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Netflix’s freshest foray into a genre that’s as bulletproof as it is persistently bland gatecrashes the Top 10 in 70 countries

Like clockwork, a dull movie in a dull genre makes a massive impact.

happiness for beginners
CR: Barbara Nitke/NETFLIX

Star-studded action blockbusters, erotic thrillers, true crime documentaries, and hard-hitting conspiracies are the bread and butter of Netflix originals, but Happiness for Beginners has come along to remind everyone that the widely-panned romantic comedy is also among the platform’s heaviest hitters.

Packing thoroughly uninspiring Rotten Tomatoes scores of only 32 and 52 percent from critics and audiences, the latest frothy caper that’s easily predictable from the very first scene has done what almost every other in-house feature of its ilk does; rocket right to the top of the charts.

HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS (2023) (L to R) Luke Grimes as Jake and Ellie Kemper as Helen
CR: Barbara Nitke/NETFLIX

Per FlixPatrol, writer and director Vicky Wight’s adaptation of the novel of the same name by Katherine Center has trekked across the vast expanses of the Top 10 in 70 countries around the world, putting it third on the global rankings behind only the tedious Hidden Strike and thought-provoking sci-fi Paradise.

Ellie Kemper stars as Helen, who loves nothing more than playing her entire life as safe as possible. Following a divorce, though, she decides to sign up for an adventure alongside a group of stock characters. Wouldn’t you know it, though, it appears as if fresh romance might be lurking just over the horizon as she discovers the wide open plains of nature are the perfect place to heal not just her mind, but also her heart. Cue the tissues, cut to black, job done.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” has become a cliche for a reason, and Happiness for Beginners is yet more evidence Netflix’s rom-coms don’t even need to be remotely good to draw in a crowd.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.