HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: In-Lawfully Yours
HTS Overall Score:71
I have this spiel whenever I come across a faith based film. If you’ve read one of my reviews before you’re probably well versed in it, but I always say it with full disclosure. Personally I have a problem with faith based films, and it’s not because I have a problem with them or don’t like religion. It’s actually quite the opposite. As someone who believes very fervently in scripture and God I am usually VERY frustrated by movies that list themselves as “Christian” due to poor script writing, poor acting, and a propensity for films to beat you over the head with the message and lose sight of actually making a good MOVIE. Does that mean I don’t like a movie with religious message, not at all, but I firmly believe that if you’re going to do something, make it something GOOD. Now, with that out of the way I have to say that “In-Lawfully Yours” is NOT a train wreck like I expected. In fact it’s a fairly innocuous and sweet little romance story with a nice touch of faith that rises above the usual stilted dialog and beating over the head with the proverbial message. Sure there is discussion about God and the frustrations of running from him when in pain, but overall I was actually rather impressed. I’ve seen Lifetime and DTV movies that are wildly worse than this one, and in fact I actually kind of enjoyed it despite the simplicity of the clichéd romantic tale.
Nothing is worse than knowing your spouse is fooling around behind your back. It’s even worse when you walk into the room and CATCH your husband schnooking his young intern in a hotel room. Jesse (Chelsey Crisp) does exactly that, and promptly dumps her husband, Chaz (Philip Boyd) to the curb (and rightfully so I might add). The only problem is that Jessie is very close to her mother in law, Naomi (Marilu Henner), who is going through a struggle of her own with her husband in a coma. Chaz is trying to get her to move out of the house by the next two weeks, leaving Jesse to help Naomi with the packing so that she can move in with her son in New York, moving from their small town home of Bethel Cove.
While at Bethel Cove Jesse comes to realize that she has more in common with the small town than she realized. Going to the town church to appease her ex mother in law, Jesse runs into Pastor Ben (Joe Williamson), who is completely fascinated by Jessie’s oddball inquisitive nature and spunky spirit. Naturally a bit of a romance sparks between the two, but the church busybodies (If you’ve ever been in a small town church it’s NOT something that’s a myth. You’re bound to run across one or two who just LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE to “inform” the pastor what his sermons should be about, and throw their weight around behind a persona of “love”) have a bit to say about their pastor dilly dallying with the young unbeliever. Throw in a sub plot about Chaz never signing the divorce papers, a church argument over who is in the wrong, and of course a secret plot by Chaz and the real reason behind him trying to sell his family home and have Naomi come live with him.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79986[/img]I didn’t expect great things from “In-Lawfully Yours” (in fact I was actually wincing when thinking of watching it), but I ended up rather enjoying the movie. I make no bones about the fact that this isn’t high art, or a great movie, but if you’re in the mood for something a little sweet and family friendly without expecting a whole lot you might come out of the viewing a bit surprised. The relationship between Jessie and Ben is sweet and rather endearing (despite being totally predictable, but these types of family friendly romances usually are). There is a decent chunk of spiritual things going on in the movie, but it never seems over bearing or heavy handed. I do have a minor quibble about the whole “unequally yoked” verse, but we all know how Jesse’s search for faith would turn out, even if my analytical mind was going “I’m not sure Ben would have done that” a few times.
Acting wise the film actually covered its bases. It helps that the movie wasn’t staffed with just church member volunteers like some of them are, and some decent enough actors are hired. Chelsey Crisp and Marilou Henner are easily the best out of the group, especially with Chelsey playing Jesse as a very high spirited and inquisitive person. I really liked that they made her a seeker (so to speak) and she was actively engaging her mind the entire movie. I’ve known quite a few people like that in real life at my church, and they’re always a job to interact with and Chelsey made that experience real on camera. There were some flukes, such as Philip Boyd and a few of the church audience members, but overall I was very pleasantly surprised.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79994[/img]“In-Lawfully Yours” is pretty much the budget of your average Lifetime movie, and really looks like one at times. There is plenty of glossy overtones and warm colors that give the town of Bethel Cove a nice homey look. The film is a little on the soft side, with some smoothness (that seems to be intentional) around the faces. Fine detail is still rather good though, especially when you’re look at the nature around the town, such as the water that’s on the town edge, or the times when Jesse goes back to New York and you watch her going over the bridge and the whole city is laid out underneath the camera. Blacks are decent, although they do look a bit washed out at times from the overly warm look. Skin tones are rather natural looking, and even the artifacting is kept to a bare minimum.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80002[/img]The audio mix is exactly what I expected for the low budget film. It’s extremely front heavy, with some mild use of the surrounds here and there, but mainly just a 3.1 track in reality. The audio is the main focus of the drama/romance film, and that is done with a simple ease that is well done. Vocals are crisp and clear, and I have no complaints there, but the surrounds are relegated to church members talking in the background as well as a few sounds of cars on the roadways acting as background noise. Otherwise the score is really the only thing to light up those rear channels. LFE is soft, but still present, making itself known with the score and a few slamming doors (and of course the fist fight in the café), but never really a main character in the movie. It doesn't do a whole lot and require a whole lot of a 5.1 system, but everything it does, it does well.
• Deleted Scenes
• Behind the Scenes - 12 Part Series on making a movie with Regent university
“In-Lawfully Yours” is one of those movies I’m almost embarrassed to say I like. It was cute and fluffy and ENTIRELY predictable, but it was good harmless fun for the more conservative family who wants something light and harmless to watch for the evening. I won’t say that I’m going to be watching it above “Iron Man” or “The Winter Solider”, but I don’t regret watching it at all and I guarantee you my wife will be dragging this copy into the player for a weekend watch knowing her tastes. Audio and video are fine for a DTV movie, but the extras are a tad slim. Decent rental
Starring: Chelsey Crisp, Lisa Renz, Leticia Rivera
Directed By: Robert Kirbyson
Written By: Robert Kirbyson, Sean Gaffney
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 85 Minutes
DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Buy In-Lawfully Yours on DVD at Amazon
Recommendation: Decent Family Rental
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