Last night, against my better judgement, I watched the film 16 Love, the story of junior tennis phenom Ally, who learns what it’s like to be a normal teenager when she suffers a potential season-ending injury. The movie is available on Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, but before you spend two hours of your life watching it, read our synopsis and review first.
The film opens with a press conference between No. 1 junior player Ally Mash and Russian rival Katina Upernova. We learn that Ally hasn’t lost a match in eight years, which is basically impossible but we’ll go with it.
Here’s a screengrab of undefeated Ally in action. It’s easy to see why she’s undefeated with that stellar form.
After the press conference Ally meets up with her quirky friend Rebecca who is for some reason wandering around the tennis facility in just a bathing suit. Together they run into Ally’s love interest, fellow teen tennis player Farrell Gambles. He’s shirtless, obviously. Eccentric Rebecca thinks it’s normal to photograph him with her digital camera.
Farrell is totally into Ally, but she is having none of it and tells him that he needs to drastically improve his footwork. Sparks are flying.
The next day Ally and Katina play each other in the finals of some tournament, which is the most painful thing to watch because the actress who plays Ally has no athletic ability. This is the service motion of the No. 1 junior tennis player in the world:
Now let’s compare with an actual top player:
Fortunately we don’t have to watch Ally play tennis for much longer because she twists her ankle, and her coach (who is also her dad) forces her to default.
Now that Ally is sidelined with an injury, her quirky friend Rebecca takes her to the mall because apparently as a tennis player, Ally is not a normally socialized teen and has never been shopping before. Look how happy Ally is to be at the mall:
There’s a whole scene at the mall that involves a hot dog suit and some lame pickup lines from Farrell, but it’s really unfunny, so we’ll skip over it. The takeaway is that Farrell convinces Ally to train him since she gave him that genius advice about the footwork.
Watching Ally train Farrell is almost as bad as watching Ally play tennis. She actually takes him to a batting cage where he uses his tennis racket like a baseball bat to whack balls out into left field. No wonder he’s so terrible. Also, let it be known that this is the outfit Farrell wears while training:
Ally’s dad/coach sees her training Farrell and gets pretty pissed because she’s supposed to be rehabilitating her ankle, which is fair. Then he demands to know Farrell’s ranking and reminds him that he was not only the youngest person to win the U.S. Open, but also holds the record for most rackets broken in a match, which I guess is his version of sitting on the front porch with a shotgun.
Ally is 16, so she ignores her dad and goes to the mall to get ice cream with Farrell. Apparently she’s never had ice cream before because clearly serious tennis players don’t eat ice cream.
Then there’s a montage of Farrell winning a bunch of matches while Ally cheers him on. Every time Farrell wins, he jumps up and down excitedly like a small child in a bouncy house. It’s pretty obvious this actor has never watched an actual tennis match.
Farrell then takes Ally on their first date, which is their own private prom because again, Ally plays tennis so she doesn’t get to do anything normal. Here’s Ally super stoked about going to “prom.”
It’s during this scene that Ally confesses to Farrell that she’s not that good at tennis, she’s just average. I would like to concur. But then Farrell drops this line: “There’s is nothing average about you.” Ugh, Farrell, stop encouraging her.
Ally’s officially 16 in love with blond homeboy, but then disaster strikes. During a press photo shoot, Ally’s arch nemesis Katina grabs and kisses an unsuspecting Farrell while Ally is watching.
As it happens in most films, the girl automatically assumes that the boy doesn’t like her anymore and leaves without furthering questioning the situation. Ally misses Farrell’s big match and instead goes to a beach party with the popular kids. Rebecca is apparently mad about this because she wasn’t invited to the party, but Rebecca’s not even relevant to the story, so I’m not sure why we should care.
Ally has no boyfriend and no best friend so she turns to her most recent discovery, ice cream.
That’s Ally’s mom, by the way. Also an irrelevant character. Finally Ally pulls herself together and starts training for “The Championships,” and also apologizes to Farrell since he’s done nothing except introduce her to ice cream and also create an entire prom just for her.
Spoiler alert: Ally and Farrell win the mixed doubles draw in the championship tournament and she also makes a run to the finals of the singles draw. Shocker — in the finals, Ally must play boyfriend-stealer Katina. Luckily Farrell and Rebecca come up with this brilliant idea to cheer Ally on:
During the match, Katina tells Ally: “When I flick my hair that means my next serve is going to hurt someone.” What the hell? That’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard. Luckily, Ally handles that serve like a champ. I’m not going to tell you who wins the match, but I will leave you with this awesome photo series of Ally during the last point: