We may still be weeks away from Thanksgiving, but the spooky season is officially over, and you know what that means! It’s time for networks and streamers to start rolling out their holiday fare and for me, in turn, to write about the many locations featured in them. Adhering to the trend, Netflix released its latest original offering, “Love Hard,” last Friday. The Christmas-themed romantic comedy quickly skated into the coveted number one spot, which it has been holding onto ever since, proving that it’s never too early to start celebrating the holidays!
The yuletide yarn stars Nina Dobrev as unlucky-in-love Los Angeles-based dating columnist Natalie Bauer. (Think a younger, West Coast version of Carrie Bradshaw.) Though romantic mishaps are the norm for Natalie, her world is turned upside down when she flies to Lake Placid, New York, on a whim to surprise her new dating-app fling Josh Lin (Jimmy O. Yang) for Christmas only to discover that he has been catfishing her, passing himself off as his much better-looking friend Tag (Darren Barnet) in all of his online activity.
Festive and somewhat Hallmark-y in tone, the Hernan Jimenez-directed film is certainly no awards contender. Still, it makes for a pleasant, frothy watch (assuming you can get past this prevalent complaint concerning the storyline, that is). If nothing else, it’s worth tuning in just to witness Natalie and Josh’s fun, politically-correct rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” as well as their ongoing discourse as to which is a better holiday movie, “Die Hard” or “Love Actually.” (“Love Hard’s” decidedly non-Christmasy title is a cheeky nod to that debate, as Cosmopolitan recently reported.)
Set primarily in the Adirondack Mountains, the film’s backdrop is merry and bright in all the right ways. But no filming actually took place on the East Coast. Instead, the cast and crew descended upon British Columbia for the shoot, with the idyllic hamlet of Fort Langley appearing as downtown Lake Placid in several scenes. Other B.C. locales featured include Nations Creations in Agassiz, which masquerades as All Things Outdoors, the woodsy sporting goods store run by Josh’s father, Bob (James Saito). Natalie’s reluctant indoor rock climbing session takes place at the former Cliffhanger Climbing Gym (now The Hive) in Vancouver Heights. And the now-defunct Rocky Point Taphouse at 2524 Saint Johns St. in Port Moody appears as the fictional Abbott’s Steakhouse, where Natalie and Josh’s ill-fated surprise engagement party is held.