Boy who is the total opposite of girl finds girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back in the end. This formula has been used as the basis for every romantic comedy and dramedy that has ever been crafted, going all the way back to Hollywood’s silver age. It has even been used for any number of romantic dramas, too with very little variance from its use in rom-coms and romantic dramedies. So if there is little to no variance in that formula from one movie to the next, one is left to wonder why anyone would even begin to give any romantic flick a chance? The only answer that this critic can possibly come up with is the story in which that formula is incorporated. In the case of Cinedigm’s new romantic drama In-Lawfully Yours the story that is connected to that formula makes the movie worth at least one watch. It is just one of the most notable of the elements that makes the movie worth the chance. The messages that are contained within the story are just as important to note as the story itself here. Last but not least of note in the movie’s presentation is its pacing. It rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements. It goes without saying that each element is important in its own way to the movie’s presentation. All things considered, In-Lawfully Yours proves to be a movie that despite being just as formulaic as any other romance flick past and present, it is still worth at least one watch by fans of said genre.
Cinedigm’s new romantic drama In-Lawfully Yours is nothing new to the realm of romance flicks. The formula that has been the center of every rom-com, romantic drama, and romantic dramedy throughout history is just as prevalent here as it has been in every other romance flick that has come before. Keeping that in mind, the one thing that sets the movie apart from its counterparts is its story. It is the most important of the movie’s elements. In the case of this religiously-based romantic drama the story is centered on two in-laws—Jesse and Ben (who are brother-in-law and sister-in-law)—who meet after Jesse (Chelsey Crisp—Fresh Off The Boat, The Joe Schmo Show, New Girl) files for divorce from her cheating husband Chaz (Philip Boyd—The Haves and Have Nots, The Young and the Restless, Saving Grace). Jesse ends up falling for Ben (Joe Williamson—Grey’s Anatomy, Looking, Mad Men). And as the formula goes, the two are polar opposites. In the case of this story, Ben is a minister and Jesse is not exactly the most devoted Christian. When Chaz finds out that the pair is falling for each other, he turns vindictive and tries to make the people of Bethel Cove hate her by convincing diner owner Daphe (Erin Muroski—Henry Danger, Burning Love) that Jesse cheated on him. She ends up spreading vicious rumors about Jesse, leading to the hate. Of course the story has a happy ending. Viewers can likely figure out what happens, again considering the oft-used formula for romantic flicks. Of course figuring that while Jesse an Ben are not directly related, the fact that they are brother-in-law and sister-in-law does kind of make things a little bit uncomfortable when one really thinks about it. The pair is only related through marriage to Naomi’s (Marilu Henner—Taxi, Evening Shade, L.A. Story) children—Ben married Naomi’s daughter and Jesse married Naomi’s son—the fact that two “family members” of sorts fall for each other is a little bit weird. That is at least the case to this critic. That aside, the story is still worth at least one watch since it is different from at least some of its counterparts. The movie’s story is just one of the movie’s elements that makes it worth at least one watch. The messages that are incorporated into the story are just as important to note in its presentation as the story itself.
The story at the center of In-Lawfully Yours is in itself reason enough for fans of romance flicks to see this movie at least once. That is because while it uses an all too familiar formula for its setup, the story that is crafted around that formula is not as familiar as that used in its counterparts. Keeping this in mind, the movie’s story is just one of the most important of the movie’s elements. The messages that are incorporated into the movie are just as important to note as its story. It should be noted here that Cinedigm partnered with independent Christian movie studio Regent Pictures for the movie’s creation. That is why the movie also boasts the messages in question. One of the most notable of those messages centers on the issue of churches becoming more exclusive and snobbish than inclusive and free-thinking. The message is sent through the use of Doris’ (Kate Sanford—A Year and Change, Beautifully Departed, Paranormal) constant meddling and attempts to control how Ben runs the church’s service. This is so important to note because sadly, there is a Doris in most churches out there today if not every church. This is someone who is completely stuck in her or her own ways and wants to control everyone and everything regardless of the long-term costs of their short-sighted actions. The other message presented within the story is that of welcoming open thought and discussion about religion and the bible in whole. It works directly with the previously noted message about churches needing to be more welcoming. Far too few churches and their members today encourage any kind of discussion on biblical interpretation other than what they want to hear. It is really a concerning issue when one really thinks about it and one that is certain to be a starting point in any church group’s discussions on church reform just as the message about churches’ openness is, too. Kate Sanford,
The messages that are incorporated into In-Lawfully Yours’ story are just the tip of the iceberg in discussing their importance. The manner in which they are presented is just as important to point out as the messages alone. Unlike the movies turned out by Sherwood Pictures (another religious-based film studio) Regent Studios opted to not be so preachy in presenting its religious messages. Rather it incorporated them surprisingly smoothly into the movie’s story. They are obvious in their presence. There is no denying that. At no point, though does their use leave viewers feel like they are being preached at. Considering that, it is a breath of fresh air in the realm of religiously-based movies and is still not the only important element to be examined in looking at the movie’s overall presentation. The movies pacing is just as important to note as its story and its messages.
The story at the center of In-Lawfully Yours and its associated messages are both clearly important pieces of the movie’s overall presentation. That is because they stand out both in their presentation and how they are presented. While both elements are clearly important in their own part to the movies presentation, they are not its only key elements. The movie’s pacing is just as important to note as the story and its associated messages. The movie’s run time comes in at just under an hour and a half. It clocks in at 86 minutes to be exact. Considering that relatively short time, there was a lot of story to tell. Somehow, the team of writer/director Robert Kirbyson and Sean Gaffney manages to make the most of that time, not moving too fast or too slow. The initial setup involving Ben and Jesse’s romance takes only the first twenty minutes or so of that nearly ninety-minute run time. In most romance flicks, the boy meets girl portion of the formula takes slightly longer. But in the case of this movie, even jumping into the first part of the formula so soon still manages to work. That’s even with a little bit of a plot hole involving why Ben was following Jesse in his truck. Since the setup takes so little time, that offers more time for story development and for the movie’s messages to be presented, eventually building to the shorter boy loses girl and gets her back segments of the formula. Keeping all of this in mind, the movie’s pacing over the course of its 86-minute run time is laudable in its own right. It is just stable enough that viewers are able to keep up with everything happening within each of the story’s segments. The result of that ability to follow the story leads the movie full circle. It leads to the appreciation of the fact that the movie’s story is a new take on a standard formula. It also leads to an appreciation for the religious messages presented within the story and the manner in which they are presented. All things considered, the elements noted here make In-Lawfully Yours a romantic flick that fans of the genre will appreciate just as much as the movie’s intended church-based audiences.
Regent Pictures’ and Cinedigm’s new romance flick In-Lawfully Yours is a work that both secular and non-secular audiences alike will appreciate and will agree is worth at least one watch. That is due in part to the movie’s story. The story takes a slightly new take on what is a standard formula of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back in the end. The religious-themed messages that are incorporated into the movie and the manner in which they are presented add even more reason for audiences to see the movie, even if only once. That is because both are the polar opposite of the approach used by Sherwood Pictures. The movie’s pacing rounds out its most important elements. Thanks to the movie’s pacing, audiences will have an easy time following the story and identifying its associated messages. In turn, audiences will agree that all three elements are equally important to In-Lawfully Yours. Altogether, they make In-Lawfully Yours a movie that, again, both secular and non-secular audiences alike will appreciate even with just one watch. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Cinedigm is available online now at:
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