Smooch (2011)

December 29, 2012

If you were a child in the 1990’s, there wasn’t a show that
was much more family-friendly than the CBS, short-lived Christy based, of course on the classic by Catherine Marshall. Not
only was it a one-of-a-kind television show of its kind but it gave recognition
to titular star Kellie Martin’s career and since then, her roles have been something
I have kept an eye on.


Fairy-tales and frogs are what Zoe’s life is all about. She’s
enamored with her Blue Moon storybooks
– her favorite story being The Frog
Prince
– much to the dismay of her working, single mother, Gwen (Martin). Zoe
(Kiernan Shipka) has got it into her head that even fantasies from fiction can
come true and that her daddy wanted his girls to move on – to find someone who
would cherish them as he had. During a school experiment, Zoe sets free her
frog and gives him a kiss but when a momentary distraction takes her eyes off
her amphibian friend, she thinks she’s found her very own frog prince. Turns
out, Percy (Simon Kassianides) is suffering a touch of amnesia after losing his
memory short term. Zoe takes home the confused Brit, hoping he’s the answer to
all her dilemmas! First, she must convince her mother that Percy is the right
man for the job – as her new “manny.”

Once in a blue moon something so charming comes along that
you forget (or perhaps more easily downplay) its flaws and allow yourself to be
swept up into the story – Smooch is
such a tale. (Even the name bespeaks of something hard to resist!) Smaller
markets as well as larger ones don’t seem to want to be forgotten in getting to
be a part of all the fairy-tale fandoms as they continue to make their presence
known. Modernizing the “Frog Prince” story was done in this instance by
Hallmark Channel (who else!?) and was in no shortage of pizzazz – or it wasn’t from
this happy-ever-after girl’s perspective. Reciting a paragraph from her book,
the opening of the film re-enacts Zoe’s tale and is a slap-happy demonstration
of the sort of imaginary I don’t like which may lead you to believe that the
entire film is when in fact, it is anything but an over-exaggerated case of
silly theatrics setting up the first minute at best.

As a mother-daughter story, this was adorable. Kellie and
Kiernan had believable chemistry – even when mad at each other, they were hard
not to like, and adding Percy to the mix was just what both needed for
different reasons. (Their nighttime picnic was precious!) His gentlemanly manners
were hilarious in the world Zoe and Gwen lived in but are also a reminder – in a
loose sense, of the sort of guy we should want and his proper dialect was a
small concession to help keep up a pretense of the fairy-tale world. In the
scripting, nothing is brilliant but complements are in order to how well writer’s
handled the scenes between Percy and Zoe (some of which we may not have
realized how careful writer’s needed to be). Irrespective that the story pulls
from a lot of other material, there is something that I am unable to put my
finger on but delightful that Smooch retains
all its own. Staging isn’t always as it should be and the music sometimes plays
up the sappiness of the moment (like Percy climbing a staircase – or what
passes for one, to reach someone). All the acting was good and I thought the
two leads had a nice easy-going chemistry in their scenes but it’s Kiernan who
steals the show – even if it is by default. She’s adorable. From finding “Percy”
and hauling him straight to her bathtub (in a shopping cart, no less) to her
shoving him into a closet, fearing discovery, she carries her character very
well. If you like any modern fairy-tale (you could name any you want), chances
are in your favor that this will rank among them. Putting a spin on a classic
isn’t always easy but again, with its adorable ending and charismatic characters,
this one was simply enchanting.

(Parental concerns: There is a kiss or two. Twelve-year-olds
navigate school crushes. Zoe back talks to her mother on occasion. Out on the
town, Percy becomes drunk once while at a bar.)

8 Comments

  • Rosie

    December 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I haven't heard of this one! It sounds like a really cute flick. :)

    1. Rissi

      December 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Oh, you must see this one, Rosie. If you don't really like "sappy, love stories," then skip it but if you don't mind overlooking those flaws, Smooch is adorable! :)

  • Anita

    December 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    1. Rissi

      December 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Thank you, Anita. Stop by anytime. :)

  • his little lady

    December 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Oh, how fun! I've never heard of this show before, but it sounds darling! You always review so many different genre's, i love it!
    xo TJ

    1. Rissi

      January 1, 2013 at 12:21 am

      This film is ADORABLE, TJ! I was swept into the fairy-tale of it all… a bit too easily. :)

      Hope you enjoy if you see it. Thanks – as always – for taking the time to comment and read these reviews. It's much appreciated.

  • Little Lady

    January 2, 2013 at 12:31 am

    OK — I LOVED this movie! It is so cheesy and hilarious, but it's kinda a rare gem of a movie! Its sweet and romantic, a little bit of a fairy-tale, and all over a ton of fun! Yay for another great movie!

    1. Rissi

      January 2, 2013 at 4:39 am

      LOVED this one also, Micah. It was SO sweet that I couldn't help it. Plus, I'm a sucker for anything fairy-tale. ;D

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