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A slice of life of a young, professional married couple with their darling baby turns a sharp, dark corner when the pair are arrested and charged with several counts of fraud. The reason: Terry and Samantha Succi aren't the man and woman that they purported to be... Terry and Samantha married under false pretenses, ignoring state law that discriminates against homosexual partners and prohibits them from receiving the same rights and benefits as their straight counterparts. Now the Governor, in an effort to protect his politically necessary anti-gay marriage bill, secretly arranges for a quick slap-on-the wrist plea offer that will ensure both a guilty plea and a fast end to the case. Terry and Samantha, though, decide to fight the fight and enlist the unlikely representation of self-absorbed, but respected attorney John DeMine. What ensues is a massive media covered courtroom battle, with equally divided views...and equally plotted acts of legal - and illegal - warfare. After a ... Written by
Kenneth Del Vecchio
Not your ordinary inspirational movie about people overcoming discrimination
In New Jersey, Terry and Samantha and their young son Mario look like an ordinary family. I knew this was a movie about a lesbian couple but Terry had five o'clock shadow, so he must be a man and the lesbians come along later, right? But he does have a really high voice.
Samantha is a law professor and really smart. We see how good she is with her class. We are told Terry is an architect but don't see Terry at work.
The way the couple talk when they are out walking the baby, they indicate they have a reason to think people don't accept them. Neighbor John is a lawyer but doesn't seem that nice. But his hot wife Christy is friendly and the couple invite them over.
Then one day cops show up and arrest the couple for deception. Terry pretended to be a man so the couple could marry and adopt.
The governor appears to be terminally ill. He wants the couple to plead guilty because he doesn't want to attract national attention.
At first, Rollie is the couple's lawyer. But they want John and he finally agrees. Samantha shows she really knows the law (of course she does, but she doesn't have books with her) as the couple learn what they have to do. They are told to plead guilty, which will get them seven years. Now who would do that? But finally, they get a deal involving no jail time and a small fine, and not even probation. Samantha agrees. After all, they did lie; charges could be dropped or a jury could find that because they couldn't legally marry, they had to lie in order to do what they wanted.
Okay, done! 40 minutes (including commercials) into a 2-hour movie. Something else has to happen, right? Of course it does.
When they make their court appearance, Lori Belmont is the prosecutor, and she is also handling the case of Dixie Backus. More about him later. Judge Nicholas Frier is the judge in both cases as well. Lori is overly enthusiastic about making sure the women get punished. And I think we all know what will happen.
But this isn't some warm and fuzzy inspirational Lifetime movie. There are threats, protests, and a very violent video starring Charles Durning as a man in a white suit. Where he is THE man in the white suit that people are afraid of, we don't know.
To say the governor is not pleased is an understatement. Meanwhile, among those protesting this attack on our values is Backus, who appears to be a rich man who gets what he wants, who has a swastika and a Confederate battle flag in his office.
Both Lori and John go overboard, taking actions in court that result in objections from the other side. Meanwhile, it turns out Christy has a brain. She investigates for her husband, and this results in a truly funny scene where she wears too much makeup and shows off her other ... assets. I mention the humor because sometimes the music suggests humor when I didn't see any. But there are occasional laughs.
There is plenty of controversy to be uncovered, and one more funny character who seems to be gay, but I don't know his name.
And things get really crazy before the end. You won't see this coming, because I don't know that any other movie like this has ended this way. But it is a satisfying ending.
Charles Durning gives his usual fine performance, and Costas Mandylor is quite good as his partner in the video. We're never quite sure what's going on, but I think the video is supposed to be promoting family values and opposing what the women are trying to promote.
Eric Etebari and Rachael Robbins both give really good performances as the lawyer and investigator who are married to each other. And so does Ed Kershen as the judge. I don't know who any of these people are, but they all do a good job.
I was also impressed by Charles Grady as the detective.
And Elissa Goldstein does a great job as the prettier of the two women who are married. She is really likable. I can't say the same for Candice Holdorf, who was trying to be the man, but she has her good moments, mostly later. She does emotional and passionate really well.
Is it worth seeing? It's certainly different, and while it's no masterpiece, this movie has a cause to promote and does that, even if it is heavy on the antiquated extremist values.
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