The Makeover (2013)


The Makeover Hallmark

She may not have achieved the status of “America’s Sweetheart” like Julia Roberts or the name recognition of Reese Witherspoon yet Julia Stiles has had her share of “sweetheart” roles. Her popularity has fallen off since a handful of characters from some teen movies of the 1990’s, and still she has an impressive list of credits. Now this adorable romantic-comedy can be added to her résumé.

Coming in close to her competitor in a race for congress, Hannah Higgins (Stiles) concedes her candidacy and along with business partner Colleen (Camryn Manheim), she goes back to her educational consulting work. An impeccable dresser, and armed with a speech she thinks every person should envy, Hannah abhors how the English language is being butchered.

Some months later, fate hands Hannah a second chance at a special election run but campaign consultants have some stipulations: Hannah needs to change. Unable to stand the thought of adopting a posture that is less than perfect or changing her look by filling her closet with sweater sets, a new opportunity presents itself in the common worker, Elliot (David Walton).

Even if you don't have a working knowledge of this story going in, in ten minutes flat, it’s quite obvious what writer’s set out to do and the original story this teleplay took its cues from isn’t hard to pick out. The only difference in this Pygmalian-esque film is the roles of Higgins and Eliza Doolittle being reversed in Hannah and Elliot whose surname is very appropriately, Doolittle. It’s a clever script believe it or not, adding enough familiarity to make the story’s inspiration evident but keeping true to its own traditions and “twists” – the results of which are usually quite humorous; it’s the little things that hold it together! Whether it be Hannah’s unwillingness to try things she deems “improper” or Elliot’s patience with a girl who infuriates him and infatuates him in a single swoop, there is a quality to this which many in its genre try for though rarely achieve.  

The Makeover Hallmark

Set in Boston, many situations feel a bit nostalgic only because of Hannah’s fabulous characterization. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say her impeccable manners considering she is in desperate need of a serious overhaul on her people skills and connecting with people on a deeper emotional platform (that part of her does get on one’s nerves). Her dialect was a large part of what shaped Hannah into who she was as a character, which feels like "two parts." One part an Austen heroine (because of her old-fashioned, proper English) and then fitting the bill of a stuffy “professor” felt like second nature to her. Two minutes before the end, we are particularly struck with just how readily Hannah is to judge and treat people as “experiments” by her own admission.

Then there is Elliot. It may seem petty to say this but it is a delicate business in movies like this to “makeover” a main protagonist. Here it was remarkably well managed as so often is the case, he wasn’t painfully overplayed as a crass, bachelor male who had no manners save for those more appropriate for a barn yard. Instead, true he’s a slightly unkempt working Bostonian (accent fully intact) who was a kind-hearted guy underneath. It made him a compelling character that we didn’t mind – and in fact rooted for, watching change into someone else because where it counted, he remained the same.  

Stories that remake a character physically isn't a new idea. Some do this premise with pizzazz and class, then there are others (which will remain unnamed) that are more a waste of good time. Fortunately, producer Brent Shields and everyone involved pulled together a scenario in this story that is classy and really, quite fun. Early on, there were a couple of especially campy moments (particularly when considering how the special election comes about) that made me question how seriously I would be able to take the film. Fortunately, these elements are quickly dispensed with and in its place is a delightful little gem. The acting is fabulous and the writer is no stranger to some great comedy. It was pleasant not to watch some of the usual clichés play out (two examples come to mind) while the ending banter is quite cute even if the movie doesn’t end cementing the future exactly as some viewers would wish for.
 
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Rissi
22 Comments

22 comments:

  1. FYI....big long response to your comment on blog! ;)

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    1. Yay! Saw it and respected what you had to say. Great conversation, Kellie!

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  2. I truthfully didn't like My Fair Lady, so I'm not sure how I'd like this telling. Regardless though, great review! :D

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    1. Really!? I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't like that classic. There is nothing wrong with that though. My mother isn't as fond of the movie as I but only because she doesn't like the casting of Rex Harrison. This one is "different" enough (no singing, and much less focus on the "perfect speech" lessons) that even non-fans may like it.

      If you do ever see it, I hope you enjoy, Rosie. :)

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  3. this sounds good, I have heard of Julia Stiles, although I'm not sure from where.
    In response to your comment about Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift's duet, I have not heard it yet, and I'm not sure if I will. I LOVE Ed Sheeran but I am not a fan of Taylor Swift. A lot of people declare me crazy, but I just don't get the hype about her. :P Hope you're New Year is going well!
    Juliet

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    1. It was super cute, Juliet. One of Hallmark Hall of Fame's best rom-coms yet. :) Hope you are able to check it out sometime.

