“You figure out a way to get rid of Captain Gorgeous and I’m going home.”
For Better or For Worse is the story of Wendy (Lisa Whelchel, The Facts of Life), a wedding planner who runs her business with the help of her best friend Roseanne (Kim Fields, The Facts of Life). Wendy is disheartened to say the least when divorce attorney Marco (Antonio Cupo, Bomb Girls) opens his practice next door to her own. As if that weren’t enough to worry about Marco and Wendy soon discover their lives are not only going to intersect at work but rather their personal lives will overlap as well. That discovery comes when Wendy’s son Collin (Edward Ruttle, Arctic Air) and Marco’s daughter Sophia (Alicia Vita Jones, Degrassi: The Next Generation) announce their sudden engagement after a whirlwind two-month courtship. Not only that but the kids also announce that they are both dropping out of law school in order to become organic farmers, the next logical step in their newly adopted vegan lifestyle.
Let’s go ahead and talk about what works for the film first. The acting quality is there. The camaraderie between Whelchel and Fields is definitely the high point and I suspect the reunion of these former co-stars will draw people to the film but there is a believable amount of chemistry between Whelchel and Cupo as well. Sadly, that’s it. Now we’re going to get into what didn’t work as well as it could have. The description of this movie is not what the movie itself is about. It’s billed as a romance between Wendy and Marco, but honestly the kids and their drama dominate the storyline, though Marco and Wendy are the ones who have to deal with most of it. That’s the main issue with For Better or For Worse. With a runtime of less than an hour and a half there’s just too much story here. Not only do we have the budding romance between Wendy and Marco we also must deal with their kids as well as the fact Wendy is already in another relationship. The film would have benefited from either a simplification of what is going on with the kids or additional runtime to help flush out everything satisfactorily.
The issues with the kids are dense enough to guide the movie on their own and that’s a big problem. It’s troublesome mainly because they are legitimate concerns. These two 22-year-olds have hidden their relationship from their parents and then not only announce they are dating but are engaged. Add in to that both kids are planning on dropping out of law school. I don’t know about you but that means a mountain of student loan debt which needs to be paid off sooner rather than later. They have at most a six-month grace period. Then they also want to become farmers. Despite no collateral with which to acquire a loan, no experience in the business of farming whatsoever, no actual plan they detail Colin and Sophia act as though their parents are being childish and selfish in their concerns. It’s unrealistic at best and offensive at worst to treat these concerns so lightly. Dealing with these concerns at all means less screen time devoted to building a believable relationship between Wendy and Marco which is where the movie should have focused.
I wish that was the only problem, but it’s not. Unfortunately the technical specifications specifically the visual element is lacking. The 1.78:1 transfer is almost out of focus, borderline pixelated. In fact there is a wide shot of Wendy walking down the street and all of the store signs are out of focus. It’s distracting enough to the point where I actually changed the aspect ratio on my television to a 1.33:1 which did nothing but further distort the picture as you can imagine. The smaller the screen the better in terms of a viewing. The other half of the technical specifications combo is fine. The audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and this isn’t a music-heavy film so there isn’t much heavy lifting to do at all therefore this level is more than serviceable. The only other thing I was missing was subtitles. I enjoy having the option of seeing what a character says if I happen to miss a word and it’s something that I guess I just take for granted but I would have liked to have seen it included here. There are no special features.
If you are interested in watching For Better or For Worse, I would definitely go to The Hallmark Channel’s page and watch the preview and make note of the next airing time. I think if you have an HDTV you should make a date with your TiVo or DVR to catch it and then decide if a purchase is right for you.