Reviewed by: Lacey Mical (Callahan) Walker
|Featuring:||Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Aria Wallace, Chris Noth, Carson Kressley|
|Producer:||Marc Platt, Dawn Wolfrom, Susan Duff|
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
What’s wrong with being gay? Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid? Answer
What about gays needs to change? It may not be what you think! Answer
Holly is excited and nervous. As her friend coaxes her into a newly purchased scarlet evening gown, puzzled at Holly’s jitters, the teenager shares that this will be her first dance. Holly’s family has never lived in one place long enough for her to take part in school functions. From another room come the sounds of an argument, and a slammed door. Holly’s countenance wilts as she steps out of the dress and returns it to its hanger. She won’t be going to the dance after all. “Patsy’s back,” Holly explains, resigned, as a Cline tune floats morosely through the house, “we’ll be gone within the week.”
As predicted by her daughter, Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) packs up Holly (Hillary Duff) and her little sister Zoe (Aria Wallace) and the family of three leaves their Wichita home in a Brooklyn-bound car, continuing on a fruitless journey to fulfill Jean’s obsessive goal: to find the “perfect man.”
Holly and Zoe are tired of moving. They yearn to settle down somewhere and become part of a community without having to once again break all ties and follow their mother’s selfish whims. How can Jean’s search for romance be resolved? Holly has a plan…
With the help of her new-found Brooklyn native school chum, Holly endeavors to provide her mom with a secret admirer. Someone to fulfill Jean’s need for validation and who could not ever leave her or hurt her. Unfortunately, the only problem with this situation is that the man doesn’t exist. With input from her friend’s charming uncle, through notes and letters, flowers and phone calls, Holly has created for her mother an imaginary “perfect man.”
At first, Holly’s scheming seems to pay off. Jean is delighted with all the attention from the mysterious stranger who seems to know her so well, while Holly and Zoe enjoy settling into their new home with the hopes that, at last, they’ll stay put. Holly becomes increasingly distressed, though, as she faces the reality that their happiness is a time bomb.
What will happen when Jean makes the inevitable discovery that Mr. Perfect is just a fantasy? Or is he…
Neither Locklear nor Duff are known for being the most talented thesps, but they each give somewhat charming performances that help make more palatable a plot that is not at all believable, at times to the point of being ridiculous.
Were she given more screen time, young Aria Wallace who played little Zoe would have stolen the show from both the leading divas. This adorable seven year old had the audience rippling with laughter by mere facial expressions.
The flavor of this movie put me in mind of “A Cinderella Story,” thus I was not surprised to learn that it was directed and produced by the same people. Although the story lines of the two films are different, they have many similar elements. Fans of one will probably enjoy the other.
Morally, the film comes close to being squeaky clean. This easily could have been G-rated fare. Unfortunately, the few troublesome elements which were inserted are glaring, and this film is not for young kids.
The bartender at Ben’s upscale restaurant is played by Carson Kressly, who is one of the hosts of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Openly effeminate, the character makes constant references alluding boldly to his homosexuality, and there are two repugnant scenes of him flirting with construction workers. This character is not a large part in the film, but openly represents a sinful lifestyle to which many parents would not want their children exposed.
When Holly meets a new friend at school in Brooklyn, the girl makes reference to Holly’s “skin virginity,” showing off her own tattoos and piercings and flippantly stating that Brooklyn girls lose their skin virginity by the fifth grade. Later in the film, Holly mentions that she has considered getting a tattoo, on her lower back where one would only see it “if I wear my jeans low.”
In an effort to cause a ruckus, Holly’s friend goes outside her uncle’s restaurant and holds up a sign, wiggling her hips and shouting to the construction crew working across the street, “Hey, guys, free beer!”
Profanity is unusually sparse. One mild scatological term and two religious exclamations.
Jean and Holly each learn a lesson about being selfless. While initially the audience sympathizes with Holly’s character as she deals with her mother’s self-centered behavior, it is brought to light that Holly has begun patterning Jean’s way of not putting others first. In the end, both realize that they need to change.
Spiritually, this film, like most Hollywood productions, misses the mark. If only Jean were to discover that the One able to satisfy her emotional needs is the Lord Jesus Christ, who will “never leave thee nor forsake thee.” When we learn to let God be God, only then can we let people be people.
Although seasoned with a few touching mother-daughter moments, a little slapstick humor, and two or three instances of clever dialog, this film is flatly forgettable. It will play well with Hillary Duff’s ’tween fan base, and makes for a mildly entertaining “girls night out” show… if nothing else is playing.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
Year of Release—2005 / USA release date: June 17, 2005 (wide)