This movie was obviously a labor of love for director Scott Featherstone, and his cast of unheralded TV actors tries hard. But it's difficult for them to overcome some of the trite characterizations and situations. Shea Farrel (a regular on the old ABC series "Hotel") is saddled with the most cliched role: the father who feels too sorry for himself after a messy divorce to be a good parent to his teenage son (Joshua Keaton). John Putch (Jean Stapleton's son) as a underachieving bicycle mechanic, haunted by guilt over the death of a young river rafting guide years before, and Keven Rahm, as the Putch character's slacker nephew come off best in a big cast. Robert Curtis-Brown narrates this story of four former river rafting guides (Putch, Shea, and Dwier Brown play the other three) who keep a prearranged reunion years after their halcyon days as young men who bonded on the river. Each has a life crisis. Curtis-Brown is happily married, but his young daughter has MD. Dwier Brown, now a succssful attorney, is ambivalent about committing the young artistic woman he has brought along on the trip. The Shea and Putch characters have the problems cited above. I give Featherstone credit for not tying up all the loose ends, but his script and the talents of his actors are not always up to their more dramatic scenes or ambitions. The scenes of the four friends off by themselves at the end of each day (they have all brought people who are part of their current lives) are the best parts of the movie. In these scenes we can believe these guys are good friends who care deeply for each other. But there are nagging problems. It's hard to believe the decent, upstanding Curtis-Brown character would attend this reunion in light of what was happening with his family. And there are too many pat solutions and quick changes of heart for the film to be considerd "realistic." Though the movie is not "preachy," there are a couple of references to God and religion that made me suspect this movie was financed by a Christian group. But then there are issues like the the unmarried couple of the lawyer and the graphic artist that most conservative Christian groups would not condone, so perhaps I'm mistaken. Another thing that bothered me was the Hispanic character being given some of the worst dialogue for someone of his ethnicity since the last "Cisco Kid" episode was shot. He is a stereotype, despite being a mostly positive character. In sum, I credit Featherstone and his cast for their desire to make a interesting, dramatic family film. The whitewater scenes are quite impressive, and the river and surrounding scenery are beautiful. There are also a couple of tunes on the soundtrack by one of my favorite groups, The Subdudes, as well as one by Shawn Colvin.
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