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Who is Simon Miller? (2011)


When family movie night comes around about every-other-month, we can most assuredly be guaranteed a nights worth of wholesome entertainment, and while this movie is a little bit of a departure from normal for that time slot, it is nevertheless, good, clean fun. This is the seventh in a string of productions sponsored by P&G and Wal-Mart, and proves yet again that when it comes to a story with moral decisions, everyone enjoys the entertainment more.

The Miller family is just your average, typical all-American family. They live in a pretty house where two siblings enjoy the comfort of a two-parent home, attend school and on the weekends enjoy spending time with friends. Mom Meredith (Robyn Lively) is a small business owner who spends any free time as a devoted mother and dad Simon (Loren Dean) is a mild-mannered geologist. It’s during the stretches of time when Simon’s work frequently takes him away from home that the family starts to fall apart.  Honor student Sara (Skyler Day) is accused of cheating on her math test and mom attempts to figure out the situation without burdening Simon during the mere hours he is home for. One night when Simon doesn’t come home, the family is concerned at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his absence. Frantically, Kevin (Drew Koles), Sara and their mother search his office and discover multiple passports with Simon’s photos on all but each have a different identity… who is their father? …what secrets has he kept from them?

The three of them are willing to uncover the truth and begin a race against time to learn it – whatever it may uncover, but the truth soon leads them overseas and into a dangerous game of international spies and foot chases. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is akin to many big Hollywood blockbusters (I’ll restrain from naming them), only in this version, things are kept much tamer and less brutal. It kind of surprised me that the movie really held its own – it is exciting and thrill-packed without the expectation that a favorite character is about to breath their last. During the movie’s attempts to be “normal,” to weave family issues into the script – situations that are typical, everyday trials families deal with on a daily basis – I couldn’t help but chuckle at the futile attempts to form normalcy in an otherwise hostel environment. Still, the movie does a really good job at finding alternate ways of being suspenseful. There are some car and foot chases through the streets of Paris and the filming is, as always, modern and decent.

Writers attempts to address more “serious” topics don’t flow well because of how directors set up the shots, where and when they take place. To think that someone who is running for their life would pause and address family issues is highly unlikely. I also can recognize that this is just entertainment and with a two-hour time slot, well, time is limited. (And, I also know that I am not the target audience.) Some of the subjects were really petty and even though trust is a serious topic, it seemed little over-played for something of this caliber. But then, I might be underestimating its production value, because it really is put together very well. Once again, no one should have many complaints in terms of content. If you have brothers but your family doesn’t want to be exposed to the latest blockbuster starring Johnny Depp or Matt Damon, this is an interesting alternative. The story isn’t a bad one and even I found myself really entertained. The actors played their roles well although Dean was perhaps more suited to playing the dad “part” than a man with a secret.

If you are interested in seeing this, the DVD is now available at Wal-Mart stores and walmart.com (it is an exclusive release to the retail giant). I’d love to know if anyone else has watched anything in this line of family entertainment – what do you think of the series? Which is your favorite?
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Rissi
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2 comments:

  1. If I am recalling commericals correctly, they are turning this into a TV series on NBC....with at least Loren Dean in the cast....or am I confused? =)

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  2. Many telefilms do start out as a potential television series, but most the time that idea never sees completion. Some of these “family” films were rumored to be a pilot for an NBC TV show, but I very much doubt that will happen – or if it does, they won’t earn enough ratings to survive.

    In my humble opinion they should just continue marketing the movies, because they have all been cute. =D

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