Online dating is put on trial in “Love, Guaranteed,” a featherweight romantic comedy streaming on Netflix. Set in autumnal Seattle, the film follows the lawyer Susan Whitaker (Rachael Leigh Cook) who works doggedly, though often pro bono, causing her boutique firm’s bills to pile up. Cue the coffee cart meet-cute with Nick Evans (Damon Wayans Jr.), a deep-pocketed bachelor who also happens to be a prospective client; he hopes to sue a dating website for its empty promise of love.
Nick is a user of Love Guaranteed, and when the film begins, he has gone on nearly 1000 unsuccessful dates — a condition in the site’s fine print — to prove that its name makes a false claim. As evidence, Nick presents Susan with a dossier of his many rendezvous, each file titled with the woman’s red flag or inexcusable quirk.
If this sounds like major league fussiness — or a cynical stunt — on Nick’s part, the film, directed by Mark Steven Johnson, takes pains to get us back on his team quickly. A former athlete and trained physical therapist, Nick spends his time volunteering at a senior care facility and behaves on each of his dates, as Susan learns through field research, like a perfect gentleman in search of the right companion.
Both Nick and Susan are warm and gracious; as a couple, they bear no apparent faults, eccentricities or major stressors. Such unending likability can make for bloodless romance, and the story hits its biggest snag in its contrivance of tension, which arrives not from a clash in personalities but instead a silly legal hiccup.
Even so, “Love, Guaranteed,” simmering at a low boil, is a short and mostly sweet affair. Its successes are due in large part to Cook who, donning a vast array of snug fall coats, is endearing as a willful working woman with a new crush. Without conflict and compromise, Susan and Nick’s lasting power is less than guaranteed. But their charm as cozy lovebirds promises a pleasant time.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Watch on Netflix.