A romantic comedy with hypnotic implications.
Can a person be hypnotized to fall in love?
Suzanne (Jenny Seagrove, Judge John Deed) is a widow who isn’t looking for a relationship. She’s got enough on her plate with raising two kids and running her late husband’s plant care business. Her friend Frank (Charles Dance, Game of Thrones) wants Suzanne to date him so he hypnotizes her, but she ends up following through on the hypnotic suggestions with Tony (Anthony Edwards, E.R.), a therapeutic sports psychologist who’s in the right place at the right time.
I’m going to spoil the hell out of this because I’m not recommending it and don’t think you should waste your time.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart begins in a promising way. Suzanne is sick of her friends trying to set her up and they’re equally sick of hearing about her dead husband and just want her to move on and be happy with someone else.
When Suzanne has a toothache she goes to her friend Frank the dentist, who has kind of a thing for her. But opportunity strikes after he’s struck out with Suzanne, who tells him she doesn’t want to go out with him. He takes the time to hypnotize her over a few visits so she can have multiple fillings done.
I have no less than three family members who practice dentistry so I can confirm that Hypnotism 101 is not a requirement to work in the field. But maybe it’s a strictly British thing. I’m sure there’s a joke about the stereotype of British teeth and needing to be hypnotized to have work done on them in there somewhere.
The manner in which he hypnotizes her is hilarious. He waves a stick with a sun catcher at the end of it in front of her for about two seconds. And when she’s hypnotized he tells her she’ll go out with him, because that’s what you do.
While on a job Suzanne meets Tony and they hit it off and she sees him again on her ‘date’ with Frank. Tony finds Suzanne’s missing wallet and when he returns it to her he meets her kids. Fourteen-year-old Ben (Ben Reynolds) is having trouble with athletics at school and Tony’s a therapeutic sports psychologist. So when Ben overhears his friends talking about how crappy he is he decides to contact Tony, whom he believes to be his mom’s good friend (courtesy of the hypnotism, mind you.) Tony agrees to coach Ben and thus we are ensured of Tony’s continuing presence in the film.
Meanwhile Frank learns his hypnotism has had the unintended side effect of bringing Tony into Suzanne’s life. When he complains to one of their friends about Tony and confesses his hypnotism of Suzanne it starts a chain reaction. All of Suzanne’s friends, save one, end up finding out about Frank’s hypnotism of Suzanne. They all think he’s been hypnotizing her to sleep with him, and none of them tell her. No, seriously…*none* of them tell her that they think she’s being raped by their mutual friend. It doesn’t matter this is not what’s happening; the point is with friends like these, well, you know the saying.
Suzanne finds out about being hypnotized to date Tony when she goes to one of the goofiest psychiatrists ever. Although I need to point out that’s not what happened, but she never really learns the truth: that Frank wanted her to go out with *him*, it had nothing to do with Tony. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart glosses over that and allows us to move on to the most ridiculous plot point in the film.
But before that Suzanne breaks it off with Tony, using the excuse of his possible job transfer to end things. She can’t tell him she’s been hypnotized because she’d run the risk of him telling her it’s idiotic to believe her feelings for him were merely a byproduct of hypnosis.
Back to the crazy plot point. Suzanne’s idea of getting back at Frank is to convince him to marry her and spend loads of money on her. There’s a 600 person wedding, a new car, a hefty engagement ring and a new house.
And why does Frank go along with this, you ask? Excellent question. It’s because Suzanne has confessed her (fake) feelings for him. But also that while she is so hot for him you wouldn’t believe it (and I do mean that literally) she promised her husband she would only give herself to the man she’d marry next. It makes no sense. I have no idea why this is included. Why Suzanne did not punch Frank, or better yet kick him in the balls, and call it a day I will never know.
But Frank eventually learns the truth and they confront each other and decide to remain friends. Because of course you would. There’s no trust there anymore but why let that pesky little fact stop you.
The worst thing is Don’t Go Breaking My Heart didn’t even need the hypnotism gimmick. Suzanne and Tony met before it occurred and the other subplots provided them with plenty of reasons to get together. This could have been a really cute little movie about knowing when it’s time to move on from the end of a relationship. It could have delved into the difficulty the kids had as well, both in accepting their dad’s death and Tony’s presence in their lives. But instead it’s a sketchy mess that left me shaking my head.
It ends almost exactly like you believe it’s going to with one notable exception. Tony has been training Ben to win the school race and he doesn’t. Apparently we’re supposed to be happy about it because he does help the school win the track meet overall by placing second. Other than that Suzanne declares her love for Tony, he for her, and they traipse off into the sunset, a happy family.
The video looked like a movie of the week. It was fairly washed out and the transfer had grain throughout. The audio was horrible. The movie is proud of its soundtrack but when a song was being played that was all you could hear. I’m all for montages, but when a song is playing and there’s dialogue occurring as well there should be a mix such that I can understand the dialogue. And then conversely there was a metal band concert scene and you couldn’t hear the singer. At all. It was ridiculous and incredibly noticeable. Yes this movie was made at the end of the last century but this DVD just came out. Dolby is supposed to mean quality.
The only extra is the trailer (2 min) for the movie.
The acting was fine. Anthony Edwards and Jenny Seagrove were convincing in their roles and seemed to have a genuine chemistry. Jane Leeves (Frasier) was great as Suzanne’s best friend Juliet. But the real stand out for me was Ace Ryan (Life Begins) who played Suzanne’s young daughter Natalie. Kids are always hit or miss as far as I’m concerned and she was a delight. I would have been happy to watch a film that revolved around her, her big brother Ben, Suzanne, and their struggles to redefine their family after the passing of their dad.
The idea that you could be hypnotized to do anything you wouldn’t consciously do is absurd and the fact Don’t Go Breaking My Heart plays it straight is what kills it for me. This is a study in lost potential.