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I was fortunate to attend the premiere of Matchmaker Mary last night, September 17, at the Glenwood Fine Arts Theatre, 95th Metcalf, Overland Park, KS.
In attendance was the nationally acclaimed actress and former Kansas City, Kansas resident, Dee Wallace, and her co-stars, Kevin Brief, Jilanne Klaus, Jon Daugharthy, Cynthia Hyer and, in her first on-screen role, Katherine McNamara, local Lee's Summit resident, as Mary Carver. Also attending was writer and director Tom Whitus and other members of the cast and crew of Silver Hills Pictures.
The movie is set around the background of Wayside Waifs and their many features in helping and assisting individuals find animal pets that would otherwise be sent to the pound or eliminated. Mary Carver (Katherine McNamara) is a very energetic, enthusiastic and creative young lady who believes that simply placing two people together with the help of some trusty canine will eventually bring about a happy co-habitation.
However, little does she know that while working diligently to match up two friendly strangers she met by accident at Wayside Waifs, her own parents are undergoing some intense self evaluations about their own personal relationship. Mary organizes and engineers a masterful plan to endeavor to bring her parents back together again using Wayside Waifs and the cast of characters she has accumulated around her since her introduction into the land of the animal pets' kingdom.
The entire cast is very intense and completely devoted to their characterizations, however, the film lacks a big influx of "ah-HA!" that is needed to bring it all together and unfortunately, a few very obvious film bloopers and redundancies.
McNamara played charmingly as this young girl on the verge of womanhood and meddling into adult lives, but her thought processes are a little dim to the viewer in this particular film. Dee Wallace, of course, was fantastic in her role as Aunt Karen and really brought the film alive in her scenes as was Kevin Brief, Mary's emotional father.
The story does have a pleasant theme and background by emphasizing the connection between people's need for "unconditional love" and understanding as well as bridging the gap of internal conflicts. The undeniable "cause" of the film, of course, is to save animal lives by adopting them through organizations such as Wayside Waifs.
Even with several obvious issues and loopholes within the film's plot structure and filming, it is still rather endearing and pleasant to watch its naiveté from a child's point of view. It has a great pre-teen film style that is appealing.
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