Televised movies tend more towards the silly side. That is just a fact. This one is no different. Where the other usually hold up with by their cast or script, this one is messier than normal.
Reel Love (2010) TV Film Review
Chicago is where Holly Whitman (LeAnn Rimes) ran away following her high school graduation. It isn’t that she didn’t love her family so much as she needed to get away from Alabama. Her widowed father can’t handle the pressures of two children so Holly kept things running. What she ran from was her stifling small hometown. On the brink of one of the biggest cases in her young career as a lawyer, Holly gets a call from her brother that their father has had a heart attack.
Not taking the time to do anything but commandeer her boyfriend’s sports car, Holly drives ten hours to the small fishing town. Stubborn to a fault, Wade Whitman (Burt Reynolds) isn’t about to let his daughter stick around to care for and fuss over him; he wants her to go back to her successful life in Chicago so that he can get back to his. Despite his annoying hints and bully tactics, Holly is stays put. While home, she reconnects with old friends, and a handsome drifter (Shawn Roberts) who change her mind about her past.
Television station CMT (home to country music) used this as a kind of tryout to try feature films. I don’t know how its ratings were but having seen it, I can say, at times it’s a painfully low-budget production. I giggle my way through the majority of the film because so much of the dialogue is so sappy or inept. Having said that, the romance is cute albeit unrealistic (seriously? You’ll change your whole life to see where a 48 hours old new relationship may go?) while the acting is far from flawless.
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Though she’s not an actress by trade, Rimes isn’t well suited to the role in this movie. There’s something really vexing about her characteristics and yet, we like Holly. She’s sassy and fun while we wonder what on earth she sees in her annoying boyfriend who cares more about his car. Robert’s Jay is also a fun albeit cliché character but on look, he’s the better looking one. Then there is veteran Reynolds; his gruff, estranged stereotyped father figure is right on. All of his personality quirks are quite comedic. Playing into the stereotype of small town USA, some of the characters are a bit dim-witted which is such an over-used, boring cliché.
Here, it is Holly’s loser, out-of-work brother who bares the brunt of the laughs in this one. Thrown out of his house by his wife, in the end, his one “good act” gets him back in but in the interim, it is… well, annoying.
Fortunately where everything else tends more towards unrealistic events or conversations, the story does have a good grip on the reality of fathers and daughters. The scene between Holly and her father on the lake is sweet. Additionally, the setting is pretty and the script has heart, I only wish it had a stronger, more likable leading lady.
In the same vein as many Hallmark productions, what this one does lack in production, it makes up for (or desperately tries to) with its intentions being in the right place. There just isn’t that usual pizzazz that most television films bring to our screen for this one to be competitive. Still, for a mindless romantic comedy, you could do worse.
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You can find Reel Love digitally on DVD
Content: There are some crude sexual references. After getting drunk, Jay finds four women in the hot tub [they are supposedly naked to which some jokes are cracked about Jay peeping but being a gentleman]. Mention is made to a “cute a**” and losing one’s virginity. Holly comes onto Jay after a night of drinking and even hints at staying with him [she doesn’t] – elsewhere other characters drink themselves into a stupor. There are a few instances of minor profanity. The film is TV-PG.