BEFORE I WAS INTRODUCED TO ONE of my new co-workers, I was told her husband was something like 20 years older than her. It was the oddest thing to hear as part of an introduction to meeting someone. It was my first week at a new job and an employee in my department was taking me around the company to introduce me. As we were walking into another office, she said the name of the first person I would meet, then mentioned the thing about the age difference. The woman with the older husband was friendly as she explained what she did and how her department would be working with mine. After meeting her, I was directed towards several other employees before going back to my desk. However, that comment about the older husband still lingered in my mind. I wanted to ask my co-worker why she thought to tell me about the age difference between that woman and her husband, but I did not know how to approach it. Back at my office, I settled down at my desk and before my “tour guide” left me, I suddenly had a thought. I asked her if the older husband of the employee she introduced me to was ill. She said no and asked me why I was asking. I explained that because she mentioned the age, I was assuming something was wrong with him. She said not at all; she just thought it was bizarre that the employee would marry someone so much older than herself. That was all I needed to hear, and I decided to drop any further conversation about the married couple. LISTENING TO MY CO-WORKER SAY SUCH a thing, told me she had pre-conceived notions about love. In her mind, love was only meant for two people who were close in age. I would have liked to ask her what the cutoff age was to love and marry another person. In addition, their age difference was none of her business. I wondered what she would have thought if I told her I used to be with someone who was 14 years younger than me. As far as I was concerned love has no age restriction. Putting one’s perceptions or beliefs onto another person makes me uncomfortable. I think it is a major achievement when a person can connect with someone and get to a place where they love them unconditionally. What does it matter to someone else if there is a difference in age, race, gender or religion between two people? I like to confront such a person and ask them who decided what were the requirements to love someone. In my opinion, love comes in many forms which is why I so enjoyed watching this dramatic comedy. AFTER DECIDING HE WANTED A CHILD, a software developer searches for the perfect surrogate to carry his child, but what exactly is perfect? With Patti Harrison (A Simple Plan, Shrill-TV) as Anna, Ed Helms (Father Figures, Love the Coopers) as Matt, Rosalind Chao (The Joy Luck Club, The Laundromat) as Dr. Andrews, Timm Sharp (Friends with Money, Fun with Dick and Jane) as Jacob and Nora Dunn (Southland Tales, Three Kings) as Adele; I thought the story offered a charming discussion about relationships. Patti and Ed had an interesting bond on screen that accentuated their acting skills. The script posed some interesting questions which I thought the two of them handled in an authentic way, even down to non-verbal cues. There were a few scenes that seemed to have been created to manipulate the viewer’s emotions, but it was a minor distraction for me. I simply enjoyed the story telling aspect of the movie; it was comfortable to sit and watch the story unfold without any additional bells and whistles placed into the script. I may not have loved this film enough to give it my top rating; but I sure was quite enamored with it.
3 ¼ stars
I have to be honest; I was enjoying the attention given to me. It started out with short voice messages being left on my phone. Nothing major just things like wishing me a good day or they wanted me to know they were thinking about me. From there as our relationship progressed I would be surprised from time to time with a “care” package left at my front door. It could be a box of chocolate chip cookies or an envelope filled with coupons from the Sunday newspapers. I found these left items endearing and sweet. For it being early in our relationship I was actually surprised with so much attention. To me their actions showed confidence, desire and on some level their willingness to take a risk. More of my past relationships had more tentativeness to them, where the two of us took our time to learn and reveal more about each other; so this particular relationship took me a little by surprise at first. Later on it took me by shock. You see while the two of us were becoming more intimate with each other, they were also dating someone else. It turns out they had met me a couple of weeks after this other guy they had been seeing, so decided to continue both relationships and see who would be the winner. I had no idea I was in a competition; for if I had, I would have ended it. Granted my odds were 50/50 but it would have been hard for me to let the walls protecting my heart come down in a situation like this one. I am only competitive with myself unlike the gentlemen in this romantic comedy. TURNING another year older Bridget, played by Renee Zellweger (Cinderella Man, Chicago), decided it was time to make some changes in her life. She just had not planned on making such a drastic change like the one that took place. With Patrick Dempsey (Made of Honor, Enchanted) as Jack, Colin Firth (Magic in the Moonlight, The King’s Speech) as Mark and Gemma Jones (Sense and Sensibility, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) as Mum; the acting was well done. If I saw the previous Bridget Jones movies I do not have a memory of them so I will judge this sequel on its own. The story was fun with a script that offered a variety of physical comedy. I will say it took some time before I started to get into this film; the beginning did not grab me right away with the slow pacing. Maybe if I was more familiar with the Bridget character I would have felt differently. However once Patrick and Colin were in the story, I enjoyed the banter and the pacing picked up. There was a sense of the writers trying hard to make this sequel funny because I was starting to feel Bridget was turning into a cartoon character with all the incidents taking place. Overall I think those viewers familiar with Bridget will enjoy this film more than those who are just being introduced to the character. Maybe I should see the 2 previous films to make a comparison.
