8 May 2001 | HenryHextonEsq
Inoffensive fare... doesn't mean it's good.
This effort is routinely - if not garishly, more's the pity - formulaic in its plot, situation and characters. It is certainly bland and bears the standard airbrushed feel-goodery of the bland-B-Picture, the TV-Movie. It is only really worth a few marks for a *relatively* fair script, performances with just a pinch of life, and it is slightly less annoying than the worst of its kind, or indeed many of the more successful U.S. 'blockbuster' pictures of today. I felt it could maybe have been a bit more economical and kept the running time down below 80 minutes; after all, do I really want to watch this general sort of insipidity for half an hour, let alone 90-120 minutes...!? And, obviously, I would rather the scriptwriters had thrown their weight behind a few more quirks or added even any emotional depth.
Acting is far from awful, a la "Showgirls" or "Starship Troopers"; it is merely competent if bland, much like a middling TV soap. The main character Sydney Clarke is played by Sela Ward, who just about manages to carry this TVM; she is an inept actress who simply undergoes a change of pace in her life for a while. Yes... this is scintallating stuff, I mark ye! ;) Ward does play her character with some charm, making her likable and wispy, even if she fits resolutely into the ultimately saccharine world of the film. Ward, an older actress at 43 when she played this 36-year-old uses perhaps that extra experience to treat the whole thing on occasion with a dry levity - the scene where Sydney ineptly renders a Shakespeare soliloquy is admittedly fun, after a fashion.
To be frank, as a picture, this is quite forgettable, but certainly not due too much criticism; 'tis after all, small-fry, though unfortunately these things do get quite regular showings on UK TV - Channel 5 most likely, but not just - during the afternoon. This is explicitly not a film - or TVM - to go out of one's way for, or indeed stay in for. It isn't even quite worth a sole viewing on TV, despite the dainty turn of Sela Ward, who is just about the only performer to show signs of jocund life. Who, indeed, wants to fully take this whole story seriously, who is not part of its U.S. TV target-audience? No... I thought I didn't see any hands up at the back, ladies, fellers, felons... ;)