It's perfectly understandable that filmmakers would want to tackle Covid and the ensuing lockdown. The impact was enormous, affecting all of us in some capacity, so of course they want to process it through art. By the same token, it's equally understandable that viewers might not be ready to view the situation as a source of entertainment since we're not completely out of the woods yet. I hope that won't deter anyone from seeing 7 Days, though. This rom-com is set during the start of quarantine, yet it's more about finding connection than it is about living in fear of a virus.
The film opens with an arranged date between two young Indian-Americans. Ravi (Deadpool's Karan Soni) is looking for a traditional woman who abstains from alcohol, maintains a vegetarian diet, and doesn't curse. Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) is way more progressive, yet pretends to be traditional for dating purposes. In fact, she only goes on dates to placate her mother. She has no actual interest in commitment. It doesn't take long for either of them to realize they are not a match.
Their date is interrupted by news that lockdown is beginning and everyone is supposed to stay in place. Ravi's Uber ride is rendered unable to pick him up as a result, so Rita reluctantly allows him to stay at her apartment. The two relative strangers are suddenly quarantined together, a scenario that lets them get to know each other far more than a simple date ever would have. You can guess what happens, although that in no way detracts from the enjoyment of watching how these appealing characters get to that point.
A two-character picture like this relies on good performances, and 7 Days has got them. Soni is very funny as the sincere, slightly neurotic Ravi. He makes all the character's little insecurities come alive, while simultaneously hinting at the loneliness inside. We sense that Ravi is a good guy who would treat a woman well, if not for the fact that he keeps tripping himself up on these dates. His thinking is too rigid, meaning he's probably scared a lot of nice women off with his expectations.
On her end, Viswanathan (The Broken Hearts Gallery) once again proves to be a total charmer. Rita's duplicity in how she presents herself could have come off as a cheap gimmick, except that the actress makes it genuine. In a couple phone call scenes, we can tell that Rita is rebelling against her mother's conservative nature, and that causes her to occasionally make self-defeating decisions. Viswanathan captures all the complexities of this young woman. As an added bonus, her delivery of sarcastic dialogue is frequently hilarious.
The leads have excellent chemistry together. They're aided by a smartly-written screenplay from Soni and director Roshan Sethi. At times, 7 Days is kind of like a Covid-era My Dinner with Andre, as it relies on us listening to two people speaking and taking notice of how they respond to each other. Sometimes what's unspoken proves just as important as what is. Most essentially, Ravi and Rita are fundamentally likeable. We want to spend time in their company.
7 Days gets a little heavy during the last act – an abrupt tonal shift given the general lightness of everything else. Keeping the characters apart for most of that act also takes away a tiny fraction of the magic. The movie still manages to wind its way to an emotionally satisfying ending. Rom-coms are released all the time. Finding one where you legitimately root for the characters to get together is more rare. Thanks to the warm, endearing efforts of Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan, I thoroughly enjoyed rooting for Ravi and Rita.
out of four
7 Days is unrated but contains adult language and some sexual content. The running time is 1 hour and 26 minutes.