HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Where's the Love
HTS Overall Score:63
I will readily admit that I braced myself when I saw the tagline “as seen on UPLIFTING ENTERTAINMENT”, as that pretty much tells you what you’re getting into from the get go. Basically a story that will showcase two people trying to work through some struggle, and eventually overcoming that struggle in a way that will leave the audience wiping tears of happiness from their eyes at the end. I’m not a fan of bleak and brutal “real” endings for everything in sight, but when you paint the term “uplifting entertainment” on something you realize that the ending has already been laid out for you and that any suspense created during the film will be short lived and non-essential. Color me surprised when I actually had a rather pleasant time with the movie. Sure it’s full of the standard feel good tropes, but it’s airy and doesn’t take itself so seriously that it becomes a giant joke. The situation they presented is a rather real one in the world of professional advice and the ending isn’t completely meritless as I expected. “Where’s the Love” won’t win any academy awards, but it knows that it’s targeting that house mom type of demographic and aims to push all the right buttons.
Ryan (Denise Boutte) and Sebastian (Lemman Rucker) are both professional marriage therapists who happen to be married to the other AND carry on a very successful television show. They are basically America’s sweethearts. The couple who tells us all how to have strong and happy marriages and lead by example. The only problem is that Ryan and Sebastian aren’t exactly happy under that veneer. The same problems in life that plague us also plague them. Mainly in the form of an old marital infidelity and the lack of communication and trust that spells the end of many marriages. While this seems dour and detrimental when you hear about it, there is some hope at the end of the tunnel. The couple is working hard to try and salvage their marriage, even though there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope. Keeping the public out of the loop, the two continue on with their show and the release of their next bestselling self-help book in hopes that they can ignore the inevitable.
Finally Sebastian has enough and is ready to run his name through the mud in an effort to salvage their marriage. Only thing is an intrepid and snoopy reporter spills the beans in front of their book signing causing both people to fall back in shock and lean on the efforts of their PR people, effectively driving a wedge between the START of their reconciliation when both sides try to salvage their public image. Push comes to shove and soon enough they aren’t speaking and the wheels of fate seem to be against Ryan and Sebastian. Ryan drops the show and goes on to start her own show, one that will deal with relationship advice AFTER a divorce or breakup, while Sebastian writes a bestselling novel about recovering from making stupid decisions. Unfortunately this doesn’t solve the underlying issues of trust and communication that destroyed their relationship in the first place and both parties are miserable with the results. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT, fear not readers, this is one of those movies that is guaranteed a happy ending and you bet that both people will find their way back in the end. I’m just not going to spoil HOW.
“Where’s the Love” isn’t an inventive movie, but I was rather entertained by the short little movie that feels like it belongs on the Lifetime channel. The Sebastian and Ryan deal with some very real world problems that plague people in many walks of life, especially those in the self-help category. It’s interesting to notice that people who can recognize other people’s issues have blind spots to their very own. A very well-known therapist that I know personally said, and I quote, “The same people who are adept at finding problems, or assessing situations have a very real difficulty actually applying their own advice”. In the movie we see this play out with a pair of VERY successful marriage counselors who are struggling with applying the same advice that they dish out. It’s easy to see a problem, but many times it’s not so easy to actually do the work that will solve the problem. Ryan and Sebastian SEE where this is heading and they KNOW the technical steps they need to take, but emotions can run hotter than a cool head and people don’t always do what’s BEST for themselves when all they want is revenger, or all they see is disappointment. It’s cute, it’s fluffy, it’s cheesy, but it’s also true. There are plenty of ways this could have turned into an AMAZING movie, but that would have required a writing level above that of someone who’s just read a self-help book, as Sebastian and Ryan spout out little clichés (not matter how accurate) that you would read in an average book written by a counselor.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43978[/img]Coming from Alchemy Entertainment, “Where’s the Love” is a very solid looking 1.85:1 MPEG2 encoded transfer on DVD. The movie is very obviously shot digitally, as it looks clean and clear of any grain or filmic look. Colors are bright and saturated with plenty of fine detail. Even though the image looks very solid and the digital photography clean, there are a few issues with contrast as well as darker scenes giving the blacks a tad bit of a greyish hue to them. There was also some weird focus anomalies that showed up once or twice, where it looked like a filter wasn’t take off part of the camera. Look at the scene where Ryan announces the separation on her show (before she cuts her hair) as you can see one half of her flowing hair looks crystal clear, while a diffusion filter seems to be covering the other side. Overall it’s a very good transfer that plays well to DVDs strong suits.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43986[/img]There is a 5.1 Dolby digital track on board as well as a 2.0 stereo track for night listening, and both sound very good. The 5.1 track is really more of a 3.1 track though, as it’s naturally very front heavy and doesn’t give the surround speakers a whole lot to work with. There’s some moments of scenic ambiance coming through those rear speaker, but the heavy lifting is left to the dialog. Vocals are crisp and clean, with no issues there and there is even some mild LFE coming through the sub to add some weight to a few minor things.
“Where’s the Love’ isn’t a great movie, or even a really good movie, but it hits a target demographic and is entertaining enough to fill a void. The characters and scenarios are all taken from the “therapy” rule book and push all the right buttons to have people wiping their eyes by the end of the movie and feeling happiness at our protagonists for winning their battle. Not something that I would ever purchase, but certainly fit the bill for a decently entertaining rental. Audio and video are standard for a Standard Definition dram on DVD so it should make for a palatable rental.
Starring: Lammon Rucker, Denise Boutte, David Banner
Director: Trey Haley
Written By: Trey Haley
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 88 Minutes
DVD Release Date: April 21st, 2015
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