Terror in the Art Department
I liked most of this one. The script was smart and the plot was multilayered without being all over the place. All of the actors did a nice job. Emma’s (Autumn Reeser) slowness to realize her professional life needed a reset got on my last nerve, but mostly it was very enjoyable, buoyed considerably by the charm of the secondary romance. The movie picks up a few months after the ending of Lacey Chabert part II, A.K.A. The Wedding Veil Expectations. Paolo and Emma are living in Chicago with Emma pursuing her career goal of being the director of the Art History Department at the University. Paolo is in the midst of opening the new Chicago location of his family’s lace business.
While her rigid taskmaster of a boss is preparing Emma to take her place as department head, Paolo is called back to Italy to deal with his father’s health crisis. Meanwhile, a cousin, Matteo, has left his home in Miami to live in Chicago and take over the day-to-day running of the new store. During the grand opening Matteo meets Lily, Emma’s assistant, and due to an almost accident, they both touch The Veil together and their fate is sealed. Carlo Marks as Matteo, and Kacey Rohl as Lily are both charming and appealing with Lily, in particular, having a quirky and well-rounded personality with a nice sense of humor. And a terrible haircut.
The main event, however, is the trouble Emma is having at work which is causing some hiccups in her and Paolo’s personal life and worrying her two best friends. The more she is groomed by her boss to take over the long-dreamed-of position, the more unhappy she becomes. Her very bossy boss insists she give up her teaching assignments, work longer hours (leaving less time with Paolo,) go to bureaucratic meetings, and stop posting her popular educational art videos. Emma complies unhappily with each new restriction. It is obvious to the viewer and everyone else except her that the post that has always been her professional goal is not a good match for her. When will the light dawn? When her tyrannical boss advises Autumn that she must give up her stylish wardrobe because it doesn’t reflect the image she must project, I thought that that surely must be the last straw. I mean, why would an ART professor have a wardrobe like a trial lawyer? But sure enough, she shows up at work the next day in a black “who died?” suit getting looks from all of her friends and colleagues. At this point, I was getting remote-throwing level frustrated with her not putting her foot down. Adding to the pressure, are Paolo’s increasing obligations in Italy. Long-distance relationships don’t work for Emma, and she is in a quandary.
All is resolved finally with an unanticipated (by me, anyway) twist, that puts a new light on Emma’s struggles and bumped my rating up a star. I liked that Paolo was loving, clear-eyed, and patient throughout all of the drama, but was not a doormat. I liked the lesson Emma learned at the end about building a happy life with your husband and working towards professional goals. But I wish she had learned it without being driven by force to the end of her rope.
Next week we have the last entry in this second trilogy. I am a little worried about that one because according to the previews it has Autumn and Lacey horning in on Alison Sweeney and Victor Webster’s delayed honeymoon. All I can say is that the reason for this intrusion better be good.