Forever My Girl

Posted on January 18, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements including drinking, and for language
Profanity: Some mild language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking and alcohol abuse, reference to drugs
Violence/ Scariness: Sad death, scene in hospital, child in peril
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: January 19, 2018

Copyright 2017 Forever My Girl
Well, there is a brief song by Travis Tritt. And actor Alex Roe is personable and engaging even in the preposterously imagined role of Liam Page, a country singer whose every moment is obsessed over by zillions of fans and all of the magazines sold at grocery store checkout counters. But that can’t make up for the syrupy Nicholas Sparks wannabe storyline, clunky dialogue (we are told three times in the first seven minutes that hometown boy Liam is on the brink of stardom) and the excruciatingly chirpy child at its heart.

Liam Page runs out on his wedding, leaving Josie (Jessica Rothe) in their Louisiana hometown and going off to pursue a career in music. Eight years later, he is is a country superstar, performing in arenas and chased by fans as though he is a Beatle. A would-be groupie accidentally breaks his vintage cell phone, and he runs to the store barefoot offering $10,000 to get it repaired. Under the duct tape and the bent antenna there is a voicemail he just cannot lose (or, apparently, download to another phone). This is, of course, documented by fans on their (up to date) cell phones and a major news story.

Liam is a mess, drinking too much, behind on the songs he owes his record label. When he finds out that his hometown best friend has been killed in an accident, he returns, to stand outside the church during the funeral, unable to bring himself to go inside. He gets a grim greeting from the preacher, who is his father, and a punch in the stomach from Josie. But it turns out that Josie has a seven year old daughter, and it does not take a math whiz to figure out that Billy (Abby Ryder Fortson) unfortunately conceived as 90 percent precocious sass with gratingly quippy commentary about the “stats on surviving an accident in a convertible — they are low, staggeringly low.” “What happened to Mom’s rose garden?” Liam asks his father in case we are missing the metaphor. Don’t worry, no one possibly could.

The town (Georgia playing the part of Louisiana) is like the setting for a Hallmark channel Christmas movie starring Hannah Montana, with twinkly lights and bustling businesses on Main Street, and just filled with good neighbors who are endlessly supportive and kind and unanimous in their rejection of the hometown boy who jilted Josie. We know where this is all going, but it is still jarring when Josie goes from a Taylor Swiftian “we are never ever getting back together” to “I want to go on a magical superstar date!”

Listen, Nicholas Sparks is already Nicholas Sparks lite. You can’t really take it any further or, I should say, make it more shallow than that. Pretty people with pretty problems will always be playing on a screen somewhere, but this one is better suited for watching while folding laundry.

Parents should know that this film includes drinking and alcohol abuse, reference to drug use, sad parental death, offscreen fatal accident, mild references to groupies and pregancy, and some language.

Family discussion: Why did Liam leave Josie? Should she forgive him? Why?

If you like this, try: “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,” “The Lucky One” and “Dear John”

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