A splendid disaster, the review: on Prime Video a love story between eros and irony

The review of A splendid disaster, a film that adapts the first novel of the Beautiful series in a decent package, not without ingenuity but more entertaining than expected.

A splendid disaster, the review: on Prime Video a love story between eros and irony

Still too early to tell if it will be the beginning of a real saga, but the presence in the top 10 of the most viewed on Prime Video bodes well for fans. On the other hand, there is a lot of material to draw on, given that A splendid disaster is the adaptation of the first book in the series Beautifulcounting to date another five volumes that always see the apparently antithetical characters of Abby Abernathy and Travis Maddox as protagonists: a series of great success also with the Italian public.

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A splendid disaster: Virginia Gardner in a scene from the film

The adaptation in the form of film had caused a lot of discussion on the net, above all because of the ideas considered controversial by the author of the novels, namely Jamie McGuire, who in 2019 had risen to the headlines for her questionable statements on vaccines and for her political vision considered close to the ‘extreme right. McGuire also co-wrote the screenplay with director Roger Kumble, and managed to transport the written pages to the big screen with some familiarity.

A roaring love

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A splendid disaster: Dylan Sprouse in a scene from the film

Abby abandoned Las Vegas, where she was born and raised, and the oppressive figure of her father, a gambler constantly in debt and with a gambling habit, to enroll at Eastern University, where her best friend America is already studying. The protagonist thus hopes to be able to start from scratch and leave her mysterious past behind her for good. Shortly after her arrival, she meets Travis Maddox, the most popular and feared boy in school, who usually competes in clandestine boxing matches. That between them is an apparent lightning strike, although she initially tries to reject him and doesn’t appreciate his braggart. Following a losing bet, Abby is forced to make one forced cohabitation of thirty days together with him, while refusing to give in sexually to his advances and become another of his easy conquests. But over time the tune between the two grows more and more, at least until Abby is faced with what she had left behind.

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Him, her, the others

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A splendid disaster: Dylan Sprouse, Virginia Gardner in a scene from the film

The plot is quite simple and elementary and it is no coincidence that the novels of Jamie McGuire were born on the platform Wattpad, to then be published after the large number of online views: a canonical love story between two potentially complementary characters, some pitfalls here and there to undermine the relationship, sex and irony for the general public. If we are not therefore faced with an excellent literary work, it is undeniable as the saga of Beautiful possessed all the credentials to intercept the favors of the general public, especially women. In this live-action transposition, the result turns out to be more successful than many homologous productions, precisely because of a sparkling and original approach to the staging and management of situations, which for once go beyond the classic romanticism in favor of more foul-mouthed passages, serial jokes and a general tendency towards the most unbridled comedy that manages to make the hour and a half of viewing unexpectedly funny, even for a spectator unaccustomed to the genre.

pros and cons

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A splendid disaster: Libe Barer, Austin North in a scene from the film

Certainly there are some obvious things, starting with narrative solutions that are not always plausible – the entire final half hour goes well beyond the logic that can occur in reality – to arrive at the appearance of superimposed sms to show the exchange of texting bickering between the protagonists, but are compensated by gags and bubbly situations at the right point: the first night that the two sleep together, waking up in the morning is very amusing in its pushed reference. Ad hoc soundtrack addressed to the main reference target, a young and beautiful cast at the right point led by Dylan Sprouse (Zack e Cody al Grand Hotel) is yes Virginia Gardner (Runaways) in the main roles and a dynamic and faithful direction to what there was to tell complete a pleasant package, contextualized to the relative trend. And with an epilogue that obviously leaves all the doors open to the probable sequel…


He is a boxer and the most popular boy in school, she is a newcomer with a secret in her past: the meeting between the two will be nothing short of explosive but the nascent passion will have to wait longer than expected to find the right outlet, between jealousies and twists . A splendid disaster is the adaptation of the first novel of the romance saga written by Jamie McGuire, here in the role of co-writer, and while not lacking in some obviousness and ingenuity, it turns out to be much more entertaining than the (low) average of the genre, with that mix between eros and irony to accompany the salient phases of this atypical love story, between two figures apparently at the antipodes but actually complementary.

Because we like it

  • A sparkling staging at the right point.
  • The script has some good ideas…

What’s wrong

  • … but it does not lack forcing and ingenuity.

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