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I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a good chick flick. Give me a few clever one-liners and a little bit of unrealistic romance, and I’ll laugh and cry and sit through the whole thing with a goofy grin on my face. But sometimes, filmmakers just go too far—like in Gabriela.

Mike (Jaime Gomez) is a social worker who’s single because he’s just too sweet and too honest. He wants a real relationship—not just a physical relationship. He’s dated a lot of women, but none of them are The One. He just wants to be in love. (You’re gagging already, aren’t you?) His friend, Douglas (Troy Winbush), is the exact opposite. He’s a player—he’s got a girlfriend, but that doesn’t slow him down—and he tries to get Mike to have a little more fun.

Then in walks Gabriela (Seidy Lopez), a new therapist at the clinic where Mike and Douglas work. It’s love at first sight for Mike, who asks her out and gets turned down. But the attraction is just too strong, and Mike and Gabriela find themselves falling in love.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Gabriela is engaged to someone else. Though she finds that the romance is long gone with her fiancé, she can’t break off the engagement because it would mean hurting her fiancé (and she really does love him—she’s just not in love with him) and disappointing her very traditional family.

What follows goes a little like this:

“This must stop. It can’t go on.”

“But we can’t help ourselves.”

“I can’t do this to my fiancé. Or to my family. I can never see you again.”

“But I love you, and I can’t stay away from you.”

…and so on.

I’m sure by now you can understand my frustration with the movie. It’s overdone and cliché. It attempts to be a romantic comedy, but the comedy (the best of which comes from Douglas) is disjointed, and it feels like it doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie. The characters aren’t all that exciting, and their romance is unrealistic—even for a chick flick. There’s just nothing particularly special about this movie. It’s the same old story with the same old ending. And to make matters worse, the end of the film takes place in Mexico, where Gabriela’s family lives. While it’s understandable that the dialogue should be in Spanish, it should also be accompanied by subtitles for those of us who have grown a little rusty since Spanish 102.

So unless you’re a diehard romantic comedy fan with a very high tolerance for sap (and a working knowledge of the Spanish language), you’d be wise to avoid Gabriela.

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