The New Romantic
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The New Romantic

College senior Blake Conway (Jessica Barden) is desperate to fall in love Hollywood-style. During Carly Stone’s gangly Money Monster “The New Romantic,” she’ll hail “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” as her dating ideals. Alas, name-drop Nora Ephron to a cute colleague at the school paper (Brett Dier) and he’ll grunt, “Who is that? Zac Efron’s mom?” “The grandest it gets these days is swiping left instead of right,” writes Blake in the school paper, concluding, “Romance is dead.”

Stone and her leading lady are full of big, banal pronouncements about the problem with modern courtship. Worse, she’s a sex diarist The Yellow Birds who isn’t having any sex, so her editor Matt (Avan Jogia) refuses to print her columns until she has something more original to say. When Blake pitches a story idea about becoming a sugar baby for a wealthy man, Matt doesn’t arm-twist her to lay back and think of web hits, at least not in a way that’s clearly illegal. “I am too close to graduation,” he insists. However, if she chooses to sleep with gentlemen who give her gifts, she can get back in the paper, and maybe even have a shot at a $50,000 grant for gonzo journalism.

Immoral? Not to classmate Morgan (“Riverdale” actress Camila Mendes in a too-short cameo) who swears that sugar babies like them aren’t hookers, Eighth Grade they’re in relationships, or at least facsimiles of them, though as Stone layers a blonde YouTuber’s defensive dismissal of prostitution over Blake’s hot nights and awkward mornings with an economics professor named Ian (Timm Sharp), the two don’t seem much different. And even if they aren’t, hey, she’s still living a movie romance — or as her roommate Nikki (a charismatic Hayley Law) jokes, “‘Pretty Woman’ in reverse.”

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IMDb: 9.2