Should You Watch ‘A Tourist’s Guide to Love’ on Netflix?

Our PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP? Review of Netflix's new romance movie.

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a tourists guide to love netflix movie review

Picture: Netflix

The latest Rachael Leigh Cook rom-com, A Tourist’s Guide To Love, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?

In my riveting & well-researched review (naturally) for this year’s big-name Netflix rom-com Your Place or Mine with Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, I led with a brief history of Netflix’s rom-com revival starting in 2018 with (like it or not) The Kissing Booth. They had a couple of years of teen romance franchising (To All The Boys), critical faves (my personal choice, Set It Up), and star vehicles (Always Be My Maybe) that really worked on the platform. In the years that followed, they have tried to capture that success once again, but unfortunately, nothing has stuck despite the headline-grabbing talent that performs within them (Yes, I’m talking about Your Place or Mine).

However, the latest entry in the genre, A Tourist’s Guide To Love, does not fully belong in that category. Not really. This particular movie feels closer to the harmless, benign competitors from the Hallmark movies of the world than it does to some of Netflix’s bigger budget efforts.

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In a sense, the movie melds the pieces of the career of its star Rachael Leigh Cook, who rose to prominence in a different era of pre-Netflix teen romance in the late 90s/early 2000s starring in such cult classics as She’s All That and Josie and the Pussycats while also doing a short stint on Dawson’s Creek. However, for the better part of the last decade, she has moved towards the TV movie route doing such projects as her “In the Vineyard” series for Hallmark and a few holiday films as well.

A Tourist’s Guide To Love marks Cook’s 3rd Netflix Original after 2020’s Love Guaranteed opposite Damon Wayans Jr and a smaller mother role in the gender-swap remake of She’s All That entitled He’s All That.

While those films lean heavier into the comedic side of the romantic comedy, Tourist seems to go in a much different direction.

Penned by TV Movie scribe Eirene Tran Donahue (A Sugar & Spice Holiday, Drink Slay Love) and directed by Steven K. Tsuchida (Netflix’s Resort To Love & Cobra Kai), the movie can be categorized as “ASMR for Millennial Moms”; a comfortable companion that pairs well with a warm bath, a glass of white wine, and occasional 2nd screening on Instagram.

A Tourist’s Guide To Love knows exactly what it is and the audience it serves. It fills the inside of the Venn Diagram between vacation porn, romance, & nostalgia if the vacation porn circle was trying desperately to push the other pieces out entirely.

scott ly a tourists guide to love coming to netflix in april 2023

Picture: Netflix

Set almost entirely in Vietnam, the story centers around meticulous & reliable travel executive Amanda Riley, whose steady life is upended when her long-term boyfriend decides to take a job halfway across the country. Jilted from the unexpected breakup, Amanda accepts an assignment to go undercover and learn about the tourist industry in Vietnam; more specifically, a guided tour business that may be a potential purchase for Amanda’s company. Along the way, she finds adventure and romance with her Vietnamese expat tour guide Sinh (Scott Ly) when they decide to reroute the tour bus in order to explore life and love off the beaten path.

Depending on what you came for with this endeavor, you might be disappointed by the adventure and romance in the above description. If your definition of adventure is swapping out beautiful & interesting tourist traps for EVEN MORE beautiful and interesting sights with fewer tourists, then you’re in luck because that is as far as this film will stretch.

Remember the terms “harmless” and “benign” I used before to describe this type of film’s competition? This one uses the same mold to give you the feeling of wandering the Vietnamese countryside with the same wistful wonder as a member of the tour group. As for the romance, the same adjectives apply as the “complicated” love connection in the film meets very few obstacles and yields only a low level of chemistry between Cook and Ly. While delightful separately, the two leads don’t register the heights necessary to compete with the beauty of its backdrop, nor do you think it won’t happen for them in the end.

scott shopping a tourists guide to love coming to netflix in april 2023

Picture: Netflix

Overall, A Tourist’s Guide To Love is a limp TV movie-style entry that doesn’t elevate past its cliches and modest charm. The sights and sounds of modern-day Vietnam capture more of your attention than the on-screen duo that should be capturing our hearts.

This will be a “put it on in the background” classic for a certain crowd, but it will be a mostly forgettable Friday night for a more discernible bunch.

Watch A Tourist’s Guide to Love on Netflix if you like:

  • Love, Guaranteed
  • She’s All That
  • Resort To Love
  • Falling Inn Love

MVP of A Tourist’s Guide to Love

Scott Ly as Sinh Thach

While he doesn’t pair that well with his leading lady, Scott Ly displays a level of charisma & small-screen good looks that can give him many more opportunities in films & similar TV roles like this for years to come.

For a movie that seems more like a guided tour than a romantic story, he is a delight to follow and could be a mainstay in Vietnamese & American Netflix projects in the future.



If you are a TV movie junkie who loves the combo of Rachael Leigh Cook and travel documentaries, this one’s for you. But if you have a more refined palette for top-shelf rom-coms, you might think twice before you jump into this movie.

Should You Watch ‘A Tourist’s Guide to Love’ on Netflix?

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ANDREW MORGAN is a film critic & podcaster with 20 years of experience on the sets & offices of film & television. Current podcast host of the entertainment review show, Recent Activity. He lives in the Northeast of the United States with his wife and two children.