Expectations Met, but not Exceeded
I found this only mildly entertaining. It was good to see the three women together again, I like the actress’s rapport and their characters’ solid long-term supportive friendship, and Lacey Chabert’s wardrobe choices remain a constant source of fascination. I will be front and center for Autumn Reeser’s turn in the spotlight next week. Or at least my DVR will be.
Basically, the plot was a series of bumps in the road and challenges revolving around Lacey’s character discovering that she’s pregnant, and dealing with a new and antagonistic executive director who has complete creative control over the museum in which she devotedly works. And other unrelated stuff. It is an episodic plot rather than one having a focused beginning, middle, and end.
First, we have the dilemma of how and when she is going to break the happy baby news to her husband. Her perfect romantic setting and plans are upended a couple of times. Finally, she just bursts out with the news after a little fight and all is well.
We have her hormones acting up and some amusing scenes regarding forgetfulness, cravings, aversions, nausea, and heightened emotions. Lacey is great in these scenes.
We have the loneliness of her mother-in-law established. A suitable love interest presents himself when she holds the magical veil. But hold the phone. Peter, her son and Lacey’s husband disapproves and is suspicious. He is rude, so we have the resulting break-up. She tells her swain she is still in love with her dead husband and also the new relationship is making her son unhappy. So which is it?
Meanwhile, we have Peter, the son and husband in question struggling with his conflicted feelings. There is an awkward but, thanks to the actors, entertaining, first meeting at a restaurant.
We have a big home renovation money-pit sub-plot. Lacey and Peter have bought an old historic home with lots (and lots) of constantly emerging problems. They pop up throughout the movie. They did not generate too much concern though, because Peter and Lacey are fabulously wealthy and can well handle the expense. Thus, Peter’s frustration and distress over all the bad news the doom merchant contractor continues to bring is kind of boring and comes across as a little whiny. And why does a contractor care about Lacey’s color choice for her curtains anyway? Picky, I know, but it was just one of those “huh?” moments.
And Let’s not forget Peter’s tussles with the typically mean school board regarding the art program he heads. Several scenes about that.
And wait, there’s more. We have Lacey’s conflict with her “arrogant, opinionated” boss who wants to improve the suffering attendance at the museum by changing up the art. This includes getting rid of the first trilogy’s Amici portrait and the magical wedding veil it depicts. The drama of the conflict was blunted for me because I actually saw his point. In all of the scenes in the museum, I never saw one paying visitor. He was just doing his job. He thinks Lacey is a dilettante and overly emotional and invested in lace. In fairness, I couldn’t really blame him. Also I kind of liked the S.O.B. I was hoping that he would touch the veil, find love with Lucy the assistant, and turn into a good guy.
Throughout it all, we have Lacey on the phone or in person with her buddies venting, confiding, and getting advice and support. Alison Sweeney shone particularly in one of these scenes, turning insignificant dialogue into a genuinely touching half-a-minute.
All is resolved happily: Lacey’s professional challenges in particular by a scheme that dramatically bolsters the museum’s languishing attendance and saves the painting. It should have been enacted long before. I guess sometimes it takes a bad guy to get the good guys off their patooties.