Ally Sims is a cynical, superficial, radio talk show hostess in Seattle who doesn't know the meaning of love despite the fact that she gives love advice over the airwaves, and has a loyal ...
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Paul A. Kaufman
Ally Sims is a cynical, superficial, radio talk show hostess in Seattle who doesn't know the meaning of love despite the fact that she gives love advice over the airwaves, and has a loyal fiancée, named Matt, who is tolerant of her busy lifestyle. Two days before her wedding, Ally is visited by the ghost of Jackie Marley who shows Ally her past life boyfriends of the past, present, and future if she continues to live this stressful and shallow life. Written by
Hasn't anyone ever thought of this for a movie before? I mean, making a version of "A Christmas Carol" but set against the backdrop of Valentine's Day with a look at the past, present, and future loves of a woman, who like Scrooge, is too caught up in material things to realize the importance of love.
Emma Caulfield is Ally Simms, a radio personality who gives advice on love & relationships. The years have coarsened her outlook on love and marriage to where her mantra is that only 5 things matter when choosing a man to marry. Money, looks, job/status, what kind of car he drives, and a fifth requirement which I forget. Love and compatibility do not figure in this list.
A few days before her wedding on Valentine's Day, Ally is visited by the ghost of Jackie, her former boss and radio personality who used to give advice on love and relationships. To earn the key to get into Heaven Jackie's mission is to show Ally - in a manner similar to the ghost in the Christmas Carol - the error of Ally's ways and cynical heart.
Jackie and Ally visit Valentine Days past to see how Ally's choices on that day led to breakups in her past engagements. They visit the present to show her more about her current boyfriend than she knew. The future where Ally learns her unpleasant fate and how her actions today will lead to unhappiness in a number of other people. But this is done in a funny way.
Now, if you don't care for the Christmas Carol, you probably won't care for this movie. While updated to present day Seattle, Washington, and starring women as the lead characters, this movie has the same structure and lessons as the Christmas Carol, though this movie is a comedy. This ghost doesn't come with rattling chains, she comes with dead flowers and a drink in her hand.
The movie worked for me. That is saying something as this is Valentine's week and I've watched more than my share of romance movies, and lots of bad ones. I didn't have high expectations for this TV movie, but I liked it.
The movie was well cast for the most part. I did have a quibble with her current boyfriend. I thought he was a nice guy, and the actor did fine in a limited role, but Ally looked to be in her mid 30s and he looked to be in his mid 20s. Nothing wrong with the older woman / younger man romance, but I think he made her look older than what she was suppose to be. I only noticed this about her when they has screen time together.
Otherwise I liked Emma Caulfield as Ally. The movie wisely cast a brunette for the role. This enabled her to be cold and hard in the beginning, but not so much so that the audience would not go with her on her journey. This allowed her to be rehabilitated and softened and likable by the movie's end. If the actress was a blonde or had dark hair the journey from cold and mean to nice and likable would be much more difficult to achieve. It also didn't hurt that Ally looked similar to the musician Sheryl Crow.
Emma Caulfield also was able to use her eyes to portray the good change in her character. I mention this because in a movie I saw recently I felt part of the reason why that actress failed is she needed to use her eyes to convey warmth and affection and I didn't see it.
The script moves along. It has some funny asides that are throwaway and won't hurt viewings years from now. For example, when Ally frets she may have a lesbian stalker she then quips when leaving that if anyone asks she will be watching "Ellen". One gets that quip today. 20 years from now, who knows?
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