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Waltzing Anna (PG-13)

Release Date: August 11th, 2006 (Village East Cinemas) by Kindred Media Group.
The Cast: Emmanuelle Chriqui, Robert Capelli, Jr., Pat Hingle, Betsy Palmer, Grant Shaud, Artie Lang, Casey Siemaszko, Gordana Rashovich.
Directed by Doug Bollinger.

BASIC PREMISE: In order to get back his medical license, Dr. Charlie Keegan (Capelli, Jr.) must spend six months working at nursing home where he falls in love with Jill (Chriqui), a young nurse, and befriends his new patients.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Waltzing Anna has plenty of genuinely sweet and charming scenes with lively supporting characters. The plot takes a while to get going as Dr. Charlie Keegan temporarily loses his medical license at his New York City firm and moves to upstate New York where he gets forced to work as doctor at Shady Pines, a nursing home. He must be in his best professional behavior in order to get back his license while arrogant JD Reno (Shaud) and uptight Nurse Potter (Rashovich) keep an eye on him there. The second act feels a bit contrived with a romance between Charlie and Jill, a beautiful, kind nurse. They donít have enough chemistry together and their characters seem too blandóthey arenít nearly complex and real enough. Both Emmanuelle Chriqui and Robert Capelli, Jr. give decent performances, but they simply donít have enough material to stretch their acting capabilities. Co-writer/director Doug Bollinger occasionally veers toward soap-opera territory with awkward transitions between scenes, stilted dialogue and a formulaic plot. On a positive note, he does a great job of bringing the nursing homeís patients to life. They all add some well-needed humor, warmth and charm. For example, Mo (Hingle) often dances with Anna (Palmer), who suffers from Alzheimerís yet still responds to Moís flirtations. This subplot, which is more engaging than the main plot itself, leads to some dramatic tension later on when Annaís daughter shows up. Moreover, the screenplay refreshingly doesnít rely on toilet humor, with the exception of one small scene with only briefly implied toilet humor. Itís also worth mentioning that the beautiful cinematography and picturesque settings add to Waltzing Annaís inherent charms.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The way Mo and Anna truly, unconditionally love one another feels genuinely heartwarming, tender and wholesome. Along with the help of other kind patients, in a particularly cute scene, they try to get Charlie and Jill to kiss during a Christmas party. Youíll be easily uplifted by the predictable yet emotionally satisfying ending.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Bland main characters that have no chemistry, an occasionally contrived and stilted script.


IN A NUTSHELL: Genuinely wholesome, tender and sweet. However, the main characters lack chemistry while the screenplay occasionally feels contrived and stilted.


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