"I have no idea what you're talking about, but it all sounds amazing" is a phrase I felt when watching Netflix's original romantic comedy, Falling Inn Love. The words were spoken by the film's lead, Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian), a San Francisco exec who traveled to a small town in New Zealand's countryside after entering a sketchy "Win an Inn" contest. Throughout her journey, Gabriela is captivated by Jake Taylor (Adam Demos), the steamy Kiwi contractor and firefighter. However, the real charm lies with Falling Inn Love's use of New Zealand slang words, as they helped audiences emerge themselves into the movie's setting — whether they're actually used by New Zealanders in everyday conversation or not.
In all honesty, as an American viewer, I had to turn on the subtitles when watching the film. I also skipped back a few times and jotted down phrases I didn't quite understand to Google later. But ultimately, the flood of New Zealand slang in Falling Inn Love just made me feel like Milian's character — a complete fish out of water. So maybe this is what the movie was going for.
Recently, Milian opened up about coping with the New Zealand accent and lingo, and her reaction pretty much sums it up. "I guess you have to live in it to understand what they’re talking about," Milian told Entertainment Weekly. "But there was definitely a few things like, ‘You wanna go take a squizz?’ And I’m like, ‘What the heck is a squizz? Oh, take a look at something, that’s what it is.’ But there’s a lot of slang words that are completely unheard of that sound like a wholly made-up word."
As explained in the film, "wop-wops" refers to the countryside or the boonies.
A warm greeting that stems from the Māori language.
You've probably heard "wily" used before, but in case you haven't, it means "sly" or "cunning."
Also frequently used in the United Kingdom, "muppet" refers to someone who is being silly or idiotic.
To put it simply, "sheila" is just another word for "girl."
When someone is "keen" about something, it means they are "eager" or "excited" about that thing. As in, I'm keen about Gabriela and Jake's future on Falling Inn Love.
Context clues are a beautiful thing, aren't they? The term "footie" was brought up when Gabriela went to rugby night. So they were probably talking about the sport. That said, it can also be used to describe football — aka soccer in the U.S.
A shortened version of "chock-a-block," which means to be extremely full of people or things.
Ka Pai To Kai
As Gabriela said in Falling Inn Love, this translates to "your food is good" in Māori.
People use "munted" to describe something — or someone — as "broken" or damaged to a point where it can't be repaired.
"Squizz" is slang for "taking a look" at something.
People often translate "whānau" as "family," according to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. However, the meaning goes deeper, as it also involves a person's physical being, emotions, and spirit.
Similar to the way people use "sheila," individuals often say "bloke" to describe a man.
As you might expect from how it was said in the film, "yakka" translates to "hard work."
Turns out, "tramping" is something people do often in New Zealand. It is also known as backpacking. So yeah, I don't think leather boots would be appropriate for tramping, either.
Even if you didn't understand every word of New Zealand slang during Falling Inn Love, chances are, you made it through the movie just fine. The addition of the lingo just adds another layer to the film's setting. But you're still in for a heartwarming rom-com, and I couldn't think of anything better to do this weekend.
Falling Inn Love is now streaming on Netflix.