Turkey's wildly popular romantic-comedy market. If you're ever growing tired of whatever Hollywood is putting out lately, the Turks are here to fulfill all your needs.

The story here is fairly basic, but in the best ways. The two protagonists share good chemistry, and there are many amusing scenarios and setpieces throughout. There's a good sense of humour present, and while things can get cheesy, they're usually always believable.

Biricik and Ahmet are great leads. He's a down to earth guy, but is also drop dead gorgeous, and gave up a shot at education and career to make ends meet for his ailing mother. And just like that, every woman in the audience swoons and drops their undies.

Biricik meanwhile is amusingly grumpy, but also bubbly. It's a great mix that makes for a well-rounded personality. Though she may not win points from all the women watching, thanks to how long she takes before realising Ahmet likes her. I really dug the movie's main conceit, of her meeting this taxi driver due to her own lack of a license. I like that the movie never once points out or jibes her for being unable to drive. After all, not everyone can or does, so it's nice to see that representation.

Biricik has spectacularly bad luck with other men, who are all deranged to some degree. First is Tansel, a guy she's introduced to at a bar who's tantamount to a stalker, messaging her literally dozens of times and trying to muscle in as her boyfriend before they've even gone on a date.

Then there's coworker Arif, gifting what I at first thought to be a vibrator, with the creepy declaration of "Think of me when you use it.". His attempted date with her goes disastrously for him. I would almost feel bad for him, if it wasn't so funny. Last up is her ex Mert, who's camp, and probably gay as a post, but has his own reasons for wanting to scoop Biricik back up

The last act is where the film really lost me though. At about the 70 minute mark the couple are firmly together and happy. Not really the right spot to end on, since you need a little more oomph for the last act, but what the movie decides on is the trite 'disapproving mother' trope. Which isn't inherently bad, but it comes across as awkward and uncomfortable here, and then gets worse! This movie goes way too far, ultimately leading to a climax that feels out-of-place with how serious and violent it gets.

The ending is just plain bizarre! It's melodramatic in the way Turks are best known for, but then it has a Goodbye fantasy sequence, and Ahmet flatlining...followed by a happy ending. Huh? I'm glad it has a happy ending, despite him apparently dying, but what gives? He dies, except he doesn't? Then why'd he flatline? It gives off the impression that the ending is another fantasy sequence, but it's also not? Overall it's confusing and a little off-putting for this reason, despite the otherwise cute final exchange.

The acting is all fun here. Ayça Erturan is a great lead, looking unconventional but still gorgeous. She is also adorable when speaking English! Faik Ergin is your typical Turkish hunk, and is a great love interest. The rest of the cast all do well.

The film always looks good, although the fantasy sequences are juuuust a little overexposed. The music here is all fine, and fittingly Turkish. Some of it is stock Youtube music. Nice tracks of course, but very noticeable if you recognise them.

Aşk Nerede has got a few issues that drag it down, but depressing moments aside it's still a cute and enjoyable rom-com...

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