We Are the Hartmans (DVD)

“Join the fight to save the last small town rock club!”

Mr. Hartman (Richard Chamberlain, Shogun) runs the only bar in town. He and the bar are equally beloved by the townspeople, but his family is another story. Oldest sister Diana (Jennifer Restivo) is a Manhattan lawyer too busy with career and bratty younger sister Pam (Audrey Sawaya) to worry about her father or his club. That is, until dear old dad collapses. Then Hartman’s daughters swoop into town (after a ten year absence) and decide to up and sell the club.

That’s when they meet the resistance, led by ex-Marine Jordan (Ben Curtis), former teen mom Layla (Brie Eley), and Morgan (Joy Suprano) whose claim to fame is that she’s the ex-girlfriend of Baxter (Jonah Spear), resident local boy turned rock star. The trio rallies the locals to put on a benefit concert in order to buy the bar from the Hartman siblings.

We Are the Hartmans may be a straightforward tale, but it’s littered with stereotypes. Aside from Chamberlain’s Hartman, the cast of characters reads (and performs) like a Film Studies 101 class. There’s the redneck, drag queens, the lawyer, and the hippies, none of which transcend their respective roles. What could have been a quirky, charming, fast-paced film about the definition of family, is nothing more than a paint-by-numbers exercise. There is no subtext to explore and we know how it will end from the beginning. And I had such high hopes for this one.

Presented in standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, there are no technical problems with the transfer though a flat palette doesn’t help. I was surprised by the Dolby 2.0 Stereo track, in that this is a well-balanced music-heavy film that avoids suffering from any of the issues a lower level Dolby mix can betray. The ADR and music cues never echoed or sounded like they were in their own space. Bonus features include a music video, trailer, and a short film from director Laura Newman that provides a brief glimpse into the Occupy Wall Street movement, specifically the eviction of the protestors in Zuccotti Park.

Richard Chamberlain exists in a different movie from the rest of the cast. As such, We Are the Hartmans is less of a gem and more a lump of coal that never becomes the diamond it could have been. Go ahead and give it a (puff, puff) pass.

THE VERDICT

Guilty of losing sight of what could have been.

70
Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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