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Tiffany's is known for its classic, timeless jewelry. You see that little teal box, and you know to expect something elegant and thoughtfully crafted out of the best materials. Unfortunately, that's not the case with Daryl Wein's "Something from Tiffany's." Overlong at a mere 87 minutes, there's nothing timeless or elegant about this flop entirely composed of elements derived from much better films.
The beautiful jewel-toned opening scene captures a nostalgic, magical midcentury New York City Christmas vibe. It's all sparkling holiday lights and crisp snowflakes, underscored by Dean Martin crooning "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." If only the rest of the Prime Video rom-com, based on the novel of the same name by Melissa Hill, continued to match this sequence's verve.
A swirl pan from the city streets places us inside the titular Tiffany's, where writer Ethan (Kendrick Sampson, fine) and his daughter Daisy (Leah Jeffries, exuberant) painstakingly pick out just the right ring to propose to his girlfriend Vanessa (Shay Mitchell, who does the best she can with an underwritten character). Their precision is intercut with self-centered tattoo artist Gary (Ray Nicholson, surprisingly bland), who barges through the crowded store, half-heartedly in search of a last-minute gift for his girlfriend Rachel (Zoey Deutch), a chef who is at home getting an elaborate anniversary dinner in order. When the careless Gary walks out of the store straight into an on-coming cab and a bout of amnesia, Ethan rushes to his aid—and their little teal bags get accidentally switched.
The rest of the film finds Ethan and Rachel brought together by accident, only to realize they are with whom they should have been with all along. This is the plot of many screwball comedies, old and new. Unfortunately, instead of finding an original twist on these tropes, screenwriter Tamara Chestna appears to have put elements of Holiday-set rom-coms like "Serendipity," "While You Were Sleeping," "You've Got Mail," and "Sleepless In Seattle" into a blender, leaving all the surface-level pieces intact, but none of the charm—or most importantly any well-developed characters.
Much of the movie rests on leading lady Zoey Deutch's shoulders, the filmmakers coasting on the zany persona she's been honing since her breakout role in 2018's "Set It Up." But beyond an underwritten backstory about a dead mother and a love for Italian pastries, there's not much to her character beyond her zippy mile-a-minute patter. Allegedly she's in business with her best friend Terrie (Jojo T. Gibbs), but there's not enough chemistry between the actresses to make a lifelong friendship believable.
Deutch doesn't have any chemistry with anyone in the film—including the two men she's found herself between. Sampson gives emotional glances her way, but Deutch gives nothing back in return. Likewise, Nicholson seems to have been directed to play his role with as little facial emotion as possible while having all his natural heat sapped out. Anyone who's seen his work in 2021's YA series "Panic" knows how much he's been sanded down here.
Aside from a lack of chemistry with its stars, one of the main problems with many modern rom-coms is their overemphasis on hitting situational beats and memeable one-liners over crafting interesting, complex characters. Everyone in this film still feels like a concept of a person rather than a real person. The messy heroine who's a ball of fire. The toxic, careless boyfriend. The single dad with a heart of gold. The precocious kid, wise beyond her years. The sassy Black best friend. The fiance who just doesn't fit.
Weirdly, the one actor able to overcome his stock character trappings is Connor Hines as Gary's ne'er-do-well friend Finn. Introduced in the third act solely to accidentally reveal some information that undermines everything Rachel thought about Gary's hidden depth and selflessness, Hines is absolutely hilarious, and for about five minutes, the film has a discernible pulse. But, unfortunately, there are still about 20 more minutes to plod through after he leaves the picture.
LCD Soundsystem's melancholic electro-bop "Oh Baby" makes for an unexpected but welcomed needle drop to the film's inevitable conclusion as Deutch does her best Billy Crystal sprint across the city to share her true feelings. Despite the inspired song choice, the moment lands with a dull thud, rehashing a handful of scenes from a few beloved Meg Ryan movies without even a wink or nod.
Everything, of course, wraps up in a neat little Christmas bow, the numbers painted so completely that any magic of possibility hanging in the air is snuffed out in favor of unearned closure. Rather than the journey of telling the compelling story of two individuals finding love, it's clear that getting to that rote perfect final moment was always the film's only goal.
Now playing on Prime Video.