Annie's Point (2005)
Betty White Does a Thelma & Louise
No matter how schmaltzy and saccharine they get you have to say that most Hallmark movies have their heart in the right place. "Annie's Point" is a prime example as it features the delightful Betty White going on a road trip with her grand-daughter where there is bonding, lessons learned and various other sentimentally nice elements. It is by no means a great movie, "Annie's Point" is in fact barely good as it goes from one schmaltzy scene to another but it's heart is in the right place which makes all the almost cheesiness worth it. And whilst you may find yourself laughing and groaning at some of the more cheesy moments it will still make you feel good when the credits roll over what is a beautiful sunset.
With what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary approaching Annie Eason (Betty White - The Proposal) plans to fulfil a promise she made to her late husband and make the 2000 mile trip to Annie's Point to scatter his ashes. But with a heart condition which she is keeping secret and a workaholic son, Richard (Richard Thomas - Flood: A River's Rampage), who wants his mum to move into an old people's home it may provide a mission impossible. Having duper her grand-daughter Ella (Amy Davidson) to join her, Annie starts the arduous drive to Annie's point and along the way the two of them bond as the wise Annie helps Ella to gain some confidence. And once Richard discovers that Annie and Ella have gone all "Thelma & Louise" he drops his busy work schedule to try and catch up with them.
I won't lie and say that the storyline to "Annie's Point" is original; I have witnessed the various elements in countless other movies but it kind of works. The intro, along with a lot of the movie, is cliche as we watch Annie frustrated by her workaholic son and concerned for her grand daughter but it's sort of amusing as Annie bosses them about. And then what follows is basically a road trip as Annie and Ella travel to this place called Annie's Point and on their trail is Annie's son Richard who is concerned for them. Along the way there is a lot of bonding, lessons learned, decision made and so on and so forth. It is very much a movie which is all about a feel good ending and it weaves its way through various moments to get there.
The thing is that whilst some Hallmark movies manage to keep tight control on the schmaltz in "Annie's Point" it ends up dominating scene after scene. It all ends up a bit laughable and not in a good way which is a shame because the various lessons learned along the way are weakened by all this schmaltz. A prime example is when Annie basically tricks Ella into singing and in doing so gives her some confidence, it just ends up a little too sweet.
But whilst the schmaltz does spoil things there are some truly intentionally funny moments such as Annie and Ella getting arrested for skinny dipping. It is such a brilliant series of funny scenes which really stand out as being good. In many ways it's a shame that the same level of humour couldn't be found in the other parts of the movie.
As for the acting well Betty White does her best and makes Annie a mischievous character which you warm to but the weak script does her little favours and the same can be said of the head scarf she wears in countless scenes. And the script does no favours to anyone else either with Richard Thomas delivering a cliche performance as her workaholic son who realises there is more to life than work. Although I have to say that Amy Davidson does a reasonable job of playing Ella as a teenager with confidence issues and manages to breathe some life into the weak dialogue which really stands out.
What this all boils down to is that whilst its heart is the right place "Annie's point" ends up an overly schmaltzy movie. It has a nice message or messages as lessons are learned along a road trip but it's all a little too cliche and what should be charming often borders on the cheesy. As such the script does little favour to the stars Betty White, Richard Thomas and Amy Davidson but in amongst all the schmaltz there are some genuinely amusing scenes which make up for all the cliche going on.
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