The Reality of Love (2004) (aka: I Want to Marry Ryan Banks) Jason Priestley, Bradley Cooper, Emma Caulfield, Allison Warnyca, David Parker, Erin Karpluk Movie Review

The Reality of Love (2004)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jason Priestley and Bradley Cooper in The Reality of Love (2004) (aka: I Want to Marry Ryan Banks)

Beauty and the Star

10 years after arriving in L.A. with Todd (Bradley Cooper - The Last Cowboy), his best friend, Ryan Banks (Jason Priestley - Expecting a Miracle) has manufactured himself a movie career. Trouble is that whilst he still makes the covers of magazines his popularity is on the decline. With Todd acting as his manager they come up with a reality TV show where 15 lucky women get to share a mansion with Ryan and after the public vote off various women Ryan will marry one of the two finalists. All is great especially with Todd feeding Ryan romantic lines; the trouble is that Todd falls for Charlie (Emma Caulfield - A Valentine Carol), a contestant who is not only the public's but also Ryan's favourite.

To be honest I didn't have huge expectations when I sat down to watch "The Reality of Love", which is also known as "I Want to Marry Ryan Banks", and the intro which sees Todd and Ryan arrive in L.A. with terrible, supposedly amusing haircuts, was living down to my expectations. But then something happened, it became relaxed and not so much stopped trying to be funny but let the natural public personas of the actors become their characters. And this is where "The Reality of Love" surprisingly works because to be frank it is a predictable and corny romantic comedy. But the way the cast interact often feels natural as if we have a group of actors on screen who are friends off camera as well.

Emma Caulfield in The Reality of Love (2004) (aka: I Want to Marry Ryan Banks)

Now as to the actual storyline to "The Reality of Love", well we get two things; we get a touch of the Cyrano de Bergerac with Todd feeding Ryan his romantic lines which Charlie falls for giving us some romantic complications and we have the behind the scenes of a reality show. It is the behind the scenes of reality TV which are amusing because it shows how fake and unnatural these shows are. But it lacks bite to make it really snappy and is a bit repetitive, which in truth I imagine might bequite accurate. And then we have the romance part with Todd and Charlie secretly falling for each other whist she is meant to be falling for Ryan on the reality show. It isn't great romance; there isn't a huge spark of romantic chemistry but it is more a case of a cute and cuddly in the way Todd and Charlie act around each other.

So as for the acting, well to be honest when any of the actors try to act it ends up feeling wrong, what I mean is when Jason Priestley as Ryan tries to act angry it doesn’t work. But then when you have Ryan and Todd hanging out as buddies watching the interview tapes it feels like two guys having a laugh. It is the same through out with both Erin Karpluk and Emma Caulfield also at their best when they just relax rather than trying to deliver character.

What this all boils down to is that "The Reality of Love" whilst not a great romantic comedy was better than I expected and in truth ended up a pleasant surprise. Yes it is corny but it is also cute and cuddly with a real naturalness between the actors and actresses which makes up for some of the movie's cornier moments.