23 May 2010 | ray-280
We Have A New Female Superstar
Perhaps the worst-kept secret in Hollywood at this point is the incredible talent that is Los Angeles native Francia Raisa, currently of The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. She reminds me of an unbeaten racehorse who keeps winning, even as it moves up in class. The more they give her to work with, and the brighter they shine the light upon her, the better she performs. She is developing so fast as an actress that a future Oscar is likely, once she gets a script worthy of that level of performance. Sadly, this film, like its predecessor (CE3), doesn't rise to that level, but she manages to make a good film out of mediocre film with yet another flawless performance. Raisa is back as Alex Delgado, with a new "pinwheel" cast designed to highlight her talents, much as in CE2, with Christy Romano. Her supporting cast is much stronger, with numerous actors likely to become household names as well, most notably Brendan Fehr, who has been bouncing around television, most notably the CSI franchise, for a while. His talents allowed Raisa to shine much more than Matt Lanter in CE3. The plot is standard by now: love-hate relationship between longshot pairs figure skaters complicates existing obstacles to glory. It worked so well in 1992 that ABC Family has taken to making three sequels, each with a slightly different angle. As I said in my review of the first film, surprise is not the goal here, but romance, although this film is a bit lacking in that department. By now, fans of this franchise have embraced its predictability, instead focusing on the cast, the acting, the plagiarism from the original(s), and how the story will once again be retold. This film could have done well even as a standalone, big-budget, feature film. Raisa is going to be out of challenges soon enough, and should wait patiently for the "role of a lifetime," the one that will let her show the less perceptive folks in the world know she's one of the best (and hottest) actresses of this generation. She is everything Jennifer Lopez wishes she were, but never became, and then some.