A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie is presented as a light romantic comedy, but it deals with some important issues: children recovering from a parent's death and the combining of two one-parent families into a new household. Solutions to what can be major problems are resolved easily and bear little resemblance to the reality of those situations. In an attempt to be funny, many character types are portrayed as stupid, bumbling, and untalented. There are some comic pratfalls: A man falls into a pool, a baker wielding a rolling pin chases two dogs, and a distasteful woman is dragged by a dog on-leash. The word "butt" is heard a few times, and there's an occasional intended-to-be-humorous reference to dog pee or poop.
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What's the story?
In the picturesque world of Southern California wine country, two dogs initiate an autumn romance between their owners, both of whom are widowed and have young children. "City girl" Susan (Jennie Garth), an out-of-work art curator, and "small-town boy" Jake (Brad Rowe), a vineyard owner, fall in love quickly and attempt to unite her three boys and his two girls in time for a Christmas wedding. But their plans are interrupted when Susan gets a job offer from a famous New York museum and has to reevaluate her life's goals.
Is it any good?
If only helping children deal with the loss of a parent and uniting two families with dissimilar backgrounds were as easy as this lightweight romance tries to make it seem. But lame attempts at comically planning a wedding, talking dogs whose bearing and expression have no resemblance to the words they utter, and cheap laughs at the expense of a variety of stereotypical wedding planners, musicians, and an agent (Tom Arnold is the worst of the lot) take an already shallow premise and make it offensive.
That doesn't even take into account the lack of logic throughout the movie, the far-too-easy dismissal of a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, and finally the complete lack of suspense, since the film opens at the wedding, then flashes back. It's a harmless movie, but except for the visual beauty of its setting, it's a time-waster.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many different types of family that are successful and happy. What are some of the issues that a family like Susan's and Jake's might encounter? What kinds of challenges might their family face in real life?
Think of some other movies you've liked that have talking animals. What makes them funny? How do they comment on the world around them?
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