Fodder for the Masses.

This is less of a film and more of movie, but less of a movie and more of a product. This is the type of movie, that by design, seems to have been made with the sole purpose of making a profit.

Well, not entirely true, it’s not a blockbuster ripoff headed strait for SyFy about aliens and battleships or battles between giant sharks and enormous crocodiles.  It is much better than that and it does make a very strong effort at being entertaining … but just entertaining enough that is.

It features enough familiar faces to engage a prospective viewer with curiosity and to keep their attention. The story revolves around Dylan (Jamie-Lynn Sigler of Sopranos fame) and Mike (Jonathan Bennett) who fall in love in college. After a few years of marriage they fall into an unhappy pit, Dylan transitions to a mostly unlikeable person, and Mike crosses paths with an old flame with high school, Alex (Nadia Bjorlin). From there, the relatively tame zaniness ensues as Mike tries to figure a way out of his marriage and the ironclad prenuptial agreement.

Mike never seems to make an attempt to or even want to work out his relationship with Dylan, but instead seems more like he quickly wants to get out because of his renewed infatuation with Alex. In fact, after finding Alex, his choices pretty much solidify the decimation of his marriage to Dylan (whose transformation to unlikeable doesn’t really take place until after Mike informs her of his fledgling relationship with Alex), realistically making Mike the even more unlikeable on principles alone. Yes, there are twists and turns that change our outlooks on the various characters, but really they both become unlikeable and, at times, are nearly unwatchable.

It does feature some fun scenes and likable moments.  One of the highlights has Paul Sorvino (interviewed by Influx here) as a Rabi Daniel Miller in a role that is energetic and comical but does feel a little forced by Sorvino. Rabi Miller takes on the role of aiding Mike with his conversion to the Jewish faith with a late-in-life brisk. The brisk is a ceremonial event attended by many, including Dylan’s parents.

Elliott Gould and Lainie Kazan are engaging as Dylan’s parents, and the almost always entertaining Richard Kind has a brief but amusing bit part.

There is a strange and awkward use of flashback sequences where the primary characters are played by different actors. However, the time frame is fairly minimal, and would have been far more effective to keep the primary actors in place and simply ‘playing younger.’ The use of these sequences felt as though the budget for the lead actors was probably fulfilled and this was the producer’s answer to telling the story without having to pay the bigger name actors.  Maybe, maybe not.

This product is slick and made well enough to probably find success (in terms of profit) through VOD and maybe cable.  But, it’s just that, a product. It has a few laughs, plenty of familiar faces, a formulaic story, a girl in a bikini, and it makes an attempt to stretch across as many demographics as possible, especially those longing for a lost forgotten love.

It is flawed, and at times, seems to miss some opportunities at comedy, but ultimately it strives to be a story of conflict, resolution and redemption. Much like the main character, Mike, the story to is convoluted and often unsure where it wants to go or how to get there. Without spoiling anything for prospective viewers, the conclusion, however, is ultimately more satisfying than the journey, and even a bit surprising for an otherwise predictable movie.

Grade: C+

Review by Gordon Shelly, special to Influx Magazine