Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Lisa Hartman, Dale Midkiff, Rue McClanahan, Barbara Niven, Jennifer Echols
Director: David S. Cass Sr.
Release Date: 23 July 2005
Length: 90 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
Dr. Syd Ludwick (Lisa Hartman), a successful, big-city doctor, decides to take a little break from her busy work to attend her high school reunion. Though she hasn’t returned home since her father passed away, not much has changed, although the whole town is trying to win the “healthiest city in America” challenge. Syd finds that she is still fighting with her mother (Rue McClanahan) and that she is still in love with her high school sweetheart (Dale Midkiff). Once again, Syd will need to choose between becoming a success in the big city or living happily ever after in a small town.
I usually enjoy watching Hallmark movies, but I was not very enchanted with this one. I did not think that the movie was well written or that the characters made sense. Dr. Syd Ludwick is the main character, played by an extremely thin Lisa Hartman. In high school, Syd was very shy, too shy to give a newspaper interview, yet not shy enough to avoid public speaking for which she won a huge prize. Now, Syd is in a dead-end relationship with a fellow doctor, is pursued by a small-town lawyer and waiting for her high school love to sweep her off her feet. Syd blames her mother for leaving her father to die alone and uncared for, but never bothered to talk to her mother about it or find out what really happened. It takes the advice of a nosy, intrusive pastor to clumsily reunite the mother and daughter duo. Unfortunately, this does not give Rue McClanahan many opportunities to inject her customary humor or wit, which would have elevated the movie to a more memorable level.
The romance was kind of sweet, but too hackneyed to be really charming. Dale Midkiff plays Gus Martin, Syd’s high school love. He is now a widower raising his adorable little boy on his own and making a living as a contractor. Of course, Gus’s son is suffering from some unknown ailment so, naturally, you know that Syd will diagnose him and save his life. The most shining moments in the movie come from these two taking walks down memory lane. I loved hearing about Gus’s truck, pranks the students played on their teachers (including pulling the principal’s pants up the flagpole), and the revival of old high-school rivalries. Though none of us have experienced a high school reunion with so many good-looking attendants, the memories will definitely ring true and bring back some smiles from the past!
My favorite character was actually Syd’s old rival, Connie (Barbara Niven). Connie has been married multiple times, but this doesn’t stop her from hunting for her fourth. She runs a successful coffee shop and loves stirring up trouble. Connie’s perfect match is out there, but she has set her cap so firmly for Gus that she refuses to consider anyone else. Of course, we, the viewers, know who she will end up with, but I kept waiting for the two of them to realize it for themselves. There are some other supporting characters who made the movie a bit more enjoyable. I loved the gossipy townsfolk and their delight in any new development Syd provided them.
While I found that Back to You and Me was too cheesy to truly enjoy, it is not terrible. I found a lot of the dialogue to be clichéd and unimaginative, but the feeling of refound love did seem real. If you enjoy Hallmark movies, this one is decent, though relatively uninspired.
This movie is appropriate for viewers of all ages. Recommended for ages 10 and up.