A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that In-Lawfully Yours is a comedy-romance that uses a light touch as it focuses on falling in love, grief, and one woman's religious awakening. The very lovable and unpredictable heroine, a spiritual novice, recovers from a painful divorce as she attempts to support and care for her ex-husband's newly widowed mom in a small town with a church at its center. A husband's infidelity (he's caught in the act in a hotel room) sets the story in motion; except for that, the movie is wholesome throughout. Comic action includes two men scuffling in a diner and a few harmless falls. Christian messages about faith, selflessness, solace, and honesty are gently integrated.
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What's the story?
Though her ex-husband Chaz (Philip Boyd) is a scoundrel, Jesse (Chelsey Crisp) truly loves his mom, Naomi (Marilu Henner), in IN-LAWFULLY YOURS. So when Naomi's beloved husband dies, Jesse leaves New York City, committing herself to helping the older woman through the difficult time even if that means staying in small-town Virginia. It doesn't help when a life-changing move to NYC for Naomi is imminent, set up by the scoundrel himself. As the two women pack up the house, both saying good-bye to their pasts, Jesse finds herself drawn to the community, especially Naomi's church and its young, widowed pastor. Ben (Joe Williamson), still adjusting to his loss though years have passed, is a strong presence for both of them. Complications ensue when Chaz, with highly questionable motives, arrives to hurry things along.
Is it any good?
Strong performances and a comic but gently heartfelt approach to delivering Christian values set this romance apart from often ponderous faith-based films. Chelsey Crisp brings warmth, humor, and honesty to Jesse in In-Lawfully Yours, despite the fact that she portrays an amazingly naive character who knows nothing about spirituality of any kind. That performance, along with the likable Joe Williamson as Ben, distracts from some very silly characters and plotting (the perpetually busybody church ladies and Jesse's constant interruptions during Ben's sermons) to make this an entertaining and engaging story. It's wholesome and fun, appropriate for romance lovers, tweens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the humor in In-Lawfully Yours, which is based on character rather than situation. What is the difference between the two types of comedy?
What does the character of Chaz symbolize? What values does he represent? How do those values contrast with the way Ben chooses to live?
To serve their narratives, storytellers often portray small towns as ideal and big cities as loud and corrupt, because it's an easy way to set up conflicting values. In the real world, is that the case? Why, or why not?
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