Release Date: July 17th, 2007 (Village East Cinemas) by Emerging Pictures.
The Cast: Petra Wright , Kip Pardue, Ted Hartley, Mark Derwin, Jonathan Silverman, Stephen Sowan, Scott Chernoff
Directed by Jason Ruscio.
BASIC PREMISE: Laura (Wright), an unhappy, suburban wife, pines for her ex-fiancé, Chris (Pardue).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Laura Smiles has an intriguing plot, but with awkward character development and some pretentious and confusing scenes that take away from the plot’s momentum. In the first act, Laura dines with Chris, her new fiancé, in Manhattan. Right after their pleasant meal, Chris dies when a car runs over him. 9 years later, Laura is now married to Mark (Derwin) and has an 8-year-old son in the clichéd mental jail of suburia. The second act basically shows Laura going through a mental breakdown while the memories of Chris haunt her. Even though she sees a psychiatrist, she cheats on her husband with her next-door neighbor (Silverman) and a teenage grocery store clerk (Sowan). These actions seem rather out-of-the-blue and awkward. Writer/director Jason Ruscio occasionally flashes back and forth between Laura’s past life with Chris and her current unhappy one with Mark. If Laura truly loves Chris more than Mark, Ruscio should have included more scenes with her interacting with Chris to show their strong romantic bond. Also, it’s not clear how she met Mark to begin with and why she married him for that matter, although one could infer that she merely settled for comfort. The messy third act tries too hard to muddle the line between reality and fantasy, but ends up confusing, pretentious and headache-inducing. On a positive note, Petra Wright gives a convincing performance even though the actions of her character aren’t quite believable. More subtlety and natural character development would have helped to make this a much more remarkable and engaging film.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than that our past can come back to haunt us even in the most inconvenient moments.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally confusing and pretentious with awkward character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 7
IN A NUTSHELL: A convincing performance by Petra Wright and an intriguing plot don’t compensate for awkward character development along with some confusing and pretentious scenes.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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