REVIEW: ‘A Tourist’s Guide to Love’ fails to deliver unique plot


Courtesy Netflix

Staff writer Zara Shaikh writes that despite the movie’s immersive Vietnam setting, “A Tourist’s Guide to Love” was felt too cliche.

Zara Shaikh, Staff Writer

Despite being a feel-good romantic comedy in a beautiful setting, “A Tourist’s Guide to Love” features overused and predictable scenarios. 

Directed by Steven Tsuchida, the 2023 Netflix original revolves around the life of Amanda Riley (Rachel Leigh Cook). After getting unexpectedly dumped by her long term boyfriend John (Ben Feldman), the travel executive was assigned to go undercover and investigate a Vietnamese tourist agency, Saigon Silver Star. There, Amanda meets her love interest and tour guide who is the owner’s nephew, Sinh Thach (Scott Ly).

The love story begins with Amanda and Sinh first meeting at the airport. When Amanda sees Sinh, the floppy-haired guy that every girl would want to be with, he immediately sparks her interest. Completely embarrassing herself by assuming Sinh didn’t speak English, Amanda asked him where the baggage claim was in Vietnamese. This cliche has been used over and over again in many romance movies: one of the love interests meets the other by embarrassing themselves, and it leads to something they laugh about later.  In addition to many played-out moments in the film, the chemistry between the leads was invisible. With little connecting them together, the characters and movie itself were bland and unengaging. 

The two characters were evidently incompatible. Amanda is more of a ‘hit the books’ kind of girl. For instance, she brought a book about Vietnam on the trip and was forced by Sinh to put the book down. Sinh is the opposite of Amanda, as he enjoys the adventure, looks at life spiritually and examines the big picture. 

In any good rom-com, there is always that burning question: Will the two love interests get together, or not? In the film, there was no doubt that they wouldn’t get together; there was no breaking point in their relationship throughout the trip and really no tension that made viewers rethink their romantic fates. 

Though there were predictable and cliche scenes, the beautiful setting and representation of Vietnamese culture did make the film feel like a vacation. Viewers feel immersed in Vietnamese culture through the dances, foods and traditional clothing. Putting Vietnam in the spotlight made this bland movie much more enjoyable. 

“A Tourist’s Guide to Love” is rated PG with an approximate 1:30 run time. If you do watch it, try to keep an open mind and low expectations.