      Oh, never fear about any T. Swift comments you may have. Taylor Swift is often on my iPod because her songs are catchy but I don't get all the awards she has won. Vocally she is not at all close to others in her field. Musically and lyrically she has grown and her music is better as a result. In that way, she is talented. Her album, Red is really different, even a bit folk-sy.

      2013 has been great so far! Hope your year is shaping up to be wonderful also. :)

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  4. Aw, I absolutely love her ever since 10 Things I Hate About You, so I'm excited to watch this movie! Great review as always, girl!
    xo TJ

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    1. Never saw that one, TJ. The cutest movie I saw with her was the one with the prince. Still one of my faves to this day. :) Have you seen her in the 'Bourne' flicks? She has a small role but does a great job.

      Hope you enjoy this one - it's really cute! :)

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  5. Just found your blog and I love it! Follow mine?

    -Sophia
    http://thesecretsofateenager.blogspot.com/

    P.S. Is that really you in the header?

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    1. Why thank you, Sophia. I appreciate the follow and comment - hopefully you'll find this a helpful place. Do visit often. :)

      No, the header is a photo shoot of the stars in one of my most favorite television shows. It was such a fun set of photos, I couldn't resist using them - in fact, this is probably the second time I've used this set! It's just that cute. :) The only place you may sometime see a photo of me is on my Twitter profile though it isn't right now.

      Off to follow your blog. (LOVE your profile pic.)

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    2. Thanks for commenting and for following me back! Aw, well they're REALLY cute pictures so I can understand why you used them. :)

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    3. My pleasure, Sophia. I will look forward to any future postings you share. :)

      Yes, they are! I love this shoot and really, any photo shot with these two. The chemistry of their character's still comes through. It's as if they keep in character. :)

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  6. I checked out the trailer after reading your review and it looks really nice --> of it goes onto my ever growing list of movies to watch!

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    1. This movie was SUPER cute, Birdienl! As a rom-com, it avoids two common clichés and that is always to be appreciated. Hope you get to see it sometime - I fell in love with its charm. :)

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  7. Ohh this looks good. I will keep my eyes out for this one. The last movie I saw Julia in was The Prince and I--number 5 or something haha...Wondered where she's been...seems like she fell off the face of the planet for awhile... :)J

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    1. Hey, there, Jeanine! Glad to see you here. :)

      Actually this is a wonderful movie! It avoids some clichés and I loved it's spin on 'My Fair Lady.' Hope you enjoy.

      Ha! Yes, Prince and Me is one of my most favorite movies. Ever. Sadly though the leading actor was in the immediate follow-up sequel, Julia never was in the other movies. :/ She was however in the 'Bourne' movies (with Damon) playing a much different yet still cool character. :) Here's to hoping this TV movie will be the start of something big. :)

      Happy weekend, girl!

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    1. Cool! It's pretty awesome, Micah; hope you enjoy. :)

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  9. This looks cute! I'm a "Fair Lady" fan, & I've seen a few things with Stiles, so I'll have to give it a try.
    I heard rumor Emma Thompson is screen-playing a new Fair Lady film. Can't remember who is in it...maybe Carrie Mulligan? I'm kinda wishy-washy when it comes to remakes - some I adore (after pretending I won't even consider watching it), & some I loathe. Right now I'm really on the fence about the Underwood "Sound of Music," as I've got a lot of love for the original. Emma Thompson seems to do a good job, so I'm looking forward to her work on MFL.

    You know, when I was little I never got Rex Harrison's character, but the older I get I enjoy his character more - he's just this cranky old man I find funny & endearing (but personally would never get together with, just in a "awww, he's like my grandpa" kind of way).

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    1. Writer's did a fantastic job modernizing this, Camille. Some complained that Hannah (Stiles) wasn't likable yet I found her an interesting character. It makes the lead up to what she admits in final five minutes particularly "hard-hitting." Enjoy!

      Yes! Emma Thompson is supposed to be writing a new version of My Fair Lady. Given what a good job she's done in that past, I suspect this story will be in good hands with her. Carey has been a name rumored as has Kiera Knightly.

      Usually I am perfectly fine with re-makes. In the instance of 'Sound of Music,' I'm thrilled (provided the cast is good) because it's going to be more of a stage adaptation. Keeping my fingers crossed, it'll be a good one!

      My mother never didn't like Rex Harrison in MFL. He's fine but I'd like to see someone I REALLY like in the new version. ;D

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