Despite boasting an almost entirely Asian-Australian cast and featuring a compelling central performance from Hu, “Five Blind Dates” disappoints with its lack of genuine laughs or romantic charm. The courtship depicted feels tired and unconvincing.
However, Hu’s script, co-written by Nathan Ramos-Park, does shine in its keenly observed cultural specificity. Lia, a relatable young woman, has left her small-town roots for Sydney, where she honors her grandmother’s traditions by running a Chinese teahouse. Yet, despite her efforts, the business struggles, with Sydneysiders favoring Taiwanese bubble tea over authenticity.
Summoned back to her suburban hometown for her sister’s engagement party, Lia is told by a fortune-teller that she’ll find her soulmate and solve her business woes if she embarks on five blind dates before the wedding. Reluctantly agreeing, Lia navigates a series of setups orchestrated by her sister and estranged parents, hoping to find the perfect match.
While the premise holds promise, “Five Blind Dates” repeatedly falls short due to uninspired dialogue and lackluster character development. The film relies heavily on genre stereotypes, from the obligatory gay best friend to the wholesome childhood friend who may hold the key to Lia’s heart. Despite Hu’s best efforts, the film struggles to rise above its formulaic trappings.
While audiences don’t necessarily expect groundbreaking originality from a romcom, they do seek the warmth of love and laughter, elements that “Five Blind Dates” fails to deliver. Despite Hu’s commendable efforts, the film ultimately feels like weak tea.