Reel Love (2011)

June 27, 2012 3 Comments
Televised
movies tend more towards the silly side. That is just a fact. This one is no
different but where others usually hold up with by their cast or script, this
one is messier than even the normal.
Chicago is
where Holly Whitman (LeAnn Rimes) ran away following her high school
graduation. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her family so much as she needed to
get away from Alabama where her widowed father couldn’t handle the pressures of
two children – instead Holly kept things going. 
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 plus hours down to the small fishing
town only to find that her father has checked himself out of the hospital.
Stubborn to a fault and a man who refuses to remember names, Wade Whitman (Burt
Reynolds) is not 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
staying put – and the fact that she reconnects with old friends, and a handsome
drifter (Shawn Roberts) may change her mind about her past altogether.

Television
station CMT (home to country music and some of its finest) used this as a kind of tryout to see how
feature films would rate. I don’t know how its ratings were but having seen it,
I can say, at times it is a painfully low-budget, average production and
others, it is just too syrupy cute to bash. I giggled my way through the
majority of the film because so much of the dialogue is so sappy or inept, it’s
hard
not to pick out – it is just
that obvious. Having said that, the romance is cute albeit unrealistic (
seriously – you are going to change your
whole life in part to see where a 48 hours old new relationship may go?) while
the acting is far from flawless.
Though she is
not an actress by trade (however, we’ll put that fact on the back burner for
now), Rimes is not well suited to the role in this movie. There is something
really vexing about her characteristics and yet, we like Holly. She is sassy
and fun while we wonder what on earth she could have seen in her pussy-footed boyfriend
who cares more about his car than his girlfriend of two years. Robert’s Jay is
also a fun albeit clichéd character while going strictly by looks, he is the
better looking half in this leading couple, and 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 (in
particular, the Southern sections as is the setting here), 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, and a nice
message results. The scene between Holly and her father on the lake is sweet (and
LeAnn actually does a nice job with the scene). Additionally, the setting is
pretty and the script does have heart (even if it has been re-tooled time and
again!), I only wish it had a stronger, more likable leading lady. Moments when
she is with her friend are cute as is the “slow dance” with Jay but other than
that there are too many awkward scenes to be truly great. One such scene is a brief
line-dancing sequence that was just… awfully stiff. (Let’s go for Footloose any day over this!) 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.
(Rated TVPG: 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.) 

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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3 Comments

  • Miss Jack Lewis Baillot June 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I've heard of this movie, just never watched it as it isn't my thing, I suppose you could say.

  • Charity June 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I liked LeAnne back before she was a homewrecker. I even saw her live in concert once, when I was about fourteen.

  • Rissi June 28, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Miss Jack – it is cute but not fantastic like some of the Hallmarks I've seen. I'd watch it again but I don't think I'd miss it should my copy disappear.

    Charity – that is a good way to sum up my feelings of LeAnn although I never got into her music. I thought it was awesome that she was married for so long for a name in show biz and then… yeah, that happened. I even watched the movie where she stars with the guy who is now her hubby – it's decently good. My mom would totally agree with you: she doesn't like LeAnn for that very reason.

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