Fig. 1: Sam Adams, A Bargain-Basement Eliza Doolittle, A Possessed Child, and an Angel for Your Entertainment
The characters are introduced to us through a thanksgiving montage. There’s Kathleen, a hardworking single mother celebrating Thanksgiving in a tiny, busy kitchen with her presumably hardworking neighbors. We know that Kathleen is moral because she dresses like one of those Mormon compound wives and will not shut up about buying a house for herself and her daughter Zoey. Kathleen is played by the leading lady from Touched by an Angel, and if that fact doesn’t make you profoundly worried about the quality of this movie I don’t know what will. There’s also Sam, an industrialist douche who spends his thanksgiving seducing rent-a-floozies in his dank cave of a bachelor’s mansion. Sam is played by Will from Will and Grace, and his haircut makes him look exactly like Sam Adams. I think I’d rather spend my holidays gettin’ drunk with the gay dude that invented beer then eating dried out turkey with the schmucks over in the other part of the montage, but then I never seem to get the moral of these films.
Their lives are brought within spitting distance when Sam’s game of squash (the quintessential sport of douches) with his wormy little assistant is interrupted by a phone call. A Mexican millionaire wants to buy his factory, putting all the workers out on the street! Will there be a moral about protectionism in here too? You know it! Anyway, the deal is almost on, but Sam needs a pretend wife and kid cause the Mexican dude is old school about his business partners like that.
Speaking of pretend families: you know who needs a daddy? Zoey needs a daddy. She is totally fucking whacked out, crying about her disappeared daddy and hearing bells ringing all the time. Actually, Zoey could probably use a really good child psychologist instead of a dad, but no dice. Her babysitter should be concerned about her constant psychotic breaks. Instead she tells Zoey that “When you hear music, and there isn’t any, an angel is there!” What!? Anyway, the babysitter also tells Zoey she will have a daddy again once the angels are pleased with her, which is SO CREEPY. Zoey is of course all about the angels bringing her a daddy, and has a continuing pleading dialogue with them that spooked me out for the rest of the film.
Zoey’s whacked-out-itude causes her to charge into Sam’s house while they’re doing a casting call for a fake family. Sam sees Zoey and Kathleen as the perfect solution to his incredibly stupid dilemma. Kathleen is skeptical, but Sam cajoles her into living at the house with her daughter long enough to fool El Guapore into signing a contract by giving her the downpayment for her stupid dream house. The next scene is the standard “frumpy to hot” makeover where the frazzled hausfrau becomes a knockout through judicious use of spackle and conditioner. Sam sees his new hot “wife” and falls instantly in love with her. I guess this was supposed to be enchanting, but I will never understand why we are supposed to be enchanted when a dude gets excited about a faux-frumpy leading lady showin’ some cleavage and gettin’ her hair did.
Mexican Uncle Moneybags shows up, and hallucinations of bells convince Zoey that he is an angel, and probably involved in the whole celestial father-withholding conspiracy! Her cute little delusions are justified when he goes on about what a cute couple Sam and Kathleen are, and inadvertently makes them sleep in the same room. The movie proceeds as you would expect it to from here: lots of fun mishaps that make Sam and Kathleen accidentally grope each other until they fall in love in a series of contrived events that would have embarrassed the writers of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
The notable thing about this movie isn’t the plot, which I refuse to describe in any more detail. It’s the weird daddy issues that permeate the whole thing. Again, Zoey’s frequent psychotic breaks are blamed on her missing dad, and she spends a lot of the film despising herself for his disappearance. “Maybe I’m just not lovable!”, she wails in a voice I would bet sounds like the one constantly howling in the back of a certain writer’s mind. Sam has similar episodes, revealing through a series of weeping fits that his father’s constant disapproval and anger is why he became the douche king of the Midwest. The resolution of the film contains a super-odd moment where Sam yells (yes, YELLS) about how much he loves Zoey, and how he will never let anything hurt her ever again, and how she is the best little girl in the world. The one kissing scene in this supposedly romantic movie is actually a big family hug with a peck on the cheek for mommy and daughter alike.
I don’t know about you, but if there is one thing I hate in this world it’s when a vague acquaintance dumps their issues on me. It’s pretty much like if you saw an old high school friend at the grocery store, and you spent a pleasant couple minutes catching up, then he revealed out of nowhere that he had cancer in his balls. The discomfort you would feel at that moment is very similar to the discomfort I felt when Sam was openly weeping about his dad not playing catch with him as a child. I feel like if someone would have just taken this movie fishing once in a while it would have been much less unsettling.
Do I have to tell you how the movie ends? Sam and Katherine fall in love, but she will not marry him if he sells the factory to Mexico. They accidently tip off the millionaire that they aren’t a real couple, he oddly doesn’t give a shit, Sam doesn’t sell the plant, they get married, and American jobs and families are saved forever. Also, they find some feathers in the Mexican guy’s bed, so he is totally an angel. Or maybe he had sex with one in exchange for the new daddy. Hooray!
This movie could not have been less awesome if it had featured a real-life genocide. All 2 points are for Sam’s fantastic beer baron haircut.
That Guy You Know: 8
I have to give this movie a decent score here because I actually recognized both the lead actors, albeit from terrible TV shows. Also, Sam’s wormy sidekick was Corny Collins in the original Hairspray! Yeah!
Woah, so Lifetimey! Single moms triumphing over all odds to melt a rich dude’s heart and secure a bright future for their crazy children. No evil male or police involvement, though, so a slight deduction is due.
Oh movie. If you had been a little more awesome, you could have broken 20. As is, it all adds up to another $3 beer for me! And 18 for you, shit movie. Goodnight!