Friday, March 17, 2017

To Love, Honor and Deceive (1996)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

WARNING:  I’m going to pretty much give away everything.  If you’ve never seen this movie and have any interest in doing so, now would be a good time to do so.  If you want to know why you should skip it, then please read on.

I’ve often wondered why people would star in a made-for-TV movie.  Some are good, but many tend to fall flat.  I don’t know if the scripts aren’t good enough to make it to the big screen or if the people involved just don’t care.  To Love, Honor and Deceive is the perfect example of this

The movie starts with a happy family doing things that a happy family does.  Sydney is a mother thinking about going back to work, but really likes being there for her son, Adam.  Husband and Father Matthew works in the import/export business.  Matthew can’t spend that much time with Adam because he has to be in other countries for long spans of time.

Matthew decides to take Adam out on the boat, which seems innocent enough.  Problem is that, because of a bad storm, Matthew and Adam don’t make it back.  Police find the boat and enough stuff floating around that Matthew and Adam are presumed dead.

Sydney doesn’t buy it.  At first, it seems like she’s just grieving and can’t accept the loss of her family.  The FBI tells her to drop it.  Things get suspicious when she goes to visit Matthew’s parents.  She finds that they don’t exist, nor has anyone ever heard of Matthew.  (I find it odd that she never got suspicious when they weren’t at their own son’s wedding, nor did they have any contact with their soon-to-be-5-year-old grandson.)

After a little digging, she comes to realize that her husband had led another life and had essentially done the same thing to another woman.  Sydney pretty much writes off her husband, but wants her son back.  The FBI still denies everything.  No one will give her any information.  So, she sets off to find her son and eventually does.

There are a lot of questions that I have.  First, as I mentioned, it seems odd to me that she never met her in-laws.  From the sound of it, she never even got a phone call from them.  Since her son is turning 5, we can assume that they’ve been married at least that long.  They were probably dating for a while before that.  I would think that if you were going to marry someone, or at least have that kind of intent, you’d be better off saying that your parents had died.

Also, why is it that the FBI is always made out to be the bad guys?  They’re always the one withholding information and telling the local police what to do.  I always imagine some FBI agent sitting at home watching movies like this and yelling at the TV, “Oh, we’re not like that at all!!!”  The FBI really seems to get a bad reputation.

More importantly, Sydney has a best friend that apparently slept with her husband, but the best friend doesn’t even get a name.  You’d think that someone like that would at least be called by name at least once.  I will say that I wasn’t complaining that Rosalind Chao played the friend.  I’ve always liked her.

While watching the movie, I thought Sydney looked familiar.  It took me a while to realize that she had been on the TV series Las Vegas.  She and Chao were two of only a handful of actors that I realized from other things.  Many of the other actors were new to me.  While there was some good acting, I felt like the overall acting wasn’t that good.  The husband seemed a little flat at times.  Even in the one scene where he gets angry, it doesn’t seem like he’s really getting that emotional.

In fact, I’d say that the entire movie wasn’t that good.  I understand that her husband lied to her, but Sydney showed no interest whatsoever in getting him back, even if it was for a divorce.  I felt like it just happened.  There was no explanation over why she lost interest in him so quickly.

There’s no back story to the couple, which would have been nice, especially considering that the husband’s story wasn’t real.  (There should have been a lot of clues aside from missing parents.)  The movie was fairly disappointing and seemed to alternate between dragging out and being rushed.  I’d recommend avoiding this movie if you have a choice. 

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