2 ¾ stars
It used to be one would peruse the sale advertisements, see something they like/want/need, go to the store and buy it. You knew what you were getting; the item purchased matched the ad. Then something changed in the sale papers, instead of mentioning the name brand the verbiage stated, “…assorted brands from top manufacturers.” The pictures in the advertisements were shot in such a way that you could not make out the name on the product. Okay I get that, the retail store wants you to come in, hoping you buy the product; but if you do not, then they hope you will find something else while you are in their store. In a similar vein with the move to selling on the internet, I have heard a variety of stories about people buying something that was not exactly what was represented on the web site. Just a couple of weeks ago I was with some friends who had recently returned from a vacation. They decided to try the site that offers stays at people’s houses instead of motels/hotels. They even showed me the place and I have to say it looked charming. However, when they arrived at the home the lawn was strewn with a variety of things from shovels (I know, I thought the same thing—graves) to a broken bicycle. The owner answered the door in a dirty, torn T-shirt. He showed them the room and bathroom and let me just say it was not modern, nor was it sparkling clean if you know what I mean. To finish this story, they stayed only 1 night then moved to a hotel. The moral of the story is, “looks can be deceiving.” DESPARATE to start a family John and Laura Taylor, played by Morris Chestnut (The Call, The Best Man Holiday) and Regina Hall (Law Abiding Citizen, Think Like a Man), had been looking for the perfect surrogate mother. Down to their last frozen egg they were sure they found the right one when they saw Anna Walsh, played by Jaz Sinclair (Paper Towns). Also starring Theo Rossi (Bad Hurt, Sons of Anarchy-TV) as Mike Mitchell, this dramatic horror mystery started out okay. I was familiar with Morris and Regina seeing them from previous films, but what attracted my attention more was their characters’ house. The movie started out fine and used the hook of motherhood to grab the viewers. Sadly things went south very quickly. The story was beyond generic, having been done numerous times before. I pretty much found most things so predictable that I was constantly bored. There may have been a couple of scenes that had the hint of a surprise but they were few and far between. Even some of the spoken lines were cheesy and clichéd. I am sure the actors tried their best but there was very little effort given to the script to give the actors something to work with beyond the obvious. In fact, the best part or should I say parts of this film was the trailer. Watch the trailer and you have seen the movie; watch the trailer and movie and you will understand why looks can be deceiving.
1 ¾ stars
That story about the stork delivering new born babies was something I never believed to be true. Even before I was taught the facts of life, I thought the idea of birds flying over houses and dropping babies down was weird. There were other stories I heard that seemed more plausible; for example, when the baby is ready it will come out of the belly button or the one about the soon to be parents choosing the day they want to go to the doctor’s office to have their child extracted from the woman’s body just like one would get their tooth pulled. Once I understood the real way babies were born there still was nothing mentioned about possible pain or discomfort being experienced during the pregnancy. Everything told to me was kept on a sweet and rosy level. As I got older I started to become better aware about the reality of the birthing process. The biggest shock for me was discovering not every woman had a storybook pregnancy. I remember hearing about a woman who was confined to her bed for over half of her pregnancy due to her body wanting to reject the fetus. In fact the first time I became aware of the term stillborn was when a friend’s aunt had one. It was an awful time where she was depressed for several months. When you think about all the scary things that could go wrong with having a baby, the process of bringing a healthy child into the world is an amazing feat. FINDING out they were both pregnant close to the same time; inner city high school teacher Samantha Abbott and her student Jasmine, played by Cobie Smulders (The Avengers franchise, How I Met Your Mother-TV) and Gail Bean (At Mamu’s Feet), formed a special bond as they started their journey through unfamiliar territory. This film festival nominated comedic drama had in my opinion a real and honest dialog about the fears and joys of having a baby. Though the script did not delve down very deep, the acting by Cobie and Gail was totally believable to me. Along with Anders Holm (The Interview, Neighbors) as John and Elizabeth McGovern (Once Upon a Time in America, Ordinary People) as Carolyn, I thoroughly enjoyed the cast and felt they really pushed this script to full advantage. Even though I thought there was a part of the story that could have used more exposure, I found myself experiencing a similar reaction to the one the characters were sharing in the scene. This was only another sign of how good the performance was from the actors. In a way one could say creating a movie shares some similarities to having a baby; the people behind this film should feel proud of what they created here.
2 3/4 